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Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Working It

Tina Fey, one of my favorite celebs, is pregnant with her second child (she already has daughter Alice, 5 yrs old).  According to an interview that she did with Oprah (airing April 12 - mental note, set DVR), Tina is five months along and she debated for a long time about having another child.  Right now she is also promoting her new memoir Bossypants, which I am dying to read (in my spare time?).  In her book she talks about the struggle with a work vs. family balance and turning 40 in Hollywood.  I love Tina's down to earth take on things -- she always seems relatable. 

Work vs. Family is the hot topic for working moms.  One of the most difficult things that a mom can face is how to develop her career while still growing and participating fully in her family.  When I was in law school, I was "advised" by the graduating students as to what firms were baby friendly and which were not.  I have even worked at a firm where a partner told an associate that she shouldn't have kids until after she made partner.  It was understood that you did not get on or stay on partnership track if you planned on being a mom.  How could you possibly keep up the demanding hours while pregnant or a new mom?  Was missing tons of your child's events worth it?  As a naive and ambitious law student I thought that would never actually apply to me.  I mean, I knew that I would have children someday, but it felt far away and my biological clock wasn't shouting at me yet.

Over time, my perception of the practice of law changed, my goals shifted and I figured out that, hell, I didn't even really want to be a partner -- at least not at a firm that didn't support family life.  This revelation came before I even had a child.  After leaving a very depressing and toxic workplace and reevaluating my desires for my career, I landed in an amazing job, with a great company that I love working for.  My co-workers welcomed Cameron into the world with the same enthusiasm as family and I have been able to maintain a flexible and realistic schedule.  I am incredibly thankful for where I am now.  But, the issue never goes away.  Not all mothers work for companies that "get it."  America hasn't caught up with the rest of the developed world and doesn't offer adequate maternity leave or benefits for working mothers.  Families just aren't supported by our society as they should be.  There is always the question of what the mother is willing to give up -- time with family or career opportunities.

I get Tina's debate about having a second child and the impact that may have on her career.  When a young woman tells me that she is thinking about going to law school, I always tell her to really think about what she wants out of her law career and why she is doing it.  If you want to be a lawyer and continue to be a lawyer for years,you have to keep practicing...you can't enter the field and expect to go part-time within a year or two or leave for years to raise babies and come back seamlessly.  Although I love what I do, I sometimes wish I had gotten to see what reality looks like for a full-time working mom with a demanding career. 

The work vs. family issue is not going away and it is something that tons of mothers grapple with.  Tina just happens to be in the spotlight.  I am glad that she made the decision to have another child at 40, despite the fact that it could impact movie roles and job opportunities (which is an entirely different issue!).  Her rationale -- "What's so great about work anyway?  Work won't visit you when you're old.  Work won't drive you to get mammogram and take you out after for soup."  So true.  
Congratulations Tina!

1 comment:

  1. Amen! 1 to 2 is hard. I never thought I'd like being a stay at home mom. Now see a bit of the differences between stay at home and working. It's all about guilt and how you manage it. when working I managed the guilt of not being there for every moment. Now that I am home, I manage the guilt of not using my education and not helping provide monetarily for the family. Anyway you look at it...its hard! No one told me about that guilt. Just gotta do whats best with what you have!

    Cameron needs a sibling! :-) just sayin!