Working Mother Woes:
Why They Can Be Out Of This World!
Oh, my heart broke into a million little pieces when Ella showed me this piece the other day. It’s about Karen Nyberg, a working wife and mother whose job often times takes her on the road. Well, more like outer space.
Nyberg is an astronaut; she became the 50th woman to go to space when she flew to The International Space Station aboard Discovery in 2008. Now, she’s about to become only the ninth woman ever to fly to the space station for a long duration mission; she’ll be gone for six months.
Nyberg’s son Jack, is three-years-old so you can imagine how difficult the decision must be for her, choosing to leave her son on Terra Firma for six months.
I’m right there with her, even if I stay within earth’s orbit for my travels. It’s the lament of nearly every working mother who wonders aloud, “Am I doing the right thing?”
I thought about it a lot when I had that big gig years ago and had to commute from Dallas to New York for eight months.
But there’s something Nyberg said that had me standing on my chair cheering.
“You always wonder if you’re doing the right things for your children,” said Nyberg, who is married to fellow astronaut Doug Hurley. Hurley piloted Atlantis on the final flight of the shuttle program in 2011. “I’ve struggled with: ‘Is it a good thing for me to leave my 3-year-old for six months?’ This is a dream I’ve had since I was a young child myself. I don’t think I’d be setting a good example for my son if I gave that up.
This is one of the very reasons I wrote Good Enough Mother and why we work so hard on the site now. Just because you become a mother doesn’t mean that your hopes, dreams and aspirations have to die so that those of others may live. Nyberg is a working mother doing what she needs to do to feed herself, her soul.
It’s the decision I had to make when I landed that big gig. It’s the decision I still make as a working mother.
See I know that I’m the best to my kids when I’m good to myself. That means I need to work. They know that and I agree with Nyberg in that I wouldn’t be setting a good example for them if I didn’t pursue the goals I have set out to accomplish for myself.
Some might say it’s selfish; I say it’s self-preservation.
I have learned a few things in my time as a working mom.