Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Mommy Effect

It was a few years ago that I found myself at the end of a long-term relationship. 

One I had rehearsed out in my mind and was sure of how the ending and happily-ever-after would play out. 

A large part of that story consisted of a sparkly ring and a passle of babies

But that story and it's ending has nothing to do with today's's simply the setup. 

Because you see at the end of that story, the things I thought I wanted changed drastically. Mommyhood and pacifiers were packed away and were replaced with dreams of a briefcase and power suit. Instead of being the next Betty Crocker, I would be the next up-and-comer. Instead of being on top of the laundry, I'd be on top of the game. And instead of being a trophy wife, I'd be the trophy rookie on the team.
Power Suit

And when I landed my dream job....those desires were set on fire. And still are. I love the thrill of a busy workday. The satisfaction of a hard day's (and sometimes a hard night's) work. Of problem solving and goal setting and reports and results.    

But lately...I feel the stirrings of the past too. And starting to think that maybe the dream of mommyhood wasn't totallllly packed away. That maybe there's room for a few burp cloths and onesies next to my stockings and heels. (Mind you.....this is all after I make room for some ties and loafers in the closet!!) 

But it leaves me with the time-old paradox of "Can you have it all?!"
 Can you have both?! 
Have it All

Can you be a successful businesswoman and still have influential and close relationships with your children? 

What do you think working moms? 
Stay at home moms?
Moms to be?
And future moms to be? 

Today we'll call it an "open forum"....because I want to hear your thoughts on the Mommy Effect!


PrettyPhysicist said...

I promise you - I will have it all. I have no desire to give up working. I love working. I actually love what I do (just not necessarily who I work with). But I also want a baby or two. You can have it all too. :) Love you!

FourJedis said...

I feel like I have it all. I have been with my company I work for 10.5 years (and have been a mom for 5.5). This job was my first interview out of college. Besides it being incredibly comfy with two incomes, I love being a business professional. I have 2 close friends who have careers and the rest of my friends are stay-at-home moms. I feel as close to my children as they seem. I do work out of my home (since I busted my behind for so long - once we moved they said to keep the job and just work remotely), although one kiddo is in kindergarten and the other is in daycare from 7-2:30. While I love my children more than I've ever known how to love, it's really refreshing and a great recharge to have several hours a day of rigorous brain stimulation. The first few days after maternity leave are brutal but once you get over the first few weeks/months of being a new working mom, it's quite refreshing. So are there any baby daddies in the picture yet?

Whitney @ Everything Happens For a Reason said...

I think you can have it all, if that's what you want. You can make it happen!

I have been in the workforce for about 10 years. (I started working at age 16). I hate working. Always have.

I used to not want to be a stay at home mom, but over the past two years, I do. I can't stand working for people that are less qualified than me, but still over me, I realize that's life, but i still hate working for other people. Even though I have my master's degree, I don't really want to use it. I mean, given the opportunity, I will take it. However, my DREAM is to grow my photography business, where I don't have to work a second job. That way, I can do a job I love and be my own boss. Plus, when I do have kids, I'll still be able to stay home and have my business.

Rissy said...

Well can I start of by saying I feel like you could/should write a book one day... Next Emily Giffin anyone?

And to answer your question, I don't know lol but I do know that right now I'd have absolutely no time for kids.... But when they come I expect I'll have an awesome partner and that's the whole point right? ; )

Angel said...

Oh my gosh i looove this post. You know how i feel about this. I TOTALLY think you can have it all. But it takes a good balance. I don't think moms should dump their kids in day care allll day long but i also know that homeschooling and stay-at-home-mommying is SO not for everybody. I really think it depends on the person and situation. I mean obviously some moms have to work but I just think it should be done in discretion to where you're not ignoring munchkins at home and depending on public schools and babysitters to parent them. But i haaate the idea that a college degree would be wasted. I am not spending 14 years in medical school and residencies just to get married and have children. I know, so rebellious ;)
And OF COURSE everyone should go to college. Where the crazy idea that one can survive in the tiny town of Beaufort and meet their one true love by sitting at home taking care of siblings, I have no idea. But that's a different argument.... kind of haha.
Okay this is getting repetitive. But i know you know my strong-willed opinion! Haha.

I love you! I'll talk to you when i get home and happy early birthday:)

Shannon said...


I'm a CPA and a pretty powerful business woman for a fortune 500 company.

But I'm also a mama to the adorable little Taylor we see so many pictures of.

I love that I'm a working mama. My job brings me so much satisfaction and my daughter brings me eternal joy. Oh, and my husband is kind of a hunk too.

