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Monday, July 09, 2012

Motherhood Mondays: On finding balance

Last week, I featured seven working mothers who talked about how they try to find balance, while juggling children, marriage, jobs and everyday life. Thank you to all the lovely readers who weighed in on this important topic. I'd love to share four realizations I had...

* Maybe true "balance" doesn't exist. There are only 24 hours in a day, and if you want to spend time playing with your kids, hanging out with your friends and partner, working at a job you love and having some time for yourself to take a bath or read a book, you might not get to do each of these things, at least for as long as you'd like. Allocating time becomes a real challenge. Maybe it's less about balance and more about compromise. What I find reassuring about reading these balance interviews is knowing that no one has it 100% figured out—everyone, it seems without exception, is constantly tweaking and fiddling their schedules to make it all work.

* If you want to reach a high level in your career, you may have to work more hours than you'd like (at night, on weekends...) Not all top jobs require long hours, but many do. The recent much-discussed Atlantic article called "Why Women Still Can't Have It All" argued that if you want to rise as far as you can in your career, you will have to give up some time with your family, and if you want to maximize time with your family, you will have to ease up on your career ambitions. (It's a bold statement; do you think it's true?) Within this balance series, it felt accurate in some ways for most of these moms—many checked email or worked more at night, after putting their sweet little ones to bed. But overall, they enjoyed their careers, and that balance worked for them. It's a very personal choice about how you want to balance your career and personal life, and what's worth it to you both short- and long-term.

* Every mother has her own priorities, pressures and philosophies. It was fascinating to hear from readers who thought that a) mothers shouldn't work, b) mothers should work, c) mothers shouldn't travel away from their kids, d) mothers should take vacations without their kids, e) moms shouldn't work at night, f) mothers shouldn't spend as much money on babysitters, g) mothers should go on more dates with their husbands, etc....And it reminded me how everyone has their own desires, goals and beliefs, and that everyone should try to do what works best for them and their lovely families. There's no one right way to do it, but instead so many ways to be a great mother (and partner and person).

* Another balance series coming up! Last week's balance series featured moms who had high-powered careers, lived in cities, were married and had young children. I chose moms who were in similar situations, so that we could see how they all made different choices that worked for them. I also wanted to show that women whom we might assume "have it all" are still struggling with many of the same issues as everyone else. (The first balance series I did last summer also featured seven mothers in similar situations—these moms worked freelance, mostly from home—and again I wanted to show how a similar group of women could each make different choices that worked for them.)

But! I'd love to do another series, and this time, I'd like to feature a bunch of different kinds of working mothers—with different income levels, career paths, family situations, cultures and lifestyles—and see how their schedules are handled in different ways. Please let me know in the comments if there's any type of job or hometown or lifestyle that you'd like to see! (Down the road, we'll also do a series on stay-at-home moms, which will be fascinating, too.)

Thank you again for the amazing feedback. I was impressed by the wide-ranging responses to the series; I love your comments and am really grateful to hear your questions, thoughts, ideas and advice. We're all in it together. Lots of love. xoxo

(Painting is the "Afternoon Stroll" by Pino)

325 comments:

1 – 200 of 325   Newer›   Newest»
Jessie said...

i loved the interviews, thanks

i'm a full time work at home/stay at home mom in the country and would love to be a part of your interview series.

would be great to hear from other moms like me as well! i could always use tips!

Anonymous said...

I love this series, but can you please, please, please do one on single moms before you do stay-at-home moms? Both the freelancing and traditional office moms were all married and could rely heavily on the spouse/other parent to share responsibilities. How do single moms do it alone?

Alexandra said...

Great summary!

I would love to see a mother featured than has opposite work shifts of their husband. For example, a mom with a 9-5 job, but a husband on day, night, and afternoon shifts, like that of a fireman or police officer!

It's also be great to hear from Moms that cant afford full-time, round the clock nannies.

laura @ hollywood housewife said...

I absolutely love the balance series and the profiles of mothers that you do, both last years and this years.

I'm a work at home mom that has help with my kids by choice. I do remind myself daily that it's a luxury that we get any of these choices at all, let alone to debate which one is better.

Elizabeth said...

Single moms who left big cities to move to small rural towns.

You know, like that Diane Keaton movie from the 80s, but without the shoulder pads.

Joanna Goddard said...

yes! this is so great -- non-traditional work schedules, single moms, parents with budgetary concerns, all kinds of job -- YES!

Joanna Goddard said...

would be great to have a whole book of these:)

Joanna Goddard said...

haha, elizabeth, good idea. now i want to rent that movie.

Elizabeth said...

My comment really wasn't meant to be glib.

Joanna Goddard said...

i know:)

Anonymous said...

Moms in the healthcare industry please! (doctors, nurses, residents, medical students etc.)

That would be very insightful!

Kerry said...

LOVE the series! Thanks so much. Would love to hear about working moms whose husbands stay at home and working moms who have choosen to not "climb up the ladder" but rather move sideways to so that they dont have to work the crazy hours.

Amanda said...

I'd love to see mothers who work and have stay-at-home dads. I'm in this situation now and I'd love to see how other mothers in this situation handle the pressure of working, mothering, etc.

Clare said...

I totally agree with Anonymous at 3:33--single moms please? I loved last week's series but was definitely aware of the luxury of having full time child care, whether it's a nanny, a partner who can shoulder some responsibilities, or a reliable day care. LOTS of moms have to figure out childcare and a full time job with more limited resources and fewer helping hands. My mom did it and I am forever in awe of her. I think we might end up reading about more adverse situations than the ones thus far but I think this series, and your readership, will be better for it.

Eponine03 said...

I'd love to see you profile someone in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. We have the second highest childcare rates in the country and I know many moms struggle with the decision (or even ability) to go back to work and how to find balance between career and family.

I went back to work after 18 months as a SAHM. But even with two incomes, almost half goes to childcare each month. We hope that down the road, this was the best decision to make for our child.

Anonymous said...

I would love to read about a commuting parent. I living outside of a big city and I'm struggling with how much time I will have to spend on a train going from my suburban town to my work in the city. I also work at a non profit organization. Would love to read about a mom that works in that field too. Thanks!

stephanie said...

I loved the series, thanks so much for doing this. I would like to see someone like my own mother interviewed: a single mom, a small-town teacher (making 40k per year), raised 3 kids (I'm financially independent but the other 2 are not). That, to me, is an example of a typical American mother. And she is a great one for sure. Thanks again!

Betsy said...

I would love to see profiles of some single moms who are doing it with government assistance/support. A lot of my clients are in that situation and it's a really fascinating (and diverse) group of ladies. It seems there is a lot of misconception about them and I would love for them to have a voice

Anonymous said...

Regarding your realization #3, I'm glad you summarized the comments because I have a hard time reading them on posts where I know people will be passing judgment about others' choices. I wish that the views that people - especially mothers - expressed would not be those passing judgment about what mothers should or should not be doing but actual sharing of experiences. I find it less fascinating than I do difficult to read those kinds of comments. I LOVE the balance series but find I have to avoid reading the comments.

angela said...

love the rural vs. city mom idea. possibly showing the different cultures and paces. sorry, i keep seeing farmersonly.com commercials. HAHAHA!

also, i agree with the things you picked. i'd love to see different cultures or mixed-race or same-sex...just all different types. diversity is the spice of life. :)

Fancy Pants said...

I loved this series. As someone who will work part time from home and part time in the office after my little one arrives in November I have been very interested in how others find balance!!

paige said...

Jo, it may be interesting to have a balance series featuring...your own readers! You could have your readers submit their own balance stories and you feature some of them. It would be interesting for actual readers to hear what each other has to say!

ethanollie said...

i'd also love to see a single mom's post. i'd love to see the differences and similarities in single mom's who are self employed and work from home (like myself) and those that have to work outside the home. i think we bring a completely unique perspective to the 'balance' we are all trying to achieve.

thanks for this commentary joanna, so insightful.

HM Designs said...

I loved this series - but I agree with the comments here, I would like to see some about lower income families.

Honestly, I'd like to hear about someone like myself - I work full time in Utah, where working moms are looked down on a little bit and people feel sorry for me. I like my job and I constantly have to justify to everyone why I work.

