A Hybrid Motherhood

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“They’re only little once.”

My son was almost six-months-old when my grandmother decided to offer me unsolicited career advice. I’d be lying if I said the thought had not crossed my mind. Return to the working world or continue as a stay-at-home mother?

I considered my two graduate degrees, sure, but ever since the wee hours of a July morning back in 2013, life had dramatically changed. I was a mother now. And yet, a longing lingered in me to make a difference, no matter how small, outside of the home.

In the months that followed, I submitted numerous applications and accepted the only job I didn’t actually seek out. Quite simply, I knew it would allow me to be a hybrid mother.

For nearly four months out of the year, I am a mom who is free of employment responsibilities. I travel, I run, and I most certainly don’t set the alarm. My days begin and end with my children without the job stress in between. For all the highs that it brings me, I am more physically exhausted, but it has given me a deep appreciation for those parents who serve their children without end. You really are the heroes among us.

When I am not covered in sunscreen, sweat, and spray (the insect kind), I am committed to encouraging young minds in the college classroom while still, of course, prioritizing my little ones. The sleep is scarce, but the very act of exercising my scholar self keeps me young (even if only in my mind). I eat far too much chocolate, and my students hear things they probably don’t care to know (e.g. how long it takes to extract a raisin from a toddler’s nose), but the organic reciprocal learning is enough to fuel my days.

Every year, it seems some CEO or high-powered executive has written a book professing a new path for motherhood – a way for women to make their kids well-adjusted geniuses without compromising their brilliant careers. Well, my opinion in the debate is this: I think every mother should get to experience both sides, if they so desire. I have met far too many mothers who have either mourned the loss of their professional selves or, in my grandmother’s case, their children’s early years. The grass is always greener from a distance. And maybe a balanced perspective is not only helpful, but essential for finding our path to contentment.

I understand that most mothers who value sanity would not choose a hybrid motherhood. The transition between seasons is difficult, and the entire endeavor requires a willing and patient partner.

But at the end of the day, no matter how much rest or professional gain has been lost, I think of my children and smile. They are little but once, and I get to watch them grow.

::today’s daily inspiration::

20 thoughts on “A Hybrid Motherhood

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! This past semester I taught my first online class, and the flexibility was wonderful. I still prefer the traditional classroom, but it really is a gift to make my own decisions with regards to time management.

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  1. I have had three careers, and am working on my fourth. What I’m learning is that there is life after children, but i’m glad I stayed home most of their early years. I did some substitute teaching, but wouldn’t go full-time until they were older–youngest was 10, oldest was 17, two in the middle. I’m almost 69 now, enjoying my third career, realizing that there is always more to learn, more to do, more to enjoy. Best of all worlds.

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  2. The Daytime Renegade

    FANTASTIC post. My wife struggles with this, but luckily since our son was born she’s been able to work three days a week.

    Your point about wanting a CHOICE is spot-on and sorely missed in a lot of debate nowadays. That’s what a lot of third-wave feminists get wrong about their own movement’s previous iterations. Instead of denigrating women who want to raise families, we should recognize that every woman–and every mother–should be free to choose without any shame from society. This is America, dammit!

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    1. Absolutely. I recently read a NY Times piece about Hillary Clinton, and the author argued that although the women’s movement may have freed women from the home, we often feel just as chained to our jobs. Choice without judgment – ah, what a dream!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Daytime Renegade

        “Choice without judgment.” I thought that was always the goal.

        I mean, there’s judgment for everybody who does anything…it’s just a question of degree. As long as no LEGAL obstacles exist, let the haters hate.

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  3. Agreed….I am blessed to own my own business and have the ability to work at home PT, and at my office PT. It’s all about balance, I believe. I think women who work at home FT are absolute saints.

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    1. That’s wonderful that you have also found a way to work and still be “mom”. Flexibility really forced me to be picky when I returned to the working world, but the freedom I have to care for my children is worth it. Thank you for your thoughts!

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  4. likethelamp

    I am so glad I found your blog (from the daily prompt page). This post was comforting to me. I have never heard the phrase ‘hybrid mom’ and I love it! I loved what another hybrid mom said and will quote it here as it echoes my own thoughts on the subject: ” ‘Family’ is about respect, equal contribution and communication – it is a place to belong and be able to be one’s self.
    My life outside of work is about home and all that that means – vivid, rich and challenging as it may be. It keeps me in balance. And guarantees robust debate – what a ride.” -Naomi Simpson

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    1. Thank you for sharing! I am so glad you enjoyed the post. I think more women need to be encouraged that they can have a career without feeling that they have to sacrifice their motherhood in the process. Too often the prevailing culture tells us we have to be on one side of the extreme!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I (the non-mummy half of Fickle Things) loved reading your post. It was really thoughtful, balanced and perfectly addresses the difficulty that many women have, trying to be superwomen, excelling at work and at home. Personally, I’m sitting on the fence with regard to having children, as I don’t want to give up my career development!

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  6. Pingback: The Baby Doll Effect – Unlearning

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