I'm going to admit the thing that working moms aren't supposed to admit. The thing that many of us feel, but feel guilty saying out loud because it somehow makes us look … selfish, or like less-than-perfect mothers (insert eyeroll emoji here).
I love my job.
I've been doing it for more than 20 years, so I may not love it all day every day, but overwhelmingly, I love it.
I love the people I work with.
I love that I'm valued and appreciated here.
I love that I have my own creative outlet.
I love that I work in a really cool office space.
I love that my agency's culture is fun and inspiring.
And I love that I don't feel guilty about it.
But most importantly … my two daughters see that I love my job.
From a very early age I've brought them into the agency with me, sometimes out of necessity but way more often because they beg me to come. Sure, it may be the lure of free snacks, unfettered access to AR equipment, and liability-laden hoverboards stationed around the office. But honestly, I think it's that they're as proud of my job as I am. And the hoverboards.
When they were younger, they would emulate me, asking to help on whatever campaign I was working on. I'm a copywriter, so sadly, their rudimentary marker comps were often better than anything I could ever draw. The point is, I made a conscious effort to engage them in the work I'm passionate about.
We often talk about modeling good behavior as parents. Shouldn't that apply to our attitudes about work? I want my kids to see firsthand that work can and should be something to look forward to, and that it's worth investing your time and talent into something you really enjoy.
I've certainly had to make some hard choices in my 15 years as a working mom in advertising. Many times I've chosen my job over my family (e.g., every single new business pitch). But sometimes it's the other way around.
But it's much easier to justify my long nights, weekends and trips away when my family knows I'm doing something I love, and wants to share it with me. They genuinely get excited when I'm off shooting a new spot. They actually want to hear how the pitch went. As a mother of a teenage girl, anytime she engages me about something other than herself, I feel like mother of the friggin' year.
In the not-too-distant future, my girls will enter the workforce, and the last thing I want for them is to dread it. I often tell them that I feel genuinely bad for people who hate their jobs, because if you're going to invest 40 or 50 hours a week of your life into something, make it something you like doing. Life is too short to hate what you do day in and day out. I've been in that horrible, soul-sucking position (see: technical recruiter job description).
I just had the good sense not to stay in it.
I doubt either of my daughters will pursue a career in advertising, and that's fine. It's not about them loving what I do. It's about them loving what they do, knowing that they deserve to be happy at work, and not settle for anything less. Including hoverboards.