I'm also a young mother and new wife, so I'd like to know how other women fit in a healthy and creative lifestyle with the pressures of work and new family?

Zoe said...

I think this is such a fascinating topic, and I always love to read your thoughts. I completely think that balance doesn't exist and it's all about compromise and knowing what has the highest priority right now, and then being ok with that shifting as things change (hourly/ daily/ monthly/ long term).

I definitely think your second point is true, but not necessarily in the way most people think when they read those things. For example, in order to reach what I feel is a pretty strong level in my freelance/ self-employed career (being full-time self-employed and supporting a family comfortably), I had to work crazy hours for a couple of years. It's a different focus and goal set then the corporate ladder, but not a different overall concept.

Anyway, can't wait to read more!

Anonymous said...

Mom's in architecture!

Wonderjet said...

Single mothers, yes please!

And some international perspective would be fantastic!

For example, the posts on French upbringing and Swedish habit of leaving kids to sleep outside in the cold were very interesting to read.

You could even accept reader entries and select to post some of them, to get that diversity. I would be more than happy to participate, from Greece.

Unknown said...

Hi Cup of Jo!

I've followed your blog for several years now and in the last year it has became a daily visit to your site :)

I really loved this series, especially after having been inspired by some of the talks by Sheryl Sandberg and the Atlantic article.

I am very curious how men/fathers experience the work/family balance. I wonder if you could ask the same questions from last week's series to working husbands who also have working wives. What challenges do they face? How do they fit marriage into the balance?

Thanks again for your insightful posts!

baballa said...

I thank a good one would be moms. In diferent countries, i life in spain and everything is so different here.

Anonymous said...

I didn't read all of them yet but I appreciate your efforts and you make a good point with the striking differences in the thought process. I've personally found what works for me and I've never felt better.

Jimmy said...

@Amanda: That's the situation my wife and I are in (she works, I'm a stay at home dad). We've been doing this for a year and a half. Our new daughter was born last week, bringing us to two kids. That means my wife is home for maternity leave these next three months, which is probably the most amazing advantage of reversing the traditional stay-at-home parenting roles. Normally, as a dad, I'd be back at work in a few weeks. Instead, we get three months where we are all home together. It is awesome. How many times in life will we have this opportunity to just be a family for months on end?

Cara said...

I loved this series. I love getting a peek into other women's lives and seeing how they balance everything. I am not married and don't have kids but I feel like I have the same struggles as these moms just in a different aspect (friends, boyfriend, working out, long hours at work, career goals, etc) and it is hard balancing them even without kids.

I think it is important that everyone respect these women's decisions on how to raise a family and balance their lives. Some women have money to have a nanny- some don't. This is just part of life but everyone deals with it in their own way.

Can't wait for the next series!

Cara

cleyenaar said...

Love this series!

How about moms who have made career changes while raising children? Or moms who are students in higher education?

Paige Geiger said...

Great, great series! I vote for Moms in academia in fields still dominated by men, like science and engineering.

AcanthusNichole said...

I thought the series has been great!

Would love to see moms that are trying to start/build their own business. And mom's that have to work to be able to make the little bit that is left over to pay the bills AFTER daycare has been paid for.

For us, I have to work three 10 hour days/week and stay home with my son the rest of the week. We couldn't afford for me to work full time(plus I didn't want to have be away from my son 5 days/week), and couldn't afford for me not to work either, so this was the best we could do. My husband is a surgical resident, so I'm basically single-parenting it a lot of the time.

I've also been trying to start and build my own business since he was born 2 years ago, and it's VERY hard to find time to fit everything in. Working on my own biz seems to happen during nap time and after he goes to sleep. I'm up till midnight many nights working still!

Stefania said...

Definitely sungle mom and SAHM mom interviews! My mom was a single mom in every sense of the word. My dad contributed nothing, and I don't know how she did it.

Sofia said...

Loved the series, thanks Jo! What about single dads? Would be interesting too :)

Mara said...

It was a wonderful series! Loved it! As a soon-to-be first time mom to twins (TWINS! we're still in shock!! But so excited!) :) I'd love to hear from other working moms in that situation. I think twins add a whole new dynamic and I'm nervous on how I will balance motherhood and my job. I so enjoy my job and at the moment - becoming a stay-at-home mom is just not in the cards for us financially. Maybe some time soon ...

Amy said...

Ditto to hearing about moms that work in healthcare (doctors, nurses, other hospital workers)...it's a huge population and few schedules are more challenging.

Anonymous said...

I liked your summary very much. We as moms are too hard on ourselves and each other! We are all just doing our best to make things work! Thank you for your very thoughtful post. I loved the last line, "we are all in it together." SO TRUE!
I work in Academia (specifically a PhD student in chemistry) and have struggled since returning after I had a beautiful baby girl. I have been able to be as productive as I was previous to the birth of my daughter, but I have received A LOT of negativity from co-workers and my boss from everything from breastfeeding my daughter at work to having an unconventional schedule. It does not matter than I am just as productive (if not more productive)!
I think the best thing that can come from these types of discussions is just an understanding of one another and a sense of compassion for all types of mothers and non-mothers everywhere. Women just need to support women! And people need to support each other! Thank you again for being a brave voice! Love you Joanna!!

Anonymous said...

Adored the series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Heather said...

I am a single mom to two adopted daughters, and would love to see how other single moms juggle career/kids. My friends are all married or stay at home, so I sometimes feel like I'm making it up my mothering strategy as I go along. Maybe I can get some new ideas!

Heather said...

I am a single mom to two adopted daughters, and would love to see how other single moms juggle career/kids. My friends are all married or stay at home, so I sometimes feel like I'm making it up my mothering strategy as I go along. Maybe I can get some new ideas!

Angela Broderick Bedell said...

I don't know WHAT category I would be in.

I know the "I just want a f..ing pedicure" comment and missing shopping at Target really hit home with me!

I made some major changes to be home more, but I haven't Aced it, but I've figured out a few things. I do know that no one can tell us, because each of us has such different needs.

You'll figure it out Joanna. These are just fascinating interviews.

Carol Rial said...

I'm one of those moms who lived in a big city and moved to the country. Would love to hear about this kind of situation, plus husbands travelling all the time :(

The series was amazing. Couldn't be better! Congrats and thank you! You help us so much!

Tragic Sandwich said...

Great series, and thanks for sharing your plans for the future--it provides terrific contrast!

If you do a group of moms who work outside the home as part of two-income families, I'd be happy to be interviewed.

And I find this: "if you want to maximize time with your family, you will have to ease up on your career ambitions" to be true. But here's the trick: Just because I'm willing to have a less-than-stellar career doesn't mean that my boss has no expectations regarding the hours I work outside the office. There are many, many places where face time and late-night emails are valued much more than efficiency and productivity, and I'm working at one of them right now.

Nora said...

We have made a conscious decision to live without owning a car. It's not a common situation for parents in a city like ours (Seattle), but we're not the only ones. Relying on bikes, buses, our own feet, and occasional rental cars definitely limits our activities, and sometimes I doubt the decision. It has numerous benefits, however, and I would love to see how others manage similar deliberate lifestyle choices, in our city or elsewhere.

Ann said...

Love this series - maybe a feature on homeschooling moms, would be neat?

margaretedith.com said...

Yeah, agree with many other posters... would be nice to see women who are a bit more relatable, rather than aspirational.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing this series. Balance is something I am struggling with right now. Seems like I need to make a choice child or career because both seem to be hurting but I keep putting off the choice and running myself, my child and my job to the ground.
Would be really interested, (selfishly) if you interviewed someone in the movie industry w/ a commute. Or at least a mom w/ a commute not wanting to give up an amazing apartment/city lifestyle.
Cheers!

Emily S said...

A very interesting series. It seemed to me like most of the working moms had husbands that had more flexible schedules that allowed them to take care of a good amount of the childcare and household duties. It seems that moms can "do it all" if they have someone else to lean on.

t. said...

Would also be great to see a series about finding balance as a stay home mom. Just because we don't "work" outside the home, doesn't mean we have enough time for ourselves, our husbands/partners, kids, outside interests and so on.

Amanda said...