Yup - you can have it all. :) :)

Katie said...'re speaking right to my heart today girl. I struggle with this SO much. I feel guilty sometimes that I have such a desire to work and be really successful...instead of not getting my degree and staying home to mommy. And other days I feel guilty for wanting to have kids and be able to spend time with them when I just got this {rather pricey!} degree. Kind of like being pulled in two directions. And I'm right at the point where we {basically I} have to make some kind of decision. Its weird and awkward and hard and leaves me full of guilt. If you find the balance of it all...teach me!! :)

Jenna said...

YES! I think it's definitely possible! There have actually been studies that show that children will working moms grow up to be just as well adjusted as those with stay at home moms. The important part is the quality of the relationship not the quantity :)


arianapia said...

i feel like we might be the same person! the same thing happened to me. while i was in my relationship, all i could think about was being a mom. when that didn't happen and it ended, i got my career on track. i am successful at what i do and i work really hard.

sometimes i find hard to even think about trying to make room for ties and loafers. do i have time to devote to that? how do i get myself out there?

there is hope! my boss (a completely successful business woman) has 3 kids and they love her to pieces. she has the amazing husband, who also works. she has it all. and i look up to her in hopes i will have it all too!

you are not alone!!

Stephanie said...

It all depends on your personality, and what you want when that time comes. You never know how that precious baby will change your outlook on life. I love my job and my career. I love that I can be 100% career woman during the day (and interact with adults) and 100% mom in the evenings and weekends. If I were a SAHM, I would only be 50% mom. I'd get bored and talk on the phone and play on the internet while my kid watched TV. It's quality time, not quantity that's important!

KatyK said...

Why not? I stayed at home with Boomer for 18 mos...and I was going stir crazy. I just recently landed my dream job in an industry I worked very hard to break into...and I actually have MORE time to give to her. I think being a good parent means you need to be happy too. I've done both and Id never give back the time I spent at home with her, but I LOVE my job. My mom also did both. She had an AMAZING successful career. After she was disabled my 'rents adopted me and she 'stayed home' for the next 18 years. I say in in parentheses because this chick also obtained two advanced degrees and started her own business. She rocks. So follow your heart and do you Ma!

Bethany Scruggs said...

OH how I love this post. I was the opposite of you.. I wanted the career and not the kids.. now that I am married I am reversed. I hate to say it but, no, I don't think you can have it all. How are you going to make your daughters dance recital when you have to stay late going over documents? Or your sons baseball game when you're office meeting runs over? Unfortunately, I feel like missing out on those things doesn't make you a mother at all.. it simply means you gave birth. I choose making memories with my children instead of sitting in an office flipping through photos that I was not there to take. :/ Let me know if you ever find the answer!

The Neal's said...

I'm in scrubs everyday as opposed to a business suit and heels, but I consider myself extremely blessed to be able to work at a job I absolutely love and still have time for my baby girl. You don't have to be a stay at home mom to be a good mom. Although I've toyed with the idea of wanting to stay home with Ellasyn, I honestly think that me working and having "mommy time" and an outlet helps to make me a better Mom. You can have it all and I pray that you find a man who will give you everything you deserve :)

Sarah said...

It's scary to think about how just a couple of years ago I was ready to just throw it all away and settle down and pop out some The thought creeps me out now but I think that happens when you're in a long term relationship. There's nothing wrong with that, but where I am at this point in my life, I'm so thankful that things didn't go according to plan.

Now, I'm not lucky enough to have my dream job like you, but I'm working on it :) So if I ever do land it, then I will definitely want to work and have kids. But if not, then I'm totally happy being a stay at home mom. :)

Sami said...

I watched my Mom do it.. with the help of my Dad of course and she was a Rockstar. It wasn't always easy but I think if you want it bad enough, you can make anything a reality! I think you can do anything girl :) Now find that man and pop out some babies because yours are going to be GORGEOUS!

Chelsea said...

I think it all depends on what each woman/partnership wants. I think it's important to figure that out early on in a relationship. Some men do want their wives to stay home and some women couldn't event entertain the idea of being a stay-at-home mom.

I'm still figuring out what I want to do. Being there for my kids will always be my priority. I'm taking the time now to work at accomplishing my dreams before anyone else becomes a part of my day-to-day life. Maybe then, I'll have created a solid foundation with the career I've dreamt of and can balance being a mom and wife with living my career dreams :)

Ashley said...

Most definitely! Although (this is going to sound harsh - I don't mean it to at all) I feel Canadians have it easier bonding with their the first year. We are so blessed to have a year off with the combined Maternity and Parental leave - paid. The minimum is 55% of your pay, however depending on where you work that can increase to 100%.

After being off for a year, spending time with your newborn - you are able to go back to your job and have the best of both worlds. I'm not saying Americans can't bond with their little ones as much, I'm just saying that it seems as though they make it so much easier up here. Which is why we are having a child while I'm still a citizen!

Aside from that - you of all people seem like you have the drive to make it all come together, a great balance between home/family and career. You made your dream job happen, you can make your dream combo happen ;-)

Alyssa said...

