Let me give you a minute to get over my complete baby blondeness and how much my adult self looks like my mom…
While there’s still a few more days left to let me know how you think Hands Occupied is doing in my first-ever reader survey, it’s already abundantly clear that 99% of y’all want to know more about me as a person. Mother’s Day sounds like a good place to begin opening the door to opening up.
So, the pictures above were taken when my mom was about 5 years older than I am now, and I was about 18 months (I’m guessing because of the pumpkin cookie cutter and my wee size this was October 1988). My love of baking and crafting started at an extremely early age, thanks largely to my mom*. She made sure I knew the important things in life, like how to make from-scratch sugar cookies because store bought cookies are garbage, how to grow a garden, and about a million other things. Family was a priority in my house growing up. I don’t remember many nights we didn’t eat a home-cooked meal, often with canned or fresh vegetables from her garden.
My 26th birthday is in a few weeks, and I’ve been married for two years. I realized a couple months ago that I have only just begun to feel like a true adult. Without effort I find myself worrying about growing my business and career, saving for retirement, making the most of my time. With that growing adult perspective, I realized that my mom’s level of support for my little brother and I growing up wasn’t just something that came automatically and easily (even though that’s how we totally perceived it as kids). Not too long ago I learned that when my little brother was born, she’d wanted to reduce her job to part time status, but wasn’t able to, and that’s why she was home with us full time while my brother was really little. Then, when she got back into the work force, she got a job that let her work full time six months out of the year with summers off. Whether or not the stay-at-home status was what she & my dad wanted financially at first, it meant so much to have her at home. We were off school and Mom was home to teach us all sorts of wonderful things to keep our hands occupied (HA!!). We also got to participate in a lot of activities like summer reading at the library, park district sports, and swimming lessons. It was awesome.
I’m really proud of my mom. As friends of mine have had kids, I can see how hard it is so balance pregnancy, kids and a career – not to mention a social life. So often, as has been discussed a lot in the media lately (thanks in no small part to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg), having children limits women’s careers for a myriad of reasons. Some of these reasons are external, and some are self-imposed. Maybe my mom met with some limitations when she tried to balance her professional and parental workloads, which included a spazzy 3-year-old me and a newborn son. But now, my mom has a very impressive job at which she’s the boss. AND she still got to spend tons of time with lil bro and I growing up. AND she’s been married 27 years. AND she and my dad have an excellent relationship. My mom really got to have it all and still has it in spades which is darn impressive. I can only hope that I will be so lucky in my life. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
*Stay tuned, my dad’s pretty awesome too. I’ve got a Father’s Day post incubating in my brain as we speak.