I loved this series and the previous one too. What an insight into the lives of other mothers - I found them both so inspiring and honest. And in a way it also made me very grateful for the "balance" that I have found in my own life - with compromises and after many hours of soul searching. But at the end of the day you are so right, balance is perhaps a bit misleading and it's more about how we integrate all the parts of our lives. And for each person how that's done is going to be different.

Personally I'd love to hear about how mothers in different countries achieve the balance/ integration thing. Your series was a fascinating insight into the lives of American mothers (as far as I could tell anyway!).

Love, love your blog.

Alexa said...

i am loving these interviews! i am 24, single, and working in publishing (and can't wait to be a mom one day!), and find it really valuable to see all of the different ways in which women make it work, whatever "it" is for them. thank you for sharing!

also...i saw you at the airport the day you posted about going to chicago! i was standing in line at security when i saw a woman wearing a great red lipstick...and thought she looked an awful lot like you. then i saw toby in the stroller and alex with your bags. sometimes nyc can be so small :)

VermaChili said...

Jo,
I appreciate these "balance" series as it helps me keep things in perspective in my own life as a working mom of two. However, I've come to realize that the balance I seek is less about even scales, and more about equilibrium, that is constantly changing. At times, I am happy with an equilibrium in which I'm giving more than receiving, and vice versa. Its a constant amicable tug-of-war between career, family, and me. I think the key for me, is feeling safe to vocalize when the equilibrium needs to shift in my favor for a little while.

Elizabeth said...

HM Designs: I hear you! I never thought that working full-time to provide for my child would be looked down upon, but it often is. I even had people tell me I should get married again JUST so I could stay home like I'm supposed to.

I do have the luxury of working for a small family business where my daughter can run over to the shop when she wants, and see what Mom does every day. Matter of fact, she's right here next to me now, helping me make a floor plan for a store expansion.

Joanna, I love the conversations you're starting. What a great community! Thanks.

brianna said...

Yay Yay Yay!!!

Genevieve said...

It could be interesting to have moms from different countries share their stories. I am a married working mom and I live in Montreal, Canada.

We presently have a babyboom here (partially) because our social system is very generous with parents. I'm sure it would be interesting for your readers...

Loved the series by the way.
xxxx

Tracy said...

Loved this series, Joanna. I've been a long time reader, but this my first comment, and I adore how your posts are real, personal& intimate, yet not self-absorbed. A future series featuring parents who work outside the home and have a special needs child, and how they manage to balance all the appts, therapy, childcare, siblings, marriage, etc. would be so fascinating.

mandy said...

This series has been really interesting for me because it's shown that there is no easy button or having it all.

As a single mom working a more than full-time job in a tech firm in a rural location, I'd love to read about other women in similar situations and how they manage when childcare options are limited and dollars and time are scarce.

Jackie said...

As a young twenty-something who's married but without children I want to thank you for this series. I often wonder how I'll balance children into my already demanding career as a young scientist working long hours. It's encouraging to see that there are no right or wrong answers. And that when the time comes, it's possible to "balance" work and family.

martini said...

I'm glad you're doing these series; it's fantastic to hear all these different perspectives!

My partner and I are both rangers with the National Park Service, and I'd love to hear from someone balancing parenthood with work in the wilderness or a very remote setting. The world we inhabit is about a million miles from the urban areas you've featured so far, and I think this would make for a refreshing and fascinating bit of diversity.

kate said...

Thanks so much for the great recap and the series! Definitely a wonderful read and so educational (and reassuring).

I'd love to read how a mom, especially a new mom, handles being a full-time student. I'm pondering getting my MBA, but I have a four month old. What does that look like? Is it easier or harder being a full-time student versus a full-time employee?

I'm sure whoever else you feature will be great! This is a wonderful topic.

Anonymous said...

I agree that life of single moms is not explored enough (especially considering statistics about how much there are).

Also, I know this is 'motherhood monday', but to be honest there are a million blogs about how the moms deal with it, what they miss, what their priorities are etc. It definitely would be interesting to see some dads perspectives too at some point.

I think the insights Alex gave about Toby's birth where quite interesting.

But to be honest what I'm most concerned with is whether women/moms tend to take on more responsibility in making up for working and everything than dads and I would be really interested in seeing what sacrifices the dads have to make to (or would be willing to make and might not even have to)...

Whitney Simon said...

I would love to see you feature someone like me who has a job (an architect) but whose husband travels all the time (he's an airline pilot) and how we balance marriage, motherhood and work with a less than ideal situation! We live in the south too, where things are so very different. On one hand more laid back, but on the other, so much more old fashioned and unwilling to accept a live/ work balance for women OR men. I love this series and can't wait to see what you do next!

Anonymous said...

What about moms with special needs kids. Not only do these mom's budget their time and money for everyday things but they then add on many therapies and extra meetings for their kids.

As a behavior therapist, it was amazing to see the juggling act these moms did and what they sacrificed so their kid can reach their full potential.

Jenna said...

I love these series even though I am not a mother yet...or even close. I'm still in my "figuring it out" stages and would love to read about work/balance of women like these before they got settled & had kids. I feel like there are so many of us trying to figure it out & it's hard to balance it financially & socially. I'd love to be inspired by their stories/read their tips! Just a thought!

Maren said...

I'm a new reader (and a new mom!) and I loved this series.

I echo the comments about profiling moms in healthcare (MDs, nurses, etc).

GINA BIBER said...

It would be nice to hear single moms, and low-income families, which can't always afford babysitters or take-out whenever they're too tired too cook.

Jaimie said...

I agree with a previous comment - i would love to have a series (or maybe just a guest post from Alex?) on the MEN'S perspective! Do they face these same struggles, and/or how are their struggles to find balance different than the mom's? I think this would be fascinating.

annette said...

All this 9-5(ish) stuff is great, but what about those of us who have picked careers that REQUIRE long, unpredictable hours. Please please please pick someone who MUST work long hours, with an unpredictable schedule. Ideally for me a doctor/surgeon, but firefighter, police officer, high-level government worker, shift/factory worker, research scientist, anyone working 2 jobs etc would also be really helpful for us in non-office jobs.

I also think it would interesting to hear about the lives of single moms. I am in awe of them.

Leica said...

Hi Joanna, I can't wait to read about a wider variety of mothers! I hope you get to feature some military moms--active duty, dependents, officer, enlisted--it's a gold mine for finding balance! Thanks :)

Kim said...

How about working parents with school age children? It seems to me that the balance gets even more challenging when children have school activities, homework, sports, etc., especially when work hours aren't flexible.

cora d said...

Well, if you're interested, I'm a working mom of two under 3 years old, who lives with their very supportive father (we are married). We (the parents) both work - he 40+ hours a week, me no more than 30. We live in a town with a population 6,000, but work in a town with a pop. 35,000 approx. 20 min away by car. He's a banker; I'm a fundraiser for a small, regional nonprofit. This is my third job since my first daughter was born and I spent a year unemployed. No family in the area; both girls attend day care five days a week, though I typically work four days a week.

Meredith S said...

Really enjoyed this series...but I definitely agree with some other readers. It's hard for me to relate to these women since it seems, for them, money is not an issue. That's a HUGE factor in most people's life as parent and the choices they make in this area of their lives.

I think a series with more "realistic" moms would be great. Mom's who have "regular" jobs and earn a much more middle-class salary would be far more relatable and helpful.

Scout and Rice said...

I'd like to hear about:

- Stay at home Dads, or other relatives who provide care, and how they manage their lives around the little one.
- Parents of multiples.

Thanks for the series Jo, I can imagine a LOT of hard work has gone into researching these women and you've done a fab job.

Jody said...

I love your even handed and respectful tone.

Pen said...

Would love, love to hear from moms in cities that try to make it work on one income (just the father or mother's) until their children are school aged. How they handle living on less to have more time with their kids. Would also love to hear from young moms who are still building their career/not making quite as much as they need to afford childcare.

Scout and Rice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jules said...

Joanna,

I also loved your summary. We are in this together and I sometimes wonder if it is this sentiment that is missing from so many of our relationships not just when we discuss tackling parenting and balance.

