I'll Never Be The Crossing Guard Mom.

In case you didn’t know, March is apparently “Women’s History Month.” It’s nice to have official recognition for the contributions we women have made to American history. Of course, I knew nothing of this nod to our historic Girl Power until my son brought home a flier from school inviting moms to come in and talk about their careers during the month of March.

 

I immediately seized on the idea of being my son’s “Show and Tell.” For all of the times Jonah has begged me to be Crossing Guard Mom and Recess Mom and Cafeteria Mom and I haven’t been able to or frankly interested in skipping work to monitor kids during Dodge Ball – now I could officially and proudly be Career Mom.

 

I emailed Jonah’s first grade teacher, Ms. Mehl, my thoughts and a little lesson plan for my debut. In honor of Women’s History Month, I felt I owed it to my fellow sisters who came before me to create an appropriate and engaging presentation. In other words, I should create a fun project to do…preferably involving candy.

 

Ms. Mehl asked Jonah to introduce me to his class. My very shy son, hid almost underneath my armpit, twirling the bottom of my cashmere turtleneck when he quietly said to his class, “this is my mom.”

 

And so it began. I talked about my career as a journalist, what we do and how and why we report on stories and people. For our project, I decided that the class should interview Ms. Mehl. In between learning about Ms. Mehl’s favorite foods, sports and books, she also told the class that she loved her job as a teacher almost as much as she loved being a mommy to her three kids. Ms. Mehl was perfect – we were both on message.

 

I was able to use my bully pulpit – sitting on a tiny desk – to tell the kids about the historic nature of the Democratic presidential primary race between the country’s first female and first African American candidates. Of course, Hillary folded beautifully into the Women’s History Month agenda and I explained the importance of reporters doing their due diligence to report on the candidates. It was fantastic to see that every child in the class knew who both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were. I didn’t mention McCain….he’s not a woman or a Democrat…no need to acknowledge him

 

Interestingly, even though many moms in Jonah’s class work, I was only one of three who came in to speak. I can appreciate that if you’re a corporate lawyer or an accountant or an administrative assistant, getting six and seven year olds to appreciate your career can be tough. Kids love to hear about entertainment, television and famous people so I fared well. But what I was reminded of again after leaving the class and having several kids say that maybe they would be journalists when they grew up, was that by being a Stay-at-Work Mom (whatever your career, assuming that it’s legal) you are acting as a role model for your children.

 

Catalina88
09.08.08

[reply to the ob gyn mom] That's outrageous! Did you still go in?

Catalina88
09.08.08

Way to go mom! I want my kids to be proud of me too. They are only three (twins) but I already explain to them as often as possible what I do, and why, not just that 'we need money' but, the larger reasons (um, like I'm good at it!). Same as for their dad. Not to say I wouldn't be proud to be a SAHM but that wasn't my path.

LovinLife
04.02.08

(sniff sniff)... A lovely reminder to all working moms that every hour we put in at home and at work is not overlooked by our little ones. I want to impart a certain optimism to my children that they can change the world, and to know that I can impress this by my own personal example leaves me starting my day off with a good cry. Thank you for reminding us all, lest we doubt!

momdoc
04.02.08

This reminds me of when my son was in nursery school and they had a community helpers series. I volunteered to go in but because I am an obgyn I thought I'd better talk to the teacher first about what I was going to say. In her fifties and clearly having stayed home with her kids, the teacher said to me "you can tell them about how Dan's life is different from theirs because when he gets home from school his mom isn't there." Dan is getting ready for college now, and I am almost able to tell the story without seething. Another facet of women's history.

actionjackson03
04.02.08

Cool story! I can't wait to be the Career Mom in my daughter's class someday.

CEO
04.01.08

Wendy -- you are a fantastic writer and clearly a wonderful mom. 

spunkymommy
03.31.08

This is wonderful - a fitting contribution and one to be proud of, for sure. Jonah is silently smiling. How great to interview the teacher!?