The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Lifestyles of working mothers both challenging and rewarding

The classic challenges of motherhood have nothing on these working moms
 TV networks remember Sept 11
TV networks remember Sept 11

Sasha Brown with 8-month-old son Brendan (by Jessie Webster)

12:34 a.m. A small blip of noise escapes from the monitor. A few seconds later, more blips. Soon, distinct cries can be heard. She sits up and prays, “Please, God, please let him go back down.” Her husband turns, his sleep disturbed by the now piercing wails. Suddenly, the yells stop. Her prayers have been answered.

3:16 a.m. More disturbances from the room next door. This time she speaks directly to the monitor, “Why? You aren’t hungry. You are just tired. Go back to sleep, please.” Somehow he got the message.

6:47 a.m. No monitor needed for these cries. She can tell something is wrong by the instant volume. She rises immediately from the comfort of her bed and rushes to the nursery, picks up her son, and comforts him. Now it is time to get ready for a full day of work. “Oh, joy,” she says.

 The woman is Sasha Brown of Dallas and she is the proud mother of 8-month-old Brendan. Her life is full of blissful happiness as well as exhausting trials. The above are my observations of a typical night. I know this because Brown is my cousin and I have seen her life first-hand.

To all who have not experienced life as a new mother, it may seem as foreign as the surface of another planet. A mother reading the tiny facial expressions and distinguishing between the barrage of squeaks and yelps can make navigating through a firewall look simple. So how is it possible for a person so small to make such a huge impact on the life of a family? As any new mother can tell you, once the baby comes, her life will never be same.

Jayita Poduval says in Working Mothers: How Much Working, How Much Mothers, And Where Is The Womanhood? for the Mens Sana Monographs mental health journal, “Along with motherhood, a successful career adds to the completeness of being a woman. The major stresses of being a working mother remain lack of time, and a feeling of guilt, due to perceived neglect of the parenting role. The rewards are many, including personal benefits, financial rewards, and improved family life.”

With over 8.5 million mothers in the United States alone, there is one thing that more and more mothers have in common besides a lack of sleep. Not only are they waiting longer to have children, but also more mothers are choosing to work full time outside the home than ever before.

Laura Sandars of Dallas is a licensed specialist in school psychology for the Coppell Independent School District. She is also the mother of Lena, a 7-month-old baby girl.

“[Lena] wakes up between three and five times at night so last night I was awake with her from 2 pm until 3:30 and then again at 5:30 a.m.,” Sandars said laughing. “I know this sounds cliché but … I’m tired.”

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sandars belongs to the 65.4 percent of married mothers who are working full time. Despite her exhaustion, Sandars defends her choice to stay in the workforce after motherhood.

“I definitely think knowing that I’m able to do double lives [makes me proud] and also just setting an example for her and showing her that education is important and helping others and giving back is important,” Sandars said. “I think in my job I get to show some of those things.”

Heather Merritt , also a school psychologist, of Dallas and mother of 18-month-old Landon may be over the first year hump, but her challenges are no smaller than those of a new mother.

“I definitely feel guilty sometimes about not being with him as much as other moms might who don’t work, but being with him all summer makes it more manageable,” said Merrit.

Despite these challenges, the overwhelming sentiment of these new working mothers seems to be content with their professional and family lives.

As Sandars put it, she loves being Lena’s mom, but work lets her still be herself and keep her social life.

The break from motherhood that their careers provide is both a blessing and a curse. While forced to spend more time away from their children, these moms are able to retain their personal identities and makes the time they do spend with their children more special.

“I am tired and exhausted but just seeing how excited he is when I pick him up [from daycare], it just seems to make it all worth it,” said Merritt.
 

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