We at InPower Women are so excited to publish the first article of our new blogger Christy Pruitt-Haynes. Please welcome her and give her your feedback in the comments. We’re honored to have her as part of our blogging team! ~InPower Women Staff
Dear Stay at home Moms,
I will admit, I was that woman. The I’m just as smart as a man so I want the same job he has and anything less means I failed, woman. I worked night and day to move up to the C-Suites because, anything less would be LESS, too much less. I used my mind everyday to prove that I could be successful; and successful meant high powered job. I never understood the concept of wanting to cook and clean and bake and all of those other domestic things if you had a college degree and you were mentally capable of MORE. I knew that some people had to do those things, but to me, the only reason that would be a major part of anyone’s day was if that was all their intelligence allowed them to do. I was a classic case of feminism gone wrong.
Then one day, my 3 year old found my calculator and started pressing random buttons. When I asked her what she was doing she said, “Using my blueberry (blackberry to many of us) to send you an email to ask if we can play”. In one moment I felt like the worst mother in the world. It no longer mattered that I was the head of HR for a major TV network, it mattered that my child thought the only way to get my attention was to email me.
That day I hatched a plan to redefine success and incorporate the things that will matter most 30 years from now. It was no longer about running a department it was about being present for my family. In my naive mind I thought, this will be a walk in the park. I managed departments, led restructures and effortlessly navigated corporate politics. Let me tell you, corporate politics have nothing on PTO or soccer field politics. Deciding who to invite to a meeting is never as hard as deciding who to invite to a child’s birthday party, and don’t get me started on deciding where to have the party. Managing soccer practice, band practice, bake sales, scouts, tutoring, homework, housework, bills, voice lessons, laundry and cooking takes a level of coordination, flexibility and planning I never used at work.
I was now one of the women that I had previously thought less of and I was failing miserably. Is it possible that all of those women sitting in the park while their young children played were smarter than me? Were they actually reading how to make your child the best version of themselves instead of Cosmo magazine all day? Was their day actually mentally challenging, requiring a level of savvy that I didn’t possess? Did they really work all day? And most of all…were they not lazy women who aspired to be taken care of instead of taking care of themselves???
And why hadn’t anyone told me many of these women were still running very successful businesses? They were truly mom-preneurs. They created employment for themselves so they could still get the satisfaction of work outside of the home and make money (which meant they hadn’t checked their brains at the door) all while taking care of their families. They consulted, sold various products, ran meetings, ran their home…talk about doing it all! They used sophisticated marketing skills to create successful school fund raisers. They used negotiation skills to get kids to eat vegetables, contractors to reduce the price of home repairs, husbands to volunteer to build the set for the school play. They used finance to be the band booster treasurer or manage the girl scout troop’s funds. They were smart, intelligent, capable women who decided to use all of their skills to make their families stronger and make themselves happy in the process.
So here is the hard part… I AM SORRY for every negative thing I ever said, thought or assumed about women who chose to define their success through a wider lens than one that only includes their professional life. I am sorry for assuming your life was easy and your work wasn’t mentally challenging and completely necessary. Most of all I’m sorry for not realizing that you were using the same skills every efficient and effective C-Level professional uses everyday and you were doing it without contractual pay!
Beyond being sorry, I applaud each and every one of you for defining your life and using your knowledge, skills and abilities in ways that the old me didn’t understand and the new me is continuing to develop.
Love, admiration and now one of you,
An eternally sorry realist
PS – To all of you employers, if you are ever fortunate enough to hire someone who use to be a stay at home mom…DO IT!!! Having worked in recruiting for many years, I recognize, talent, ability, culturally savvy, muilti-taskers and WE have cornered the market on those skills.
Photo Credit: Free Digital Photos
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