When I look around at my friends, we all came from a variety of backgrounds: single parents, SAHMs, moms who had to work at entry level positions to put food on the table and others whose moms were high powered execs. And every single one of my friends are beautiful souls who inspire me to be a better person. Not because they had more or less but because their moms did the best they knew how!

To all the ladies who contributed thanks for your bravery and honesty. It isn't easy to be vulnerable and I appreciated you putting your thoughts out there! Know that if it helps one other parent figure out a better balance for themselves it was worth it!

Belle said...

I definitely enjoyed the series but did not read all the comments. I am kind of astounded that you mentioned in your summary that some people think mothers shouldn't work. I think that is quite judgmental. Some moms don't have a choice, and people should realize that. I also think that sometimes a little time apart from your kid is healthy. My mom stayed at home with us and it was great for a while... but I don't think it's the only way you can raise happy, well-adjusted kids. As you say, we're all in this together. There isn't one "right" way to raise a child.

Bethanee @thebblife said...

As someone who is both breaking into a difficult field (museums) and looking forward to having children, it might be interesting to hear how different generations view the work/life balance. My mother, for instance, thinks I should leave my career when I'm ready to have children if financially able, where I see it as more than a money issue, but a personal, life fulfillment issue.

To be honest, from where I stand, it seems like a lose/lose situation trying to have both, but what seems to be the theme of the women who wrote is that it's difficult but they love it-and I guess that's all you can really ask out of life.

Ashley said...

first, thank you so much for creating this series! as a newlywed who hopes to one day (soonish) to have children, my husband and i talk often about what our lives would look like and what adjustments would need to be made in our careers and lives otherwise post-kids. this series definitely made me consider some things that i hadn't thought of before and it's continued to fuel conversation at home about the future. it's been great!

that said, i did notice that the women in your most recent series all seemed to have fantastic jobs and (i imagine) the salary to match - it would be great to hear from working women who make more of a modest living. someone who can't necessarily afford someone to clean the house or a private nanny. and i agree that it would be fascinating to hear from some stay at home moms. i know a lot of women my age (me included) think that might be the route for their family one day - some insight would be fab!

thanks, again!

Ruthann said...

Joanna, thank you so much for coordinating and commenting on this series. As someone planning to have children and work in a demanding job, it is wonderful to get some insight into the struggle I'll face. And yes, your balanced and respectful tone is wonderful. Though, some of the other comments remind me that sometimes women can be the hardest on women. We need to be compassionate towards each other, and respect mothers (or just women) with different values, lifestyles, approaches to parenting, etc.

dani press said...

i have loved this series, jo. LOVED IT. and i'm not even a mother yet, but it's so great to start learning NOW. for your next series, how about women who travel a lot or their jobs require them to be on the road a lot? how about non-creative fields - pharmacists, accountants, dentists? how about SINGLE mothers? i'd be very interested to read about how they juggle it. how about women/families that split their time (half a year in india, half in california) type thing?
this has all made me so curious how ALL women juggle the exact same things. so fascinating.
thank you for sharing, jo! xo.

Anonymous said...

Both of these series were great, and they provided really valuable point of views, I believe. So, as Paige Geiger said before, I was also wondering moms in fields like science and engineering, not only in academia, but also in factories or like that...
Thank you

Ali said...

I would love to see a mom who works at a non-profit. I love this series...I'm not a mom (yet) but I love seeing how all of these women handle their jobs and home lives.

Anonymous said...

YES! Do a regular joe sort of mom....works a full week, children are in child care, no nannies and eating out multiple times a week. A teacher??

Anonymous said...

Great posts! I would love to read some stories from single moms. I grew up in a single parent household, and it seemed less about balance and more about juggling. My mom did a great job, but I'm curious how single moms are doing it today.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see more normal jobs, or people in jobs where they haven't "made it" yet. This series and last year's were great, but most of these women have jobs that seem unattainable to most people, or really glamorous. How about mom's slugging it out in regular corporate America, or associates in law firms, the ones who might still be trying to climb the ladder and are just figuring it out day by day.

george_7717 said...

I think in reality the word 'may' might as well be struck out in point two :)

Are there any high powered jobs where mothers are entirely satisfied with the hours they work? I think this series has answered this question with a resounding no!

fenice7810 said...

Hy Joanna,
I am Sara. I come from Rome (Italy) where I live with my husband and my son of 4. First time I leave you a comment even if I am a "regular" reader of your blog.
I am part time worker and I really loved the series. Looking forward to reading the new one!
I think that talking about mothers coming from different cultures and countries could be interesting to understand how many ways to be a mother we have. In my country political situation is not so "brilliant" and many professional women are forced to leave their careers to dedicate to family.

Thank you for showing me a different way to be a mother and a good person.

Sara

Anonymous said...

Great series! As a married, early "30 something" living in NYC looking to start a family soon hearing how every woman has figured out a way to make it happen is inspiring.

I would love to hear more about working mothers who live in a lower income bracket in metro cities and what they do to keep it all together and make it work!

Angela said...

I loved the series. I'd like to hear from single moms (like me). Even if you have an active ex-/father of the child, if you're the custodial parent, you need to figure a lot more stuff out. Would LOVE to hear how other women do this successfully...or at least mostly successfully!

Linnea said...

This really is the BEST series, Joanna! Thank you for your hard work in putting this together. I don't have kids yet, but I'm saving these interviews as PDFs so I can refer back to them when I do. I hope I can take after these wonderful women with my future career and family.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

There was in interesting story last week on NPR that featured the rise in overnight/late night child care needs, due to so many parents working 3rd shift, extra jobs, etc...it would be interesting to feature moms in this situation.

Athalia said...

I have a habit of reading American motherhood blogs and as a Brit I do wonder that there might be a few cultural differences in how mothers do it on this side of the pond. As I don't know of any British mama bloggers I wonder if American mothers more willing to share their experiences?

1,000 oceans said...

Yes! We are most certainly in this together :)
My vote also goes to hearing more from single income families, where mom works and dad stays at home. This is my situation, and has become increasingly popular among my fellow teaching colleagues.
I would love to hear how other families, in this particular configuration, find their balance, too.

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who requested moms in the healthcare industry! I'm particularly curious how doctors/residents/med school students are able to handle raising a family while working sometimes unpredictable hours. Also, did they choose to push back starting a family until they were done with school and residency?

Jen said...

Another vote for single moms, but I'd also like to hear from other stepmoms like me who are balancing work, new babies, older stepkids, etc. Thanks for this series and everything else Joanna : )

Anonymous said...

I would like to hear from more women who have careers and two or more children. My instinct is that the number of working women with children drops drastically after having a second child. I would enjoy a post about a woman who juggles both a large family and a career.

sarah said...

I'm a labor and delivery nurse planning to go back to school for a masters in nurse midwifery. Would love to hear from some physician/nurse moms who balance long day hours, weekends and nights on call with marriage and family responsibilities.

Thanks - loving this series!

Anonymous said...

Another vote for mothers in the healthcare industry (doctors, residents, medical students etc.)

As a med student and thus future doctor. This would be incredibly enlightening.

Anonymous said...

Great series! I live and work for the federal government in Washington DC, and would love to hear about moms working in government jobs in Washington - in high powered political jobs (congress, white house, state dept) - a field normally seen as dominated by older, white men!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of hearing from mothers who are in lower income situations and facing career change in order to support their families. I'm not a mother myself, but i know that my own family was completely broke when they had me and struggled with my father's job loss, finding affordable childcare, etc. When I was 3 my mother took our last $1,000 and put it toward taking her CPA exam and passed on her first try (very rare) - she then fought her way up in a very youth-centric industry when everyone was telling her she was far too old to get started. She now makes amazing money and is in a very high-powered position, but it was clearly hard on her marriage and family life (i.e. working those extra long hours when you're older with two kids at home and missing a lot of moments in order to provide a comfortable life for her family). It really makes me tear up thinking of how hard she's worked in her life! I just love that woman!

cydneymm said...

I would love to see interviews where both parents are medical residents and/ or practicing physicians. My partner and I are fairly terrified on how to handle this (how on early do you get child care at 3am when you both have patients?). What interval in their career did they choose to have kids? I would greatly appreciate it- it is a fairly overwhelming thought with all of us these days (at least the females among us).

