Motherhood is a career

Motherhood is hard work. It’s difficult but it’s the most rewarding job I have. I don’t think you can even label it as a job. Is it a vocation? Is it a calling? It’s definitely more than just a title or a name. I suppose it can best be defined as that connection between offspring and kin — mother and son, mother and daughter. To mother is to nurture, to nourish and to provide the best that you can for your child.

Kulitan moments
I’ve always been dedicated to my career. I know I’m a hard worker, responsible and reliable. Great mentors have been key in shaping the skill and discipline I’ve honed over the years. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you get with your job. There have been peaks and valleys, but along the way I learned how to navigate through the rat race.

Then motherhood came. How glorious it is to hold a son close to your chest, to get lost in his look of wonder and curiosity. I’ve never felt so needed. I’ve never felt such demand for responsibility. I’ve never felt so scared. I got the son I wished for, and it was time for me to learn the ropes and be the best mother I could be.

Balancing a career and motherhood is no joke. As my mother told me, “Motherhood is a career.” There is so much truth to that.

Let’s talk budgeting. With the same amount of money, how could I fit in another head into the budget? Diapers, baby food, baby clothes, baby wipes, oh my! Then, there’s time management. If the baby is napping, can I nap too? A lot of people have advised me to catch up on much-needed sleep while the baby is sleeping. Honestly, that never worked for me. It is when the baby is asleep that I get to organize his things and catch up on chores.

When I went back to work, I was confident I could manage being a working mom. That confidence unraveled easily as the fervor I put into my day job declined as the guilt of not being able to take care of my son at home increased. When I’d get home from work, my family would rave about the baby milestones I had missed during the day. There were many little things that added up. Each one gnawed at me so much my heart ached and I would cry almost every time the baby was asleep.

What the hell was I doing? Couldn’t I just leave my career behind and concentrate on full-time motherhood? This was a debate that tugged my insides violently. It would ease when I’d talk to fellow working mothers and feel their sympathy. At least I wasn’t alone. At least others understood. At the end of the day, though, my baby only had one mother. It was this emotionally-wrecked, guilt-ridden, puffy-eyed woman, putting on her work clothes each morning with such heaviness and remorse.

While I was ready to leave my career behind, reality was keeping things in check. I needed to work to build my son’s future. Vaccines don’t come cheap. Tuition fees are rising. The stability of my son’s tomorrow rests in his parents’ capacity to build it today. Reality checks have a way of pulling you away from your dreams. However, it also has a way of giving you perspective and channeling your energy towards other dreams. When you’re a parent, your dreams take a back seat to ensuring that your child is empowered to achieve his.

Will it ever get easier? I wonder. I don’t know. Today, I know for sure that I am thankful. Yes, everything you may have read may have sounded like a litany of complaints. When viewed from a different angle, though, it could also be a note of thanksgiving. I am thankful for my job, which is empowering me to fuel my son’s future. I am thankful for the members of my family, who watch over my baby when work calls. I am thankful for my mommy friends, who give me strength and hope through their own examples.

Motherhood is my number one job. My son is my number one client. This is a tough career but most gratifying. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but today I will be the best Mommy I can be. It goes back to taking things a day at a time without losing sight of the future. It could be a complicated balance, but when my son flashes his bright-eyed, gummy smile and calls me “INANAY” it doesn’t feel so complex after all.