Working motherhood: a love letter

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Two years ago today, I was waddling in circles in my neighborhood with a huge belly, hoping that either I would go into labor or pass out with enough exhaustion to finally get a good night’s rest.

Thankfully, Angela Rose Slim was born later that evening.

The two years since have been incredibly wonderful, action-filled, and at times, very challenging.

I have spent many hours looking into this computer screen.

For this reason, I dedicate this post to my baby girl.

For your patience, my sweet, you deserve attention.

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My dearest Angela:

When you were finally ready to see this world, you came in a fell swoop.  I barely made it to the hospital in time.

We were so amazed at your beautiful eyes, and sweet smile, and calm demeanor.

We held you and kissed you. We listened to the beat of your tiny heart as you slept, and felt your soft breath at our cheeks.

And we worked. Unlike with your brother Josh, who had unfettered attention for the first year of his life, you came to us at a time when both your Dad and I had a lot going on.

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So we worked around your schedule. You were comfortable rolling around the floor as we faxed documents to clients.  I wrote while you slept.  And always, you were a comfort, and a joy.

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Right after Christmas, things got interesting. I was approached by a publisher to write a book. Things moved quickly. We had deal by February.

The writing process itself is now a blur. I remember lots of late nights. In the last two months before my deadline, your Dad took you out to play on the weekends so I could write.

I missed you. Sometimes I would stare at the screen with tears in my eyes, thinking about you.

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But in this sacrifice, there was a divine spirit of creativity. I felt alive. I had a message to share. And I am glad I did it.

You seem to understand me. When I am tired, or stressed, or lack patience, you smile at me, in your calm and grounded way. You bring me back to my center. You reconnect me with love.

There are some other lessons you have taught me in your two years on earth:

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Treat fear with love.

Your life happened to coincide with a tremendous financial surge and crash. Your daddy’s business was hit hard, growing fast, and then dropping like a lead weight. All his hopes, joy, excitement in providing for his family were challenged by a lot of stress in finding new work. He hit the pavement every day before the sun came up, hopeful and optimistic. In the moments of fear, uncertainty and panic, your Dad got great satisfaction just sitting with you. Your mere presence was enough to calm him down and remind him that there is beauty all around us at all times, regardless of external circumstances.

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Work to learn.

Watching you grow and develop reminds me that everything that drives our growth as human beings is learning. Why should this stop when we get older? Finding interesting ways to learn, and enjoying the process, is at the root a happy and healthy life.

I am working and learning with you, not for you. You will find your work, and enjoy it too.

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Life is about connection.

The love, the teasing and the companionship you provide to your brothers is a great example of living with joy.

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We are each solely responsible for the happiness in our lives. And we all need each other.

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We do what we see.

You see your Mom at the computer quite a bit. So it is not surprising that you would copy my actions. For the record, I did not pull up Tim Ferriss’ site, you did that on your own.

Watching what you do, I see myself in the mirror. I want you to see me laughing and playing and eating healthy food and exercising. And working with great passion. I get great joy from my work, and I want you to see that as an example for your future career.

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Happy birthday Angela! We are so lucky to have you in our lives.

Love,

Mom

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34 Responses to “Working motherhood: a love letter”

  1. That was such a beautiful, heartfelt letter. I sometimes get so wrapped up in the work I have to do that I resent it when my clock shows it’s school pick-up time, instead of looking forward to spending some time with my children. So I have two of their most appealing pictures on my desk to remind me why I work.
    In that whole sometimes hostile debate between working mothers and stay-at-home mothers (and I’ve been both, so I really don’t understand why they are at daggers drawn), we sometimes forget that we both want the best for our kids and that this should also be a part of the feminist debate: how we feel about our children, how we want to spend time with them and yet also spend time away from them, how we need to be complete in ourselves in order to be the patient, creative, loving mothers that the future generation needs.
    Does that sound too pompous? Sorry, got carried away…
    More of this trumpeting stuff on my blog
    http://sandaionescu.wordpress.com

  2. Jacquelyn Kittredge says:

    Pam – what a heart-warming post. I especially like the part about how much comfort your husband found in his daughter during tough times. What a great reminder about the healing effects of love.

  3. Patty Lennon says:

    Pam – This is beautiful. It is so hard to be a mother and yet such an awesome gift. Happy Belated Bday to Angela, your little blessing.

  4. Jana says:

    How beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing that. My husband and I are trying to start a family (so far no luck *sigh*) and as an older, first time parent , I often think about what it will be like having both a career and a child. I’ve lived so long having my own time that sometimes I get scared when I think about how to balance it all. I did not grow up with a stay at home mom. My mother was a free spirit – in every way- and I used to blame her for my lack of boundaries growing up. Although I had my struggles, it was never about her and I’ve since learned how lucky I am as an adult to have her as a model and to this day we are still inseparable. I will always thank her for living in her truth, so I could find mine. Angela is lucky to have you, and you to have her.
    -jana
    .-= Jana´s last blog ..Keep on Moving =-.

