Today, I am crazed at work. I'm trying to jam a full day into a half day because the public schools let out early. Still, even in my crazed state, I enjoy trying to find the balance between work and family. Which is why last night I found myself fascinated by storyline for Brooke Shields' character in NBC's Lipstick Jungle. Last week, her character, Wendy, a high-powered movie studio executive, was fired from her job. This week, she tried to cope with being home and having time on her hands after years of spending most of her time at work. She whips up a huge stack of pancakes that no one but herself has time to eat. I know women who are going through this same adjustment after being laid off. What if I, like Wendy, found myself no longer a "working" mom? I think I would react just like Wendy -- shell shocked.
I think Marissa Thalberg hits it head on with this comment on her Executive Mom blog. Thalberg tells her own story of going from senior executive to not having a job at all when her company files Chapter 11. She writes: "It’s hard not to face it with a certain sense of incredulity that comes to those who have felt buffered by their talent and sense of company worth."
Thalberg goes on to say, "I realize how much I love taking my daughter to school every morning…but then I realize how much I want to be taking her to school all dressed up and ready to go off with a sense of career purpose from there. I realize how much I do indeed define myself both by being a professional and by being a mother. I miss the stimulation, the challenge, even the pace and pressure of the insane amount needed to get done that I often would (and expect will again) bemoan. And, there is the small matter of our mortgage needing to be paid. I’m struck anew by the results of the very first survey we fielded, in which 70% of the women we asked said they work BOTH because they want to emotionally and need to financially. Being an "executive mom" isn’t just derived from a set of circumstances… it is more of an innate state of being, for many women, including me."
So what if suddenly, you no longer were a "working mom." Would you enjoy the time off with your family (even for a brief time) or feel a desperate need to find a new job or career? Would you feel intimated trying to mingle more with stay-at-home mothers? Are you going through this experience right now?