Mother's Day - A Working Mom: My story xx Jane

Posted by Jane Paradis on

 As many of you know, I am a mom.

Two girls of my own and three step-kids for a total of five ranging in age from 14-21. I say it all the time and people give me a strange look – but I love being a mom to teenagers. There are stages to everything – babies, toddlers, being a young mom vs having grown kids…it’s a lifetime of motherhood. As we launch our mother’s day collection I am thinking about my mom, my friends being moms, my younger friends wanting to be moms. Here is some insight on my mom-path that includes an incredibly good baby, puberty hitting hard and an excessive amount of driving.  

When I first had kids I was running 2 companies, Buzz by Jane Fox (the accessory line) and Big Production (a mini pr firm). I had female partners in each business and we were all having kids – and when one was out with morning sickness, maternity leave or a sick baby – the other covered. It worked really well. I certainly wasn’t making much money but I was contributing, I was enjoying working, and I had enough time to be with my first child. Sabrina hit the scene in 2002 and was a dream – she slept, never cried…ate everything. She was a joy (how our JOY pendant got its name). She is what they call an ‘easy baby’… 

Then came Tiki. She arrived in 2004 with some high expectations – which were basically to be held by me 24/7 so she could eat on demand, projectile vomit, sleep periodically but not at night – literally she needed to be attached to me. We called her our starfish. It was high maintenance but the bond between us was undeniable. This made working harder 😊. Going from 1 easy kid to two – that transition rocked me. I wanted to be with sweet Sabrina – I was attached to Tiki…I had two companies. Enter: MOM GUILT.   

When the girls were 2 and 5 I realized that I needed to make a consistent income, NYC was very expensive, I was headed towards divorce and having 2 business and young girls wasnt in the cards for me. The greatest blessing of a job found me and we moved outside Philadelphia so I could, as I lovingly referred to it, ‘work for the man’ (aka Senior Designer at Lilly Pulitzer). That meant a steady paycheck and healthcare – very practical things that I needed as the foundation for my life. It also meant working 5 long days a week and travel…which I was not used to.  

I hired a killer nanny and moved forward. I did get that divorce and was supporting myself, I was working very hard, we moved, the girls started new schools – it was such a busy busy time. And looking back, it’s not like I was a bad mom – I was there and the girls and I were very close. There was a lot of it that the nanny could do – all the driving, the baths, making dinners. The mom guilt certainly crept in but the need to financially support was overwhelming – and I could balance the office demands with the home stuff. It was manageable, I loved what I was doing, the girls were happy.  

As I have blogged about before, when the girls hit middle school and then high school – my feelings started to change. I was resenting work and not being there to help the girls with what were more adult issues. They had anxiety around middle school – and life in general. Changes in their bodies. Changes in friend groups. I got to a point, and this was at the womens march in DC when I said to myself – I have to be there for them. I have to have the flexibility to be there for my girls and I want to build a company – and I want them to see me do it – and I want to be present for them when they need me. And in a blink I knew the days of working for the man had to change. I had to work for the woman – me – so that I could enjoy these moments of high school before the girls went off to college.  

Now, I spend a LOT of time (omg sooo much more than I imagined) driving. And that car time IS everything people say – we chat about school and college pressure and the upcoming dance and ‘how old can I be to take an uber’…and I am literally in heaven. I tidy their rooms. I fix their lunch. My husband makes fun of me for all that I do but nothing – nothing on this planet – gives me more joy. In what will feel like 5 seconds they will both be driving – they will both be in college and poof…they are gone. It does happen that fast – it’s like god just presses a button and you go from making macaroni and cheese for a toddler to driving a lovely, mature, smart, gorgeous adult to a concert in Philadelphia (that they kicked out off and you have to drive right back OMG). And then you pack her up to go for a trip to Peru…and then…you drop them off at college. It makes me cry! But these moments are absolutely the best and I would not change one thing.  

So many working women struggle with mom guilt. And this blog is for you. I did it a little differently – I worked like a crazy person when they were young and chose to be around when they were teens. And now I am building a business at 46 – while driving 24/7 – and it’s so so hard. My passion for building a brand and obsession with jewelry married with my treasured job of MOM, makes me who I am. PS: I also have an incredible husband who supports me (mentally and financially!) and I could not do it without him.  

No one has the perfect formula, but this has worked for me. I hope it helps – because a little perspective for new mom’s – that things don’t have to be just one way, and that you can fight to create the life you want. There is no judgment ever from me on working, not working – it’s something we have to figure out…and support each other on relentlessly. I could have used more people to share their story with me when I was younger. The sharing, the perspective, the non-judging – it’s coming around these days…which is good for all of us.  

If you connect with me, know a mom, are a mom, love a mom, or miss a mom, enjoy browsing out MOTHER'S DAY COLLECTION :-)

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