Bethie said...

I am an American mom living in London with my 18-month old. I am a professional singer and I often leave my baby girl for weeks at a time to go sing. I performed all through my pregnancy (I had a gig the day I went into labor!) and I began leaving her for all day rehearsals when she was less than two months old. I recently spoke to a group of music students and when the topic of family came up, this was my favourite piece of advice to share: make sure you have a supportive spouse.

I certainly wouldn't be able to be in this line of work if my husband weren't 100% supportive of me. I don't mean this at all to sound sexist, I support my husband when he travels for work (he's a lawyer), so it really goes both ways.

Bonnie said...

A series about moms with more than one child would be much appreciated as well. thanks!

Mandee said...

I would love to read about part-time fitness instructors and how they strike a balance with their kids. It would be interesting since they'd (maybe?) only need part time child care.

Sally said...

I'd love to hear how moms who HOMESCHOOL do it all. There's such a huge array of homeschooling tools and methods available now - such as the Charlotte Mason Method, Khan Academy, Classical Conversations, etc. - and it would be fascinating to get a glimpse until their world. There's also unschooling which, while not as "accepted" as homeschooling, has a devoted following as well. Texas apparently has the largest percentage of homeschoolers in the country.

Anonymous said...

I loved this series... this was wonderful! I would love to see something on women who choose more demanding careers than the women who you intereviewed. I would also find a series on different types of childcare to be useful including cost comparisons, and how to find good child care. Thanks!!

Jane said...

Would you consider doing a series on mothers overseas? I'm from NZ and I know from talking to a friend in London that our days are similiar in lots of ways but also wildly different too.
Also, be great to read about where other mothers are at with teenage children. Whole other ballgame!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're doing another series, because throughout this one, I kept thinking, well, I'd have a nanny, too, if my husband was an anesthesiologist. I don't say that with malice -- it's just that my husband, who loves his job as a school teacher, will never make close to what a doctor or lawyer will.

I love my career, and am a few years away from having kids, but my career is never going to provide enough to justify a nanny, a housekeeper, or even staying at home alone (re: schoolteacher husband) even if I do take a second job or freelance like crazy. And despite that fact, I will always work because I am a talented and ambitious individual, just not in a highly lucrative field.

So who's the voice for those folks?

Nicole said...

With only one year left in college before I start teaching, I would love to hear from a teacher! I think there is a big misperception that teachers have the perfect schedule - afternoons/evenings off, summers off, and the same breaks as their kids. However, if there's one thing I've learned from the teachers I've interned with so far, it's that this is far from true. A dedicated teacher shows up at students' extracurriculars, spends hours grading and planning each day, and takes on an extra role (club, etc) after school. Additionally, with the low pay, so many teachers feel the need to work a second job in the summer.

Heidi said...

I think it's so interesting to read others' comments on subjects like motherhood because it seems that so many moms take it so very personally - which they should! However, the comments about the women you have featured not being relatable is relative. Yes, they live in big cities and may have help at home or with the kids that others don't have, but I feel like the point you (Jo) were trying to make is that regardless of those things, we are all struggling because motherhood IS personal. I agree with Anon 3:42 that is difficult to read the comments; they are harsh and selfish. Not all of them, of course, but as a mom who works in and out of the home, often logging 50-ish hours with only 20 hours of childcare, I would never say, "I don't want to read about single moms/moms in healthcare/SAHM, etc." In fact, I'd love to see how each mom makes her very, very difficult job work because just maybe I can learn something from her.

Thank you for the fun and insightful series, Joanna. I looked forward to opening my reader each morning!

Abby said...

I have really been enjoying these series, and I think you've done a nice job of summarizing and responding to the comments.

This is quite specific, but you asked, so - I'd like to see a profile of a mother who is in med school or residency. Someone working as a doc would be interesting too, but I'm most interested in those inflexible training years.

bestof2sisters.com said...

Loved this post.

It would add a fascinating twist if you also featured profiles of mothers from different countries, as I am sure there are several cultural differences which makes the work/ life balance somewhat different from the US.

/Louisa

Roscoe said...

Joanna – thanks for a great series! A few of my thoughts, in addition to your thoughts above and the thoughts of this great collection of women...

1) Wisdom from women about how to live life BEFORE being wives / mothers… One woman referenced something along the lines of “if only I had know this ten years ago!” If I’m a single girl in my 20s who moved to a new city after college to work a great job (although with long hours), is there any wisdom from women who have been where I am and look back upon her twenties with anything to share? About decisions that could influence life? (like treating myself to a vacation vs. saving for a wedding or children, or trying a few different careers vs. sticking one out and hoping it leads you in a good direction, or which things I shouldn’t take for granted too much before they change!)

2) Couples who work TOGETHER… Many designers have design studios together, architecture practices together, business ventures together… Often with strange hours of work and where work infiltrates the home much more than when each partner’s work is something different. Sometimes they work from home, which means 24 hours a day together in one space... Sometimes they work in another location but in reality talk / think about work back at home also... Sometimes they work together just themselves, sometimes they work with a team or office with many more people around... Sometimes the money gets tight and both are in the same boat, instead of being able to rely on one partner who is more of a moneymaker...

3) Yes! Lower income families with not as glamorous jobs... Jobs you might not be as proud to share with others or feel glamorous when you talk about them... Lifestyles where you can't afford to go out to eat at a restaurant when you're too tired to cook, or where you can't afford to take a yearly trip abroad to have some alone time with your spouse.

Odette said...

I am really enjoying this series.

It seems the women who have the glamorous jobs are able to enjoy better choices when it comes to affording good childcare and nice-sized houses or apartments in the city. I think that many women have to struggle with researching affordable yet "acceptable" childcare options and don't have the same choices as women with glamorous jobs. It is good to see though that life is hectic for everyone and we all have to adjust and make sacrifices.

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

I would definitely love a series on single moms and/or something on different income levels. Everyone seemed to be on the same "level" financially in the last series (though that could totally just be my assumption).

Shena Hays said...

So many children now are diagnosed with autism, 1 in 55 boys, which is a staggering number. I know personally what it is like to juggle work and take care of a brilliant child with autism as well as her two "typical" siblings. I would be interested to see how other people do it too.

rachelthat said...

I would love to see a woman in math, engineering, or science interviewed!

Anonymous said...

How about a lesbian mom or moms? Same-sex families face a unique set of joys and struggles, especially when it comes to decisions around how to bring a child or children into the picture!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna,

This is a great series to have.

I am just about to begin my career (just starting medical school this fall.. at 24 years of age)

I am no where near being married and having a family... (my studies and job have always come first.. and well, confession: I AM A WORKAHOLIC!)

But I do wonder every now and then about what it would be like to be at such a point in my life. I honestly want to be uber-successful in my career (I am aiming to be a cardio-thoracic surgeon) but I often feel that being very successful at such a job could never be synonymous with being a mother and wife (at least a good one!) The task sometimes seems a daunting one when I think about it....and to be honest I truly want to be excellent in my work, which leads me to believe that marriage and kids just may not work for me or may not fit into the picture.

I would love to see someone who does manage this... to sort of inspire me!

It would be great if you could feature a full-time doctor/surgeon who is also a mother/wife.

Thanks so much for taking our input.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this series. It is so illuminating to read these real stories. I am a new-ish wife, in her early 30s, living in NYC and I have to be honest, these accounts have me terrified. It is definitely making me think more seriously if children should be a part of our lives and if so, how.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please do one for moms who work in science/engineering especially academia. I am always particularly curious how women can pursue a career path as a successful professor. It's something I've been thinking I want to do, but I also want to have a family. So it will be nice and encouraging to hear success stories from them.

lauracthornton said...

I love reading both of the series you've done so far. I'm no where NEAR being a mother but it is fascinating to see how all different kinds of women are doing the work/life balance. I know these series originated as Motherhood Monday's theme post, but what do you think about a 20-something-sans-kid-and-partner work/life balance series?
It feels silly to suggest it, but I know I cannot be the only person in this situation who still finds it incredibly difficult to try to find this balance. Part of me thinks it's now, when I don't have kids or a boyfriend that I need to learn these skills, so that it makes that transition easier when I do finally have those things. I'm just interested in how other people are handling this as well.

