Here’s my perspective on being a single mother with a career I love: My time with my daughters is a vacation from work. My time at work is a vacation from my kids. I’m perpetually on vacation. Yes, I’m frequently tired and the need to constantly prioritize means that many lower priorities don’t make the cut.
Overall, though, I love being a working mom. It’s just how I’m built.
For the most part, I try to keep mommy-Sadia and professional-Sadia separate. In fact, when pondering my career trajectory, I came to the realization that I didn’t want to go down the managerial track precisely because “boss” is such a parental role. I spend my time at home laying out behavioural expectations, following up on progress, and enforcing peace. I don’t need to be doing that at work too.
That said, my work environment is extremely family-friendly. Actually, it’s just all around friendly. My coworkers and I hang out outside work. We exchange parenting tips. We know each other’s kids and pets and in-laws. My daughters, J and M, think of many of my coworkers as family.
It still surprises me, though, when I notice aspects of my job entering my parenting. The other day, I was trying to help M and J make peace after a misunderstanding. J had stomped off to the shower, understandably upset, in my opinion. I sat down with M to get her side of the story.
M: Am I in trouble?
Mommy: No, of course n… Actually, what do you mean by “in trouble”?
M: It means I hurt somebody’s feelings.
Mommy: In that case, yes. You hurt J’s feelings. I mean something different when I say, “in trouble.” To me, it means that someone’s about to get a punishment,
M: (starting to cry) I’m going to get a punishment?
Mommy: No, not at all. I just thought you were asking if you were getting a punishment, and that’s why I said no.
Then it struck me. I’m a business analyst. Much of what I do all day is get people to shared understanding, often by investigating assumptions and clarifying terms. Despite my own assumption that mommy-Sadia and professional-Sadia were distinct, I use my professional skills in my parenting.
How does your career or education impact your parenting?