Last week I asked my daughter who was turning five what she wanted for her birthday. She said, “I want you”.
While seemingly an innocent and sweet statement it is actually heartbreaking. At five she should want the latest and greatest toy, her first sleep over or an extra large treat.
The challenge facing working mothers is not new and this is not a new version of the story. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. So, for her birthday, she got her wish. I took the day off and volunteered in her class. I sang songs, read books, glitter glued crowns, printed capital and lower case letters and helped put on snowsuits. It was the best day, for both of us.
I don’t think working mothers need to change their career aspirations or leave their jobs. There are far worse role models for our daughters. What we do need to do more, however, is find ways to be more present when we are around: no blackberries, no scanning newspaper headlines or running errands.
Today on the way to school my daughter asked if, now that she is five, she can have her first sleep over. The answer? You bet.