Jill Hardt said...

Home/unschoolers!

Jessica said...

Loved the series and agree with your idea about compromise. I had a mentor tell me during college that there are many things in life and we can only ever do 3 really well. At that time the "things" were: sleep, exercise, love-interest, extra-curriculars, friends, and school. I'd like to argue that most can do 4 well but I do believe that's a max. My current 4: exercise, husband, friends, job. Not doing as many of my hobbies as I would like or sleeping enough. Maybe moms can get up to 5 somehow.

Also an ode to single moms out there. My mom raised 3 of us on her full-time 40k salary while still getting dinner on the table most nights and attending plays / soccer games. Not sure how she did it but she did.

Thanks for this great series and I think the book idea is great.

.aubrey c. said...

love your wisdom!
http://gandacummings.blogspot.com

Suzy said...

I cannot wait until the stay at home mom section! That is what I really want to do with my life, and I want to see how other women do it.
I'm also quite amazed at the lives of these women. They are troopers.

Kristen said...

i loved this series. i just had a baby and am starting work back TOMORROW! this could not have come at a better time for a little perspective. xx thanks jo!

kristen
mikie and kristen

Abby said...

Loved this series. I talked about it a lot with my mom last week, and I'd like to see a series on moms who need to work to financially support their families (whether single or with a significant other). It would also be interesting to see the perspective of women raising children together--how do they share responsibilities? Do both of them feel guilt? Do neither of them?

allyson mae said...

single moms! i'm separated, and i'm going to work full time and school part time, while raising a 3 year old. i need some balancing advice! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a fascinating series & I love your blog - I read it everyday! In terms of this series I do think you have a great idea for a book on your hands:-)

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read a stay at home dad series too!

Emily Grosse said...

I own an art gallery as well as take on most of the daily child care. It's insane! My home life and work life are pretty much the same thing, which smoooshes up the best and worst of both worlds.

Every mom struggles to find peace with their decisions. I'd love to hear from others that run a business outside the home and take their kids with them. Or maybe there aren't any because this is ridiculous! :)

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear how stepmothers balance life with their stepchildren and bio children when the other bio parent is also involved and the step child lives split between the two homes. how do they make things fair/balanced/etc.

Kerri Lynne said...

This series is wonderful, Joanna. I really like that you've worked hard to represent all different types of wonderful mamas. Sometimes I think it's easy to wonder if what you're doing is best for your child and I think you're spot on to say that everyone has to find different ways that work for them and their families. Looking forward to the next one!

Paige Parkhill said...

I absolutely love this series, it really makes you think about all the different mom situations out there. I look forward to the stay at home mom series as I am one right now...studying to someday be a working mom! Maybe self employed mothers would be a great one as well! Awesome series Joanna!!!

Janet said...

Thankyou so much for this series Joanna. It is very timely for me and my 6 month old baby boy! I am a specialist doctor and am currently looking after my baby after having spent the last 15 years studying and then working to become a specialist. Before having my son I worked for 10-12hours at the hospital and then spent all my spare time on medical research/publishing (research is pretty much essential to a specialist doctors career). I ADORE my job and never minded focusing on my career 110%, but now, after finally finishing years of training, I find myself completely in love with my baby boy, and unable to comprehend leaving him for even a minute! I can't describe how painful it is to think about compromising on either my baby or my career - I truly wish I could split myself in two! I do realise however that I am truly truly blessed and spoilt to have such a dilemma! Anyway, I am currently grappling with these questions: When should I return to work? What sort of child care? When should I have a second child? Your series has been great in terms of seeing how others are doing it, but I would also LOVE it if you were to also somehow address these specific questions too, and I think many others would be interested also? For example, I would LOVE to know when the women you interviewed returned to work! Anyway, THANKYOU once again, for doing this!!

Betsy said...

My question for you (which I've wondered about for almost 5 years) is: how do you afford to take so much vacation? It seems that you and Alex and now even with Toby take many weeks of vacation every year. How is that possible? Is it because you're a freelancer?

Amy P said...

I was reading the comments that were starting to get more and more jealous/indignant at these women who did/didn't 'have it all' and wondered how you would handle it. I think you did fairly well :)

I personally would love to see more stay-at-home parents in North America (not necessarily moms), but know that in this current culture it's become a luxury. I also think Canada/Europe has it much better off in terms of how families are cared for by their governments. It'd be wonderful to see the states pick up some of their philosophies - I have a feeling it would solve some of the US' larger problems long term.

Anonymous said...

I've really loved reading this series, and I'm a single, childless female in my 30s. I think one of the things I'd love to see is advice for women who aren't yet in the place of managing the families/work/life balance issues. I work in a job that's demanding and hard, and I can't imagine doing this as a wife or with kids-- so anything I can learn now about healthy habits, good tips, etc., would be great!

-Ryane

Haley said...

I'm so looking forward to reading the next posts in the "my balance" series, and love that you're trying to represent lots of different experiences. I think it would be great to hear about different family configurations... same-sex couples, families with step-parents, adoption, etc. I'd especially like to hear these mom's thoughts on what makes a family when kids are not biologically related, and how they talk with their kids about that. I also love some of the other suggestions out there... parents in medicine and/or science, big city vs. small town, parents in different countries. It seems like there are so many directions you could go with this, and I'm excited to see what you'll choose. (P.S. you could totally do a book -- I know I'd buy it.)

Heather and Jake said...

Love these! I work as a dental assistant and my husband is doing school right now. He watches our little one (who is 5 months)while I am at work, then as soon as I get home he goes to school. Somehow we make it work. Thank goodness we have family close by to help too! It's hard to find balance but I believe 100% in good,better, best. Constantly decided what things you think are more important to do that day.

A Sunday Kind Of Love said...

This is a bit strange, but I would love for you to interview mothers from the pre-internet/cell phone generation. So perhaps their children are all grown up now and they are even entering the grandchildren phase.

I think the combination of cell phones/internet have changed the way parents parents because firstly if they work, the office can contact them at all hours, and even if they stay at home, it provides not only access to the world outside your house, but also a distraction. Both of these points are very obvious, but I think they have really changed parenting.

When my mother was raising my brother and I, if we were out playing, nobody was calling to speak to her. If we were at the park, she was chatting with the other mothers or playing with us, not tweeting.
Not to say this is all bad, but I'm curious about how parents from that generation and beyond view parents today with all these "conveniences" and "distractions", if that makes sense! And do they think it has made things harder or easier. My grandmother, who raised 7 children, thought it made things harder in some ways.

B said...

I work part-time running a small non-profit. It's the absolute best situation I could ever hope to have. It's still a real challenge to stay on top of my work, but a wonderful combination of being able to not lose what professional success I'd achieved before getting pregnant, while still having plenty of time with my child. I just wish more mothers (and fathers) had this opportunity. I read a really interesting article about how flexible and part-time work was becoming more available in Denmark (I think it was Denmark). I wish that could become more of a reality here.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I'm being repetitive, but I haven't read through all of the comments.

I'd like to see a series about women who completely changed after having kids, i.e. the career woman who left the workforce to stay home, and the stay-at-home mom who reentered (or entered for the first time) workforce.

I'm also interested in hearing from women in different professions - women who started families as residents in tough residency programs (scary to me!), women who work in typically male fields (& their co-workers reactions/thoughts to pregnancy & maternity leave), women in academia.

Taylor Morgan said...

Great post! :)

xoxo,
Tay

taylormorgandesign.blogspot.com

lydia of boy howdy daily said...

this might be hard to find..but moms who work full time while husband works out of town!

i am due in 6 weeks with our first baby. i live in town and my husband lives during the week in another town 80 miles away for his work. he has a great job and it has worked for us...but now with a baby it will be really hard! so...semi-single moms would be great.

just food for thought :-)

Tess said...

i would love to see a balance series about people who are NOT mothers. i find it difficult to balance work, play, social activities, cleaning, and cooking as a single woman who works long hours. balance is not just a challenge for women with kids; in fact, for many of us who work with men and women who have kids, we're expected to pick up the slack at work that their family lives afford them. it's a tricky balance for everyone.

