An honest take on life and parenthood

This I know is true

on May 31, 2012

I have major scar tissue from my work life.

As a student, I always excelled. There was something about the structure and stimulation of school that worked for me, and I loved it.

But unfortunately (or fortunately), I was never one of those people who knew that they would be a doctor or lawyer or Indian chief. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, so I tried on jobs like some people try on shoes: nonprofit fundraiser, Peace Corps volunteer, marketer in investment banking, management consultant, waitress, organizational consultant, entrepreneur, life coach, project administrator…the list goes on and on.

And I found that I was terrible at quite a few of them. My performance reviews ranged from lukewarm to horrendous. After wiping out at Booz Allen and then going through a buzzsaw at Merrill Lynch in New York, my professional confidence was so decimated that I was sure that I would never find a decent job ever again – or do well in a paying job ever. So much for being the best and the brightest. I was convinced that I was a fraud.

Then along came the Pooh.

Much to my surprise, I realized that there is one job I am great at: being a mother.

I can hardly believe it still. I thought I would graduate and go on and become a corporate powerwoman. Although I thought I wanted children, I wasn’t sure if I would be a good parent and was apprehensive about it. My mom had never seemed to enjoy it, and I was worried that perhaps I had idealized motherhood too much. And I will be very honest with you. I’m absent-minded, I love to lose myself in a juicy book, and I’m very much a free spirit. Give me a glass of red wine and a good friend, and I’ll lose myself for hours. I need my alone time. I love a good party. I did not grow up around children or babies, and really didn’t know how to talk to them or interact with them.

But when the Pooh came along, she opened a door in me that I did not know existed. My dread about being tied down and suffocated disappeared. Suddenly, I had a buddy and a partner in crime. And oddly, I understood this tiny person and could connect with her in a way that I could not connect to adults. I realized that I liked kids!

Am I a perfect mother? Absolutely not. I don’t think any of us are. We all just do the best we can. Believe me, I yell and lose my patience and make my mistakes. The few moments I get alone are incredibly precious because they are so rare. But as I watch the Pooh grow, and see how smart and funny and confident and loving she is, I feel very proud of the job I am doing with her. And to her credit, I will also say that it is an incredible privilege to be her mother. She teaches me constantly, and stretches me as a person.

Do I love being a mother? Yes. Am I great at being a mother? Yes. It’s the first job I have ever had that makes me feel that kind of unequivocal confidence. It delights me. Maybe I don’t get paid money for it, and I have to actively work to make sure I also get time for myself, but it’s a cool job like no other.

I just hope I don’t get fired when she becomes a teenager.

5 responses to “This I know is true

  1. Wonderful piece, Wendy … I was also apprehensive about parenthood (EY will attest that I spent a couple of years trying to convince her of the joys of D.I.N.K. hood) but once we got Meghan everything changed in ways that I never would have imagined. Oh, and the general consensus I get from parents of adult kids is that the teen years are just something you bull on through 🙂


  2. very well written! because i’m rather shallow and boorish, if it’s not a shoot-’em-up action flick with super heroes, big guns, and big boobs i’m usually not interested . . . but i read this all the way to the end. it takes some skill to write so well wendy; more importantly, it takes some courage to write so honestly. thanks for sharing.


  3. Ashley Hammond says:

    Amazing story and oh so true. Thanks. Help each of us mom know that we are doing the best we can. I too love bing a mom and can not imagine 1 sec w/o my kids! Thanks Wendy.


  4. Devra says:

    Love love love it – especially having seen you go through many of those jobs and knowing that you are a woman of amazing talent. Just a heads-up that I got fired from my mommy job (for what I imagine is only the first time) when Jeri was around 4 or 5. I told her that was fine, it meant that I was now the nanny, and all the rules were still the same. (Alas, so was the salary…)


  5. Everyone, I want to thank you for reading this piece and for leaving such insightful and funny comments. This particular post resonated with many other people as well. Big hugs to all of you!


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