In the Doing
Posted May 16, 2007 4:36 p.m. EDT
With Mother's Day falling this week I thought it would be appropriate to re-visit a popular topic- working mothers. The debate in the community, the debate in your home, the debate in your heart on this topic is probably if you are like me an ongoing conversation. Do children need their mothers home more in their first few years, or in their adolescence? Do they need to see their mothers as role models for the careers they might have someday, or as someone who is there to support and nurture them on a more constant basis? If you're working who will drive them to dance lessons, who will volunteer in their classroom, who will be there when they get off of the school bus?
Clearly, being a television reporter is in many ways at odds with raising children. Being flexible and available to work late, to work early, to work odd shifts, to work holidays, and to work at a moment's notice are incompatible with motherhood. In fact, it's one of the things I caution young women about when they consider getting into the business, because if they do, and they ending up having children, they will be forced to make tough choices. Loving what you do makes it even harder to make these choices. There are many careers that involve these tough choices- being a nurse or a police officer for example, or any job where frequent travel is part of the equation.
I read a great quote this week that really solidified motherhood in a way that made things clearer for me. And while it's about motherhood, it could really apply to anything we do in life. Ann Quindlen is a columnist for Newsweek and a novelist who has written four books. In the process, she raised three children. In reflecting upon their childhood she said: "I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
Taken out of context this line may seem somewhat Hallmark, but her entire essay (http://www.breifcasemoms.com/files/PDF/now.pdf) acknowledges the real mistakes she made as a parent ,and the real joy she now shares with her grown children. Yet, there is always, in every lifetime, a shelf where we put regrets, and this one is on Quindlen's shelf. I think her goal in saying it out loud is the hope that someone else may learn from it.
I freely admit, I'm a "get it done" girl, but I'd like to learn how to live a little bit more in "the doing," at work and at home. I'm sure I'll have regrets, but maybe, just maybe, this particular one won't end up on my shelf.