Why can't moms have it all?

If you are a mom, you know what I mean when I say being a mom is the hardest job you will ever have. It's non-stop, 24-7, 365 - and you don't get vacation time, sick time or a paycheck.

But it's also the best job you'll ever have.

If you're a working mom - whether full-time or part-time - the job of being MOM is even more challenging. You have to be the CEO at home and the hardest working worker bee at work, all the while trying to keep everything nice and balanced. It might feel as if you always have to prove yourself just that much more at work, just because you chose to have a family and a career.

This is a touchy subject for me.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my employer was less than understanding. (Truth be told, he was a complete jackass). When I informed him of my pregnancy, he informed me that I'd be working part-time after I had the baby. When (presumably) his lawyer told him that wouldn't fly legally, he forced me to go part-time before my maternity leave. Then he demoted me from second-in-command and took away my executive responsibilities. He then fired me when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant - and I had to sign a separation agreement stating that if I sued him I would not get my severance pay or my health insurance - two things I really needed with a new baby on the way.

And now, pregnant with my second child, I just learned that I have been replaced for the spring semester as the instructor for the classes I teach at a local college. Why? Because the powers that be felt it would be better to give the class to someone else since I was unable to start the semester because my baby is due in mid-January.

The best part: I learned of this decision via an email. No phone call. No discussion with me. Just an email stating those facts. Best of luck. See you in the fall. Take it or leave it. End of story.

I had discussed a six-week leave several months ago with a department head at the college and we agreed that they would find a substitute and that I'd come back before the middle of the semester. Apparently, that conversation meant nothing. And as a part-time employee without enough hours to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, I can't do a damn thing about it. [Oh yeah, the person "replacing" me this semester -- a man. Imagine that.]

And so, I am left to ponder why it is that employers believe they can treat pregnant women with such an incredible lack of respect and consideration. It's as if some employers are punishing women for - GASP! - choosing to have a family and a career.

No woman should have to choose between a family and a career. We should be able to do both. We CAN do both. And yet, every day employers are telling women that it can't be done. That it shouldn't be done.

I say to hell with that. No woman should ever be made to feel as if she has to choose between raising a family and getting that promotion/raise/partnership/corner office. I'm sick and tired of employers/clients/co-workers feeding into the stupidity of the so-called "Mommy Wars".

Yeah, I'm a mommy first and foremost. But I'm also a woman who is smart, educated, hard-working and dedicated to whatever job I might have. If you don't like that combination - or can't handle a woman who wants it all - than you damn well better get the hell out of my way because I will have it all - career and family. And you can't stop me.

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