Taking pride in your mum is a wonderful thing. I experienced it myself several times, while my mum drove in the absence of my father, or when I gazed at her happy face when she received flowers from her students on teacher’s day.
I felt like by all of these, my mother was doing something to make a difference in the world. She might be just a drop in the ocean when it comes down to closing the gender gap, but she was adding something to that path for sure.
Turns out, I wasn’t that wrong after all, considering that a recent study from Harvard Business School found that women whose mothers worked earn 23 percent more than women whose mothers didn’t. And men whose mothers worked spent more time helping out at home.
The researchers stated that growing up with a working mother – even if she is working in part-time jobs – is an ideal way to narrow the gender gap.
I might as well have considered working for Harvard while being a 12-year-old having these kinds of thoughts (which had no data to back them up, after all). However, I do work currently, and I feel like all the realization I have had on life and its complexity came from seeing my mum deal with the struggle of managing work-life balance every single day. And I am sure that girls who grew up with working mums can relate.
These are some of the best qualities she cultivated in me – for which I can never thank her enough.
What Working Moms Teach Their Kids
I was the oldest child, which means I got to see my mum handling everything on her own for a long time. That was until my legs grew long enough to take me to school and my arms long enough to reach for the dishes. She would wake up so, so early, put me first in her daily schedule, make a thick dwarf out of me with all those scarves, take me to school, and then drive herself to work. This rarely happened on time, as my desire to linger in my jammies was very repetitive.
I watched her come back from work, barely having the time to switch clothes, as she would start preparing dinner, engage in my homework, and move on to (compensating) work that she left off because she had to pay for my ballet classes. But time to time, she would stop and cuddle with my father while sipping a glass of wine, with all the grace of the world.
It’s as if those hands were the most fragile and that head of hers had rested enough to just immerse in the present moment. She was strong, she liked dynamics, and I simply loved seeing that image of her transmit through my eyes as I empowered my own being.
As we grew up, we never really realized how some little chores we were left home with became some significant factors in shaping our personas. My siblings and I became partners in crime. Yes, we would do the mess, but we would also do the cleaning. Otherwise, some serious preaching would be going on, so we always went for the first option.
We ironed, did our homework, became our own therapists, or gave advice to one another. Emotionally, we became slightly more immune, and we could figure stuff out on our own. Sometimes mum would simply remain seated on the couch, laughing at our cute skills to bake a birthday cake – skills she never realized we’d gained.
Except from making a huge difference in the way boys contribute to the house, working mums also foster empathy in their little girls. Personally, I tried to do everything possible to ease my mother’s work for when she got back home, because I could feel her tiredness in my own veins. But I also understood when my teacher left in the middle of the class because her child was sick or when my co-worker, who is now a mum to two sweet toddlers, experiences a mental breakdown.
Sure, it’s human nature to feel sorry. But to feel empathy, it’s something more profound. You feel the pain yourself, and you walk in the shoes of that person who is complaining about a particular situation.
Sometimes you become even more emotional than the person whose pain you’re empathizing with and can seem like a weirdo. So thanks, mum! I will blame my hypersensitivity on you, but in a good way.
Appreciating Quality Time
A Journal of Marriage and Family 2015 study indicated that whether you work outside the home or not, kids tend to spend the same amount of time with their moms. The difference was the quality of the time spent together. I can strongly affirm this.
The dedication my mother had toward our time together was inspiring.It’s like she was trying to make every second count, catching up, spoiling you,bothering you with countless questions, but overall trying to compensate for the hours during which she wasn’t able to show her affection.
Needless to say , this compassion of hers has passed on to me, and once I am off work, I try to spend as much time as possible with my loved ones,updating and sharing.
Mothers are our role models. Whether we like it or not, we often tend to end up in similar situations with them as we grow older, and the question that pops into our heads instinctively is: What would mum do? So we hit her up with a call and whine about our problems.
Working mums inspire us through their journey, and they so often prove people wrong about their judgments on work-life balance.