I feel like you can absolutely have it all. I say that because my mom is a working single mom and has been for years. We have the best relationship I could ever ask for. She knew how to balance work and me. She was my mother when I needed it and now that I'm an adult, she is really one of my best friends. Maybe it depends on the person and how well they can balance things but I definitely think if you want it all, you can absolutely make it happen!

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend Maria Shriver's book "Ten things I wish I'd known before I went out into the real world" My mom bought it for me when I graduated high school and over the past 7 years I have continued to learn from it. One of my favorite take-aways is that she says you CAN have it all, just not all at once. When I read that it hit me how true it is.

I hope this helps! :)

Heidi said...

I'm not a mom yet. Shoot, I don't even work, this moving every 3 months kind of makes that difficult. But I think you can have it all. And I think it depends on the individual what "all" is. Some moms don't want to go back to work, some do. I think if that's what you want. you make it work.

My old boss, also my husband's cousin (that's how we met) has owns a very successful stationery/cute paper company that she started when she was 25 (some of her items have been on Oprah'sf favorite things!) She never wanted kids, but one day her husband and her found out they were preggo, and then a year later found out again, and a year later again.... (they are either really fertile or just horn dogs) but she has figured out how to balance her successful career and be a great mom.

I think it also probably depends a whole lot on your husband. Because there has to be compromises somewhere in there.

I'll let you know when I get a kid...

Erin said...

I hope I can have it all one day. Right now, I'm with you girl.. I'm working hard in the corporate world and trying to advance as much as possible, because I love it! My hubs and I are working our butts off now in dream jobs and hope to start a family within a few years. I struggle now thinking that far ahead, beacuse although I LOVE kids and know I want them one day, it will be hard to juggle both worlds.

I know I'm leaving ZERO insight here, but just know you're not alone in wondering if you can do/have it all.

Raven said...

nothing wrong with being a trophy wife ;)

as for me? I will give you my honest opinion since you asked :) I think you can have it all, just not all at the same time. I am a stay at home mom, and I just imagine all the things I would be missing if I worked full time. I mean, I have friends who work 40+ hour weeks. They have to get up early, get their kids up early, take them to daycare (don't even get me started on that) and then they pick them up at what, 5:30 pm? 6 with traffic? And then what, they have TWO HOURS with their kids before bedtime?!?!??! Oh yeah, they also have to make the house a home and cook well balanced meals for their family, make their husband happy, and usually they end up super stressed and something gets neglected.

I could not IMAGINE only seeing my kids a few hours a day. And I have a hard enough time keeping the house clean and having well balanced dinners for my family even though I do stay home! If I worked, I would be a stressed out basket case. Good for NO ONE. I mean, when moms work that much, someone else is totally raising their child for the majority of the day! I think if women decide to have children, they need to RAISE them.

and thats my opinion. I think I stated it pretty nicely, no? :)

J and A said...

I like what Raven said... I love my job and can't imagine not having a job but my dream is to raise my own kids. But they are only home for so long, so I hope to enjoy that time as a SAHM but then when they are in school get back to my other passion... needs kids first though. ;)

shay said...

so here's my take... i don't think you can have it all 100%. but i hope there's a way to compromise between some of both things. the other thing to factor in is that some people don't have the financial freedom to be able to be a full-time sahm.

this is a topic i think about often as i work in a high level position in my career, and i've worked very hard to get to where i am. However, we're also actively trying to start a family. i'm hoping to cut my hours down a little bit and increase my working from home in order to be there more for my future family. i'm lucky to be in a field where i have flexibility like that, i know some people don't.

i flip flop between wanting to be a full time sahm and then giving up my career and financial independence... i think when the time comes, you'll make the right decision for you. its definitely hard to say unless you're doing it.

Aimee said...

I don't have kids yet but I go back and forth all of the time on what I would prefer. Some days I want to do both and have it all and other days I think I want to stay home. This is a bad question for me because I'm so indecisive so I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it :))

Ginger said...

Boy, what a can of worms this would be for people from my former church, as you know. I think you can; although in my case, since I am divorced, I had no choice, and I do think I missed out on a lot with my son growing up. Don't let anyone deter you from what you want or make you feel guilty for what you choose. That is YOUR decision, dear.

Britt said...

I don't think you can everything all the time. Relationships change, people change, your wants & needs change. I know when I got married at 24 to my hs sweetheart we had a clear path of where life was going to take us. It changed drastically. My hopes and dreams of starting a family sooner rather than later have been put on hold so he can achieve his. Some days I am fine with it, some days I'm not-it depends. You only get one life, enjoy it!

Lauren said...

I think there are opportunities out there that let you have the best of both worlds! ;)


Katie said...

