In praise of working mothers

Ronda Rich's picture

After all the trouble I got into over last year’s Mother’s Day column, I won’t be writing about my own mother this year.

But there are lots of other mothers to write about.

I have never given birth nor had any true inclination to suffer through nine months of heartburn and hours of incredible labor pain. As a small child, I had a Madame Alexander baby doll given to me by my godparents that I slung under one arm and toted around by the head. This was the first sign that I was not born to mother.

I was not concerned that my baby doll be diapered or fed, only that her hair be shampooed and cut regularly with scissors until she was bald. This lack of nurturing was another sign that I was not born maternal.

My brother-in-law gave me a Chatty Cathy doll which talked non-stop when you pulled a string in the back of her neck. I enjoyed our conversations and came to view her as an equal. Mothers know better than that.

Instead of baby dolls, I was enthralled with Barbie whom I dressed in fabulous clothes and gorgeous high heels. My Barbie lived in a two-story house with a pool, drove a convertible Corvette and lived a jet-setting life as a glamorous career woman. My Barbie was both beautiful and smart and refused to marry Ken. She also didn’t want to have children. Wonder where she got that idea?

At least I’m smart enough to realize that God didn’t put me on this earth to bear forth fruit. It’s not a shame to not have children if you weren’t born maternal. But it is a tragedy to have them if you don’t have that maternal instinct. If you never played with baby dolls, that is probably your first clue.

Though I don’t have children, I still have enough awareness to appreciate the many wonderful mothers on this earth, including my own. I most admire the women who work and raise a family, especially the mothers who are bringing up children without the financial and emotional support of the fathers.

A while back, I flew home from a business trip then had to leave again two days later. I had a short time to do a lot at home when Dixie Dew got sick. Though I didn’t have the time to spare, I had to load her up and take her to the vet.

“Boy,” I thought to myself. “What if I had children and had to deal with things like this all the time?”

I can’t fathom how much effort that would take.

Working mothers, though, don’t have a choice. When duty calls, they have to leave one duty and go to another. It’s a constant struggle. I don’t know why more working mothers don’t have nervous breakdowns. It is an incredible load they bear.

A couple of years ago, a friend, who had made a large fortune in the business world, was complaining over how much his divorce settlement was going to cost him.

“She doesn’t deserve 50 percent,” he railed. “She hasn’t worked one day in her life. She’s had the luxury of staying home to raise our two girls and still got to live in a million-dollar house and drive a new Mercedes. If anything, she’s made it harder for me to earn a living because she’s been so argumentative. She’s tortured me for 20 years.”

The jury agreed and she got less but still got more than most working mothers will ever earn in a lifetime of flipping pancakes at 7 a.m., dropping the kids off at 8 and settling into her office at 8:30 to deal with the demands of a job. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

But come to think about it, you can’t put a true value on a working mom.

She’s priceless.

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