Courtney said...

I really love this series. Thank you for doing it!!
I totally agree with that bold statement about not having it all. But the thing is, that's not just about women! I think women are so concerned about "having it all" but it's not like men do. No one does! I think our American culture hasn't pressured men into spending time with their families, so it isn't this huge, talked-about issue for them. It's most often the women looking for more family-friendly work environments. (But I think this is changing, hooray!) Anyway, so there's my two cents. No one has it all!

I would really love to read one about a mom with real budget concerns or a mom who was young when started having kids, before she had accomplished much career-wise.

Megan said...

Please do interviews with single mums - both high income and low income versions! I love these series' but I feel that the chosen people have been very leading very glamorous/perfect lives in a way.

Also how about an interview with a mother who was part of first wave feminism? Someone who helped fight for all the different choices we now have?

Julia said...

I am not a mother, but I love reading these series and hearing different opinions. We really are all in this together (yay for chicks!) and the worst thing we can do is criticize other's choices. Feminism is about being able to make your own choice- whether it is a choice to work outside the home or a choice to be a stay-at-home mom. I would love to hear from moms not working outside the home, because I'm pretty sure they have their own version of a balancing act. Or how about gay moms/couples and how the dynamic differs (or doesn't) from a hetrosexual couple?

kate said...

I currently stay at home, but in the coming year I want to start training as a doula. I'd love to hear about women who have really irregular schedules and how they deal with that with their spouses who are working more traditional hours.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a mom who is working and a full-time student. I have an 18 month old son, we're expecting our second in late September and I'm in the midst of returning to school for graduate studies. -- Also, my husband and I live in Ohio with no support system at all and that would be something to cover too. Our closest family is 9hrs away on Long Island with the rest in Minnesota and Florida. We moved here for my husband's job and don't know anyone (actually after 2 years, we have 2 casual friends and a young babysitter). -- Perspectives on either of these would be lovely.

Alyssa said...

I loved this series just as much as I loved the first one you did last year. It's SO easy to fall in the trap of thinking others situations in life are so much easier/better/less stressful than your own. I've found this to be a great eye opener for the challenges others face, and something that helps me appreciate what's good about my life. Can't wait to read the next one!

Alyssa said...

I loved this series just as much as I loved the first one you did last year. It's SO easy to fall in the trap of thinking others situations in life are so much easier/better/less stressful than your own. I've found this to be a great eye opener for the challenges others face, and something that helps me appreciate what's good about my life. Can't wait to read the next one!

Alyssa said...

I'll be returning to work as weather forecaster at the end of the summer, and will be going back to 12 hour rotating shift work. I'd love to hear from other shift working mamas about how they've made it work.

Judy Nelson said...

I'm a step-mom. Not a ton out there for us. I also work full-time for an international non-profit. I've really enjoyed the series! Would love the international moms as I've met many from different cultures--so much wisdom out there!

Jen Dawson said...

I really loved last weeks articles. It's great to see women, just being women and making the most of their lives and ambitions whatever they may be. How lovely that we all get to decide where we want to be and can forge the life we want for ourselves and our children.

I work full time in the mining industry in Australia and my husband is a stay-at-home dad to our 10 month old son. This wasn't what we always planned but it just works for us and as long as it continues to do so then we will keep at it. Sure it takes effort and gets complicated sometimes but if my husband and I can look each other in the eye when we get to bed and say "We had a good day" then we know we are doing fine.

Olive said...

Anonymous who wants to hear from healthcare professionals . . . I wake up in the morning, wake my daughter up, we take a shower together (she is just 4), she watches cartoons with warm milk in my bed while I blow dry my hair and get dressed, the nanny arrives, I leave. I leave home at 6. If the nanny is late I am screwed. The nanny drives my daughter over to the hospital when she is in her PJs and I go downstairs and kiss her goodnight. I usually get home at 10 but sometimes it is after midnight. My nanny has afternoons off to do whatever she wants because my daughter goes to afternoon preschool and in the summers she is in day camp all day. When I am on call the nanny stays over. The nany is better paid than I am. I am a single mother and a neurosurgery fellow.

Sydney said...

I just adore your blog!

Sydney
http://satisfashionsydney.blogspot.com/

Maureen said...

I love this. Thank you so much. We are just about to welcome our first baby and we both plan to work so this is very timely for me. I'm excited for the next series as well. Would you mind asking the women/men you interview what reactions they've gotten from friends and family? It seems pregnancy and parenting are areas where everyone is an expert and wants to pass along their opinions. And I know before my baby is even born, we have people judging our decision to work. I'd love to hear more about this from other working parents too. Thanks again so much for this great series!

Jenny said...

This series has been great! I just returned back to the office from maternity leave and also started working on separate contract work from home...making life extra hectic. I would love to hear about stay at home moms. When I'm working from home I don't have any help so it's so hard to get any real work sccomplished (or household chores for that matter), and it doesn't help that my 4 month old refuses to nap!
It's so encouraging to know that all of us struggle to find balance as moms. We're just doing the best we can and taking it one day at a time :)

Emma said...

Howsabout some posts from moms who live in the country? For those of us who don't have the experience of living/mothering in NYC.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear from stay at home moms. I think many people have a misconception about who they are, what they do all day and why they stay at home. The one's that I'm friends with very rarely spend most of the day "at home".

I love hearing about how other people live.It's so interesting and often very reaffirming about how I'd like to do things in my own life.

Thanks for doing these interviews!

Jenny said...

This series has been great! I just returned back to the office from maternity leave and also started working on separate contract work from home...making life extra hectic. I would love to hear about stay at home moms. When I'm working from home I don't have any help so it's so hard to get any real work sccomplished (or household chores for that matter), and it doesn't help that my 4 month old refuses to nap!
It's so encouraging to know that all of us struggle to find balance as moms. We're just doing the best we can and taking it one day at a time :)

ana {bluebirdkisses} said...

I loved this series. It resonated with my own life so much and I love your comment on realizing "no one has it 100% figured out". That was the #1 thing I realized, with a little bit of relief, from this series. I can't wait to read the next.

Marin Elizabeth said...

This is one of my favorite posts you've done so far! Can't wait to see the rest of the series!

Kristin said...

I work full time during the day and my husband works full time at night. We have one daughter who is ten months old and it's been a real challenge, especially when it comes to the health of our marriage. I'd love to with you more about this kind of unique challenge to parenting and marriage.

Jan @ Family Bites said...

What about featuring young mothers, or people who chose to have babies early in life? I'm 36 and I have two boys who are 10.5 and 12. I live in a big city (Toronto), went to university and lived in France for a year. I had my first baby at 24, mostly because my husband is ten years older than me and he didn't want to be in his 40s when we started a family, and I love that I'm in mid 30s with an almost-teenager. I work from home, but haven't always done that, and I would love to read more from like minded people.

Taylor said...

Hi Joanna,

I would love to see moms who are not in heterosexual relationships featured in your next series. It would be great to see how same-sex couples try to find balance and negotiate the challenges that come with parenthood.

Thanks!

Bec said...

I'd love to hear about young mothers and the struggles they face - not having an established career, being the first among their friends to have children so not having much social support in terms of shared experience with their friends, etc.
And, to echo a few others, an interview with stay-at-home dads would also be fascinating!

Amy said...

I LOVE this series, it's been wonderful reading these great stories about such wonderful women!

I'd love to see a series/profile on women who run their own businesses+have children and manage to have balance of some sort.

andrea said...

Really great series and I appreciate and relate to your realizations - esp #3. Please do another series - they are so, so interesting. I am realizing that my neighbours to the south have it tough though. We are a bit spoiled in Canada with 1 year maternity leaves and for many, subsidized child-care. If you want to interview a married Canadian with 2little boys and a crazy-hour airline schedule - let me know!

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

Hi Joanna,

This series ROCKED! Thanks for sharing it and you are so right, everyone has different goals, thus different opinions of what is best for raising children and finding balance.

I work full time from home, and it has been difficult finding balance. Initially I had someone come into my house to care for my infant daughter, however as the months passed I realized that it would be better if she got out of her "home" environment. So I found a great babysitter, she loves it there, and I can have the entire house to myself to work all day, like I had before she entered the world.