I think it all depends on who you are and what you feel called to do. I don't think the same can apply for each person and everyone's circumstances, desires, etc. are different. I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom and hope I get the chance to do so. I've seen moms that work full time that have a great support system, are amazing moms and it works for them! I think you have to trust that God knows and will give you the opportunities to do what you're meant to do!

Young and Fabulous said...


you are one of those people that i KNOW can have it all. you are dedicated, hard working, sweet as pie, hilarious, inspirational, a great person inside and out, booootyful, caring, the list goes on and on! If you can be all those things and be such an amazing person, you CAN have it all! And you WILL!!

i think once its your time for settling down, you will know! You can totally have it all. I just love you ash! and you're words/writing are SO spectacular i can't even stand it :-)


PS. If you want to work, I can move to Atlanta and be your live-in nanny!!

Megan said...

I think I'm gonna have to agree with Raven on this can have it all, but not all at the same time. Although I definitely think it depends on everyone's life situations and such. My mom had to work a lot because she was divorced and I know it killed her to be away so much. She was lucky enough to have a job that would let her come and go during the day for our parties/trips/games/etc. I have a few friends who are SAHMs and a few who are career women and I definitely have noticed that the career moms seem to have a lot of guilt/fear about being away so much and having their babies in day care. I think it's natural for a mother to want to stay home with babies and I think our society pushes against that. I really don't think that the kids turn out any different/worse, but for me it's just more about being there all the time and being the primary caregiver. And I don't even have kids yet, so really, who even knows?! Haha.

Faith said...

I hope to have it all. I want it all. My mother was a SAHM but I wondered sometimes if she was bored. And I hate being bored.

I don't have children yet so maybe the boredom fear will disappear and I will want to stay at home. But until then I will have it all. A successful career and children :)

Loved this post!

P!nky said...

Great great post ashley! I concur that you 'can have it all, but not at once'. I believe you can be an amazing buisness ass kicking woman and then you can be an amazing ass kicking mom.

I was blessed to have a SAHM when I grew up and I've ALWAYS felt that I will have 'MADE IT' when I am the same.

I am not in my dream job so I don't have to worry about walking away, but I believe 100% even if I was I would give it up to be a SAHM, at least in the beginning. Maybe once kids are back in school go back, but early years, I want to be at home.

Very thougth provoking lady!


Shalyn said...

Awesome post Ash. You are such a good writer you know that? You my dear strike me as the type that will have it all. I agree with Raven though for the most part. My Dad hasn't ever really been in my life, so she had to work but I feel like she balanced it so well. I don't even have babies yet and I am always running on empty as it is so I can't even imagine. Yeah, I work two jobs, but the whole Mom thing seems like such a HUGE and rewarding job itself. I think you can have it all, but not all at the same time. Maybe like a 75/25 but not ever 100%. Love you tons.

Amber said...

I will admit, my mom did home daycare for a while, so she could stay home with us as kids and yet work. It worked well for us, but I think about all those kids who didn't see their parents, and I don't know.
I know there are lots of women that do it, some work 3rd shift to be home with the kiddos during the day, etc. I think if you can find a balance that works for you, then Yes, by all means, do both. But more often than not, it seems something has to give.
Me on the otherhand, call me selfish, but I am 28, in a long term relationship, and I am not sure if children will fit into my picture. I spoil my nephew and love him to no end, but my own... I don't know...
Hope you have a great day, and what a great post!!

All At Once said...

Having it all is not easy, but I definitely feel like I have it all. I was 20 years old, busting my ass through college with 19 units, when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. 4 years later, we are {beyond} happily married, 2 beautiful baby boys, and a full time career. Not to mention that I any about to enter my last semester of college. I am exhausted, there are often tears, but my husband is the force behind me. I was bartending when a CEO sought me out and asked me to come work for her company and within 6 months I was promoted to a management role. My point is that you can definitely have it all. I obsessively tell my babies that I love them and when I am not working, I devote my attention to my family. When I am at work, I bust my ass, but work stops when I get home. Go for it! There is always room for a few burp rags. :)

JMc said...

Yes, you can absolutely have it all. Not going to lie, it can be extremely hard sometimes. Somedays I dream of being a stay at home mom and other days I have it all perfectly balanced. I think a good work/life balance is important and I'm lucky to work for a company that understands that. It definitely helps.

Alice said...

It will be hard, but I believe you can have it all. The trick is knowing what it is you want. Figure out your priorities and make it work.

I've been both a SAHM and a working mom. I've been blessed to work for employers who understood that my family always comes first and allowed me to take time off as needed. They valued me enough to make those concessions. My husband is amazing and supportive. We make a great team. I work full time, coach my daughters cheer squad, team mom for my son's baseball team, team mom for my daughter's dance team and my husband's biggest fan. When you want something bad enough, you always find a way to make it work.