My parental status doesn’t matter…or does it?

I recently read a blog post about a female entrepreneur who also happened to be a stay-at-home-mom. She put a great deal of energy into her business and wound up with physical representations of stress that landed her in her doctor’s office. Her doctor told her she was trying to hard to be a good mom on top of running her own business. She comes back at him with the idea that something like that would never be said to a man; ‘You’re trying to hard to be a good dad in addition to running your own business.’

I was in complete agreement with this post until the reactions I received from a recent Facebook post. I had posted about how well I done academically this past semester as a full-time student who works full-time and also, some how, found the time to write and pass my PhD preliminary exam as well. That is a lot to accomplish in three and half months and I am quite proud of my perseverance. There were a few people who posted about me also being a mother.

At first, I had the same reaction the woman who ran her own business did when her doctor commented on her parental status. If my husband had posted the same comment on his Facebook page, would people comment on the fact that he is a father as well? I doubt it. Even though him being a good father is just as important to him as me being a good mother is to me, why did my parental status matter? Who cares that I am mother? What does that have to do with the price of eggs?

Later, it hit me. While it is true my husband would not have gotten the same comments about his parental status as I did, the fact that people know I am mother is not a bad thing. It is hard work to balance a full-time job, a full academic load, and a high energy three and half year old boy. However, it is possible. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to make it all fit. You will not let distractions and excuses get in the way.  My parental status in combination with my successes show other mothers what is possible. It can be done. You can be a good mother while working full time and pursuing higher level degree. I am the proof.

Because I am the proof that it can be done, I need to be OK with being a mom, no matter what goal or dream I am chasing down next.

Until next time…

4 thoughts on “My parental status doesn’t matter…or does it?

  1. Love it! I think the issue comes in when someone is made to feel more or less because of parental (or other) status. Your accomplishments are amazing and impressive, and as a fellow mom, I feel a special kind of admiration for ALL you and Adam did this semester. I feel good when someone notes I am setting a great example for my little ones by pursuing my PhD, or that I’m managing my different hats well. I don’t like when we assign this hierarchy– your accomplishments are more impressive than a single person but if you were a single mom, wow, we’d really need to celebrate you then! In the end only I know my experience and only you know yours–and I would guess for all of us who we are, what we value, where we spend our time and energy is a lot deeper than our parental, student, employment status.

  2. I am one of the ones who posted that response on your Facebook post…as a new mom who will be going back to work soon and has one class left on PhD coursework before starting dissertation, I said it out of awe. And because it encourages me because I keep thinking that I’m not going to be able to finish this degree now that I have a baby. Even with a partner who is a contributing parent, it is a heck of a lot if work. Is there a double standard? Absolutely! Should parenthood count as work, though, too just like your full time job while working toward your degree? Absolutely!
    I am impressed and inspired by you in all the roles you take on!

    • Amanda, I appreciate that you made the comment. It really caused me to stop, think, and reevaluate. We all need to tell out stories so as to inspire others to follow their dreams! I look forward to hearing more of your story as you continue your journey! You, too, inspire me and I confident you inspire others as well!

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