  5. Sherold says:

    Pam – thank you for writing such a beautiful article about your daughter. What a nice tribute that is for her birthday. I’m sure you are a loving mother. You are a wise, loving, grounded life coach and a wonderful writer. Thank you for being authentic.

  6. Feliz cumpleanos, Angela!

  7. Tim says:

    Pam:

    Thanks for sharing this post and giving us a peak into your life. It is amazing how important our families are in supporting us in our work and the effect it has on our success and happiness.
    .-= Tim´s last blog ..Friendly Friday: Getting Spiritual =-.

  8. fas says:

    She is soooooooooooo cute, your lucky to have such a sweet baby.
    .-= fas´s last blog ..Increasing Website Audience =-.

  9. Susan says:

    Happy Birthday to the whole family! What a beautiful tribute! It’s evidence yet again, Pam, of your awareness and grounded spirit. Savor these days!

  10. Robyn Cobb says:

    Pam
    I really enjoyed the post. I think it’s so great that your daughter will be able to look back on this post years from now, and see for your herself in print how much her mom loves her. It’s a great gift!
    Also thank you for the work you do and the sacrifices you and your family make. I for one am someone who is inspired and motivated by it.
    Thanks again
    Robyn
    .-= Robyn Cobb´s last blog ..People really do matter to Chris Brogan =-.

  11. Happy birthday to all of you. I’ve found that’s what birthdays are in families – reminders of our lives together. My older daughter used to play, “Going to meetings” with her friends – they’d get dressed in business clothes and take pads and pretend they were in work meetings. What a hoot. At 25, in law school and determined to improve the world through politics, she takes her career as seriously as her mom did and loves every minute of it. The younger one decided not to pursue a career in fashion (wants something more useful to others she says) and is taking 2 years of tough post bac courses to go to vet school. A tough dream but she’s been taught that dreams are worth chasing.

    I’ve always been torn between competing priorities but I always knew that I by creating the life I love, I’d have more love to give and be the mom I wanted to be. From everything I’ve seen of you, I’m sure your kids are basking in that love.

  12. Debra Helwig says:

    Pam,

    You shine, and we bask in it.

    If our legacy on earth is to teach our children to live with passion and compassion, to create joy and encouragement and laughter in the lives of everyone we touch, you have already (this moment!) achieved the beautiful, enduring success that matters most. I can’t wait to see where your journey continues to take you – and to learn with you along the way.

    Many thanks for this beautiful, inspiring post. I have to go hug my baby now.

    Debra
    .-= Debra Helwig´s last blog ..The Need for Speed =-.

  13. Lynn Jericho says:

    Hi Pam,
    Motherhood is such a gift.
    My daughter is 31 today and expecting her first child in late February. Thea has been your client and we often share our responses to your posts. All my work during the her early childhood was inspired by her (and her younger brother) as I founded a birth center and a Waldorf School. Now at 61, I am still inspired by my kids.
    This time 31 years ago, I was just getting the urge to push!

  14. Elena says:

    Pam, my second child will be two in just two months. Reading this post brought tears to my eyes. You captured moments that I’ve also gone through but couldn’t put into words. The joys, the hopes, the challenges, the guilt and even some of the hilarity of working motherhood. Thanks for always providing us with food for thought.

    Elena
    .-= Elena´s last blog ..Interview with Marybeth Bond on Author PR and Oprah =-.

  15. Laurie says:

    Not a dry eye in my house tonight. So much healthy love all over this post!

    Angela Rose can look back on all of your posts and see an amazing, complete picture of her family at all stages of her life. What a gift.

    Love!
    Laurie, a.k.a. The Anti PR Cranky Pants
    .-= Laurie´s last blog ..It’s been two weeks, and all I’ve lost is two weeks. =-.

  16. Mark R says:

    Pam,

    Wonderful article. As my children were young, I was working late and selling insurance. As they grew the desk and car became my work signature. What a wonderful opportunity to be around while Angela is young and exploring. I miss the times I had with mine as they grew. As my oldest went to college this year, I felt like a part of me helped her get there. What more can be said, treasure your family! Your letter is a great reminder of what really matters as we “escape”.

    Mark
    .-= Mark R´s last blog ..Be Like Dave =-.

  17. Happy Birthday Angela and best wishes to your family.
    Pam, I know all to well the sacrifices that parents make at times. I used to be a Regional Director for the Nike Golf Learning Centers and either on the road, talking to my team on the phone, or plowing through budgets and reports on my computer. I was and still am a PGA Golf Professional.
    One time I had my 3-year-old son with me while at Kinkos making fliers for yet another golf academy event in Orlando. My son was playing with the Leggos there (what a great idea!) when an elderly man who was watching his daughter/granddaughter play with my son, asked my son, “What does your daddy do for a living?”
    My son responded, “He is a golf professional!”
    “Wow!” said the man. “And what does a golf professional do?” he asked.
    Without missing a beat, my son responded, “He talks on the phone all day, ‘blah, blah, blah’ and then he’s on his computer until I go to bed.”
    Ouch! First, I want to clarify that’s not what a typical golf professional does and second, out of the mouth of babes… That was my escape from cubicle nation moment! I think a cubicle can exist in the home as well, if not used wisely! 🙂

    ~Ted
    .-= Ted Eleftheriou´s last blog ..Ability to Change =-.