So keep sharing and thanks for curating this series. And a topic I would like to read about are maybe people who solve the parenting/working mix with multi-generational solutions, like grandparents living with the family or nearby to care for the children while the parents are working. This is an old method, that with some of my friends has been working for their setup.

Thanks again,
Liz

Anonymous said...

I second some other commenters desire to hear from mothers in the healthcare industry (nurses, physicians, etc.) Working early morning hours, evenings, and nights (as well as every other weekend) can be such a challenge. I would love to hear how those mothers juggle it all....

Steph said...

Wow - Olive's comment about being a nuerosurgery fellow and a single mom just blew me away. :)

I'm really interested in this series for different reasons than most, I think. I'm not a mother and I'm an economist. Anything to do with women and work I find fascinating.

Obviously, this series isn't scientific, which is cool - that isn't your intention. It seems as though you were coming at this from a point of view of "I'm a mom who works in media and I'd like to know how other moms roughly in the same field/work situation/life situation do it." It's obviously tapped into the desires of women in many other types of jobs and circumstances.

I guess what I'm wondering is if you would consider at some point interviewing women who are experts in one way or another in the overall subject of trends pertaining to women, motherhood and work. I saw the brilliant Claudia Goldin, who has written copiously on the subject of women and labour force participation over time (centuries, even) give a wonderful paper at a conference a few years ago. Her dataset followed highly-educated women (from Harvard and one other Ivy League, I believe), in the professions, over time. I mention this because many of your comments have requested that you consider women with more than one child, at different stages in their careers and marriages, etc. What I recall from CG's paper is that she found a clear pattern over time of attrition of these high-powered women from the labour market. Women who remained in the labour market on average reduced their work hours. There were a few exceptions, where the women chose fields/specializations in which they could be more flexible about the work hours (e.g. veterinarians). There are always exceptions to "rules," but there are also interesting observations to make from standing back and looking at general patterns.

On a more personal note, as my partner and I consider becoming parents (possibly through adoption, as we're older), I can honestly say that after nearly twenty years in demanding jobs I'll be happy to reshape my work and work less. It's probably easier for me to do this than it would be for a younger woman, given that experience gives you contacts, market knowledge, usually greater confidence and self-acceptance. The bottom line is though that as much as I have enjoyed fighting out my career among mostly men, it is only one dimension of who I am, and at my grave I am sure not the defining one.

Great work on trying to balance many dissenting voices and in putting together a nice series. Good luck with the next one.

abigail jane schrag said...

I don't know if you'll get to this comment since I am way at the bottom of the list, but I love this series. I am a part time ABA therapist (I work with kids who have autism), a graduate student who will be starting a full time student teaching practicum in the fall, and lastly, but most importantly a full time mom to a seven month old gal. I would love to hear about something similar. Maybe a new mom who is juggling part time work and studies. My husband is also a firefighter/student, and we have been sufficiently blessed* to have lots of grandmas, grandpas and friends available to help when we are both booked.

Steph said...

Sorry - meant to add a link to Claudia Goldin's Harvard page: http://scholar.harvard.edu/goldin/

kim said...

Would love to read about moms with non-traditional work schedules. I'm a peds ER doc with a different schedule every week who works days/evenings/nights plus juggles teaching/academic responsibilities. I'd also like to hear from moms in academia, working moms with stay-at-home husbands and working moms who are also trying to practice traditional home arts (gardening, canning, sewing, etc).
You could probably do a never-ending series on this topic, with endless variations! And the cool thing is that we'd learn things from all of it, whether the situations were just like ours or not.

Lara said...

Thank you for the series, Joanna! I am a new mom. My son is now 4 months old and these posts are like guide posts to me.

I do hope you'll also feature a new mom with an infant.

I had no idea just how difficult the first few months would be. Everyone said we'll lose sleep, etc. But nothing really prepares you for sore nipples, anxiety about producing enough breast milk, and trimming little nails!!!

Looking forward to the next series.

Anonymous said...

Joanna, I would really love to see posts on mothers who have stayed home to raise their children for several years, then reentered the workforce when their children are older (school age).

I thought Steph's comments were insightful, and I would love to see posts related to how mothers' careers have changed as their children have aged--do they think its easier/harder/same to work when children are younger or older, etc?

Also, a little dark, but what about mothers who have lost spouses? I personally know 3 women who have lost spouses to cancer in their early 40's--becoming single mothers and breadwinners in an instant.

Katie T said...

Healthcare workers and students! I just finished my RN program (had my baby my last week of class!) and am going to be entering my Masters program when my baby is 4 months old. I'd love to hear about other students or healthcare professionals.

inoakpark.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

For the first time in the history of the US, we have over 50% of babies being born to unwed mothers. As many others have said.....do single moms. More than one, ideally.

Megan said...

Great idea on making a book! I bet it would be very popular. I work for an awesome company that compiled some of the smartest people to write about building a company... great format and valuable to hear from mulitple people. I would buy it:)

Amy said...

I have LOVED this series! Can't wait to see where you take it next, there are so many great ideas in the comments & would love to see you explore them all. Also like the idea of you compiling them into a book when you're done, such a handy resource! :)

JeNifer said...

Hi Joanna,

I would really love to hear about balancing from someone who is a photographer/small business owner. That is my career field, so I would very much appreciate that point of view! :) Especially since it isn't just me, its both my husband and I who are photographers and run our business together. We don't have kids yet, but are thinking of starting a family next year and of course i am quite freaked out about how we will balance (and afford!) it all... yikes!

Thanks so much for creating these series. They are very insightful and helpful, especially to those who are developing a case of baby fever ;)

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear from single moms of kids of various ages doing different types of jobs--work for self vs. work for others, etc. lots of the moms say that their spouse/ signifigant other really helps out, but I'm interested in hearing from women who don't have that scenario. I also would like to hear from women who have different techniques besides "my mom helps me so much."

Thanks.

Walker said...

I've only skimmed today's comments, but did read most of the comments from the individual posts, so I'm probably repeating others' thoughts, but...

I loved last summer's series and this series. It's so interesting to see how each family handles its situation. We are constantly reevaluating our childcare options and work schedules - attempting to strike the perfect balance, which is ever-changing

I appreciate your take-aways from this series. In the end, isn't it that we're all trying to do what works best for our family?

Heather said...

Love the series- and love the motherhood posts in general. As a recent graduate of law school who is reconsidering my career goals b/c I have a 15 mo old (and hopefully future little ones) that I want to devote my time to- I'd love to see moms who have changed their career track when they had children. Awesome awesome awesome posts.

tatum said...

I'm excited about the stay-at-home-mom series. Question: will the moms being interviewed be stay-at-home-moms who were like that from the get-go, or those who chose to be stay-at-home-moms after having a career? I'd prefer the latter. This is such a fun series, the whole Motherhood Mondays in general and the interviews. Love you!!

Amelia @ House Pretty said...

I'm about to become a new mom and my career is really important to me, so I really enjoyed reading about these women and how they try to find balance (and I thought they all offered some great advice). I was struck by how much they all rely on their husbands chipping in to make it work - they all have true "partners" and that seems key to their ability to juggle career and family and everything else.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see more interviews of women of colour. As well as of working mothers with a large number of children ( say 4+)

Jennifer Zans Clark said...

I'm a structural engineer and my husband is a teachers assistant. Our rolls are very reversed, and I am in a male dominated field and he is in a woman dominated field. We just had a new daughter in June and I head back to work in August.

It would be nice to see a progress of finding a routine. What were the tweaks in responce to difficulty? What were some solutions or planning ahead? What rolls do each mom and dad do to make things work?

Pam said...

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said how personal these choices are. I can't wait to read the next installation of this series.

Katie B said...

As an aspiring mother and physician assistant, I would love to read about how someone in the medical field (preferably one that works at a hospital; physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, etc.) makes it work. Do these moms worrying more or less about the health of their children? What is their schedule like? I would love to hear from someone who works long, unconventional hours as one might in a hospital (e.g. 12 hour shifts including overnights and weekends). Thank you!

Day By Snap. said...

I have a friend who works during the day, and her husband works at night! I'd love to see an interview on that! :)

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