Many Hats of a Working Mother

The Weight of Family

Sometimes when I get home I want to do what my daughter wants me to do. The appeal of the couch with a warm blanket, her snuggled in with a book and water boiling on the stove for tea, at times is too much to resist. But most days I have just enough time for snuggles, some bug juice (aka nursing), a song and occasionally a short story, but no fancy blanket and tea.

Like most parents I am faced with making dinner and maintain household chores. I try to include my daughter when I can with these tasks, though with my tiny kitchen, it is often near impossible. It doesn’t help having a famished toddler grabbing your legs begging for “ups” while you try to hurry dinner along. Once upon a time I would entertain the idea of putting her in a sling or carrier on my back, but with her recent interest in everything I find it is just unsafe at this exploring age.

My time with my daughter is often limited to this small period of time between getting home and after dinner. Then it is off to some other venture. And the nights I am able to stay home with my family, I enjoy every minute. To help make the most of each moment, we make a point to sit as a family for each meal I am home. Occasionally, on evenings I will be out late, I try to sneak home between obligations so I can sit at the dinner table for a meal with my daughter and oh so understanding husband.

I see her eyes look up at me before I leave, begging me to stay, telling me she loves me, all while saying: “mama is going to help another mama have her baby”; “mama is going to take pictures of a family”; or “mama has music.” I know she misses me. I remember a few weeks ago after a marathon birth, I arrived home at close to 2AM. On the table greeting me on my arrival home, sat a travel coffee mug and handpainted card which read “We love you Mommy.”

It is no secret I am a busy bee to all who see me. My husband often sneaks into my office, hours after our daughter has fallen asleep, to kiss me goodnight, with his own eyes barely open. Many nights I am up until the wee hours of the night, writing blogs, editing photos, reviewing birth plans or answering emails regarding the various photography, parenting, pregnancy or nursing questions I happen to get. And most recently, developing a complete business plan with my business partner, for our newest endeavor the Berkshire Community Doula Project.

People ask me “how do you do it” and I am not completely sure. I know I have a supportive husband and a daughter who is learning to understand. Additionally I take the time to think about whether or not I wish to take on a venture and reflect on what is already on my active list to determine if it is time to skim down some activities. And lastly I am not one who likes to let my brain stay still for very long. Even if we watch a movie I find the need to read or draw instead while it is on. (I also sneak into bed early when I can or nap on weekends with the little one, if I am able to.)

But no one ever seems to ask “why do you do it?” To me this seems like it is just as important as how.

I was brought up in a house where community volunteering and projects were welcomed. To me, being part of the community through active participation was always one of the fondest morals I think my father instilled. I want my daughter to understand this same drive I was taught, to realize no matter what your life looks like, there is always some time, no matter how small, for yourself and for others, without compromising your family.

I don’t feel I am compromising my parenting relationship with my daughter as I make myself present when I am on as mom. And I strive to only take on the extras, which understand I will always be mom first. I am also lucky many of my activities allow me to work around my mom needs, which makes it less of a sacrifice.

However time with my husband is at times very strained, though he encourages me because he knows how much I believe in the importance of my “side” work; in fact he is the first to introduce me to people as his wife the doula and photographer. And because his faith in me is so deep, he will be the first to sit down with a bowl of popcorn to watch a movie on birth and breastfeeding, or lug props for a photo session to my car, or even run to the store for last minute makeup supplies I forgot for a performance, all without me asking. I value having him there to be my support and the one to say “you can do it” when I question if it is worth the time.

My goal is to one day do what I absolutely love to sustain my portion of our financial needs, instead of “part-time.” Having your own business can be challenging and require faith, but having chosen a path which fosters love, understanding and deeper community, I have learned to become a better person. And in developing me, I am able to excel as a wife and mother.

I believe in my heart that today I am building a strong foundation for my family and my community for an improved tomorrow, and that is not only one of the greatest gifts I can give the world, it is one of the best lessons I can teach my daughter.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alisa J. BlanchardAlisa J. Blanchard

A Berkshire transplant, Alisa is a: tattooed mom of an almost 2yr old girl; a photographer; singer (with her local chapter of Sweet Adelines International); writer; trained Doula (labor and postpartum support); and all around life enthusiast. She supports her family with her “day job” as a bookkeeper and fills her need for artistic expression in many diverse ways. When she is not making a mess with paints and her daughter; playing pranks on her husband; gardening; or hiking with the dogs; Alisa can be found working on her passionate dream of becoming a full-time photographer (Common Moments) and doula. cmoments@earthlink.net

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