  18. Happy Birthday Angela, you have a wonderful family and I know you will grow to be just what you are meant to be! The best a parent can wish for!

  19. Tinkering says:

    Thank you, Pam, for a beautiful post.

    My daughter will be two this winter. I have found the search for the mythical ‘work-life balance’ to be more joyful and fulfilling than I ever anticipated.

    But I am kind of shy about embracing my mommy-identity when wearing my professional hat. It’s nice to see such a public and heartfelt declaration of love!
    .-= Tinkering´s last blog ..Tips for Riding Out a Blue Funk =-.

  20. Suzanne says:

    Two already!!! Pam, where did the time go? Please give kisses to Angela and Josh for me and Grandma Laurla!!! I know we both miss seeing their smiling faces. (We miss you, too, of course!) xxxx
    .-= Suzanne´s last blog ..Email Etiquette: Auto-Responder =-.

  21. Peg Calvario says:

    Thank you for sharing your family! Savour & celebrate these moments! Happy Birthday Angela!!
    .-= Peg Calvario´s last blog ..What’s Holding You Back in Fitness Sales? =-.

  22. Glen Allsopp says:

    Very cute post, Pam.

    Happy birthday Angela!

    – Glen
    .-= Glen Allsopp´s last blog ..Deciding What To Do With Your Life (Without Actually Deciding) =-.

  23. john kennedy says:

    Your daughter, Pam, has a perfect role model to look up to. Working mothers are superwomen, no doubt about it, and you my dear are as super as they come. Angela knows this already.

  24. karen yaeger says:

    Pam,

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s so wonderful and full of love. You have a beautiful family!! 🙂

    ~ karen

  25. Lizle says:

    Pam,

    You have me in tears! Happy Birthday to Angela! Your beautiful letter is a wonderful birthday gift to her.

    Lizle

  26. Nerissa Nields-Duffy says:

    Pam,
    I had no idea you had a little girl! What a beautiful post, and beautiful family photos. Thank you for sharing them. I too write a letter each year to each of my children on their birthdays to be opened 18 years later. And yes, one of the best things I can give my children is to model what it’s like to have a satisfying career. I work hard and my children know it, but because I love my work, they see that work can be play.

    Love, Nerissa

  27. Hiro Boga says:

    Happy birthday, beautiful, shining Angela. And happy every day to your mum and your family, who see your beauty and make a strong container of love and safety for you to grow into.

    Thank you for sharing your heart in this post, Pam.

    Love,

    Hiro
    .-= Hiro Boga´s last blog ..Refugees: Remembering 9/11 =-.

  28. Laurie Foley says:

    How lucky is Angela to have you as a mom? Very.

    I love birthdays. Thanks for sharing this one with all of us.
    .-= Laurie Foley´s last blog ..How To Be Remarkable: Five Lessons From My Grandmother =-.

  29. Kat Weitzel says:

    This was wonderful. Thank you for modeling that motherhood and entreprunership can coexist!
    .-= Kat Weitzel´s last blog ..Hot and Raw – Day 14: Perfection and Perversion =-.

  30. cory huff says:

    Adorable. I’m jealous! What a touching tribute.
    .-= cory huff´s last blog ..Attitude in How You Sell Art =-.

  31. Kimmoy says:

    aaaaaaaaawwwwwwwww!!! I’m teary-eyed, this was such a sweet letter to your most adorable daughter! You have a beautiful family Pam. May God continue to richly bless you and yours with many years of joy, love, learning, connection, wisdom, happiness, propserity, and all that jazz. 🙂

    So did Angela bookmark & subscribe to the four hour work week? LOL She’s a genius in the making LOL
    .-= Kimmoy´s last blog ..Stepping Up Your Plus Size Image Online =-.

  32. shanna says:

    Pam I love this! What a beautiful and thoughtful post. Your family is lovely and your daughter has a gift in you 🙂

  33. What a beautiful post. My daughter is 18 months old and I spend a lot of time working (from home, thankfully) so I relate to a lot of what you said. Like you, I hope that our daughters will learn how important it is to follow their dreams and do what makes them happy. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Traci Feit Love´s last blog ..Moms: Are You Embarrassed To Be The Breadwinner? =-.

  34. Ian Sanders says:

    I loved that letter, and the story behind it.
    It’s very poignant as your experiences sound very familiar in my own story with my young children (though not the giving birth bit!). My youngest is two years old later this month and I write him and his brother a letter every birthday.
    Thanks for sharing….

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