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Where does mama go?


The Ups, Downs and Sideways of Working Motherhood

Where does mama go?

Alex Steinman

While picking up the nugget from daycare last week, the lead teacher said Cooper learned a new word in sign language. His recent accomplishments include hiding Christmas balls, tickling people's feet, and ripping out the flaps in the book Where's Spot?, so naturally I was excited to hear about his new trick. The teacher turned to Coop and asked him, "Where does mommy go when you're at school?" He tapped his wrists together. Apparently, that means "work" in sign language.

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My first reaction was bummed that the sign for "work" looks like handcuffs. My second reaction was sadness that he knows I choose to go somewhere else during the day. Why couldn't I be at a cookie factory or shopping for puppies?

I felt selfish for leaving him for long hours to work at a company that is incredibly fulfilling. So fulfilling, that I leave my kid with strangers everyday. I've laughed so hard at my office, I've peed a little (I promise I was 8 months pregnant with Cooper). I've work-loved work-wives and work-husbands, I've got a badass work-mom squad, and I never eat lunch at my desk.

And that's when it hit me. I work because I need it. I find fulfillment outside of my home because it gives me something that's uniquely mine. It forces me to shower and comb my hair.

If I have to leave #Gingerbaby every single day, I might as well go somewhere that fills that hole even halfway.

In that freight train of realization, I suddenly felt so proud for my son to sign where his mama goes each day. Someday he'll be looking for a job, and he'll know to find a career, a company, a location that is so fulfilling he can't help but feel it's just an extension of his life.