I was raised by a stay at home mom. Scratch that. I was raised by the most amazing stay at home mom. At age 21, my mom graduated college to became a dental assistant and soon after married my dad. Three years later, I was born and she decided to stay home to raise me. Soon after, my brother was born.
Our house was always spotless and smelled amazing – it still does. Every night, something homemade was on the dinner table – my favorite is lemon meringue pie and lasagna. My brother and I were always clean from head to toe. Laundry was folded, ironed and put away. My mom made it look so easy and she was always smiling. As much as I loved it, I always knew I wanted something different.
My mom is a very traditional Mexican mother and I was expected to cook, clean and take on a domestic role. I voiced my displeasure every moment I could! I was determined to fight this cultural expectation and still do.
I wanted be the next Barbara Walters. My dad worked in local TV news and I was envious of the women reporters and anchors that in my eyes “made it” in a predominantly male field. I wanted to tell people’s stories. I dreamed of going to journalism school and becoming a TV anchor.
After college, I became a TV reporter for a small station in Western Kansas. I moved away from home and I never looked back. Since then, I have always put my career first. I spent thousands of dollars on my college degree, and I want to use it to its fullest.
I’ve never had the urge to quit work. Even when my oldest son was born, I went back to work after seven weeks. I don’t cook. I hate cleaning. My husband does the laundry and he is THE BEST COOK. He can make a better traditional Mexican meal than I ever could have.
I’m blessed with a support system that allows me to put my career first. Now, I’m behind the camera, but still working non-traditional hours. My kids have a multigenerational support system of my parents and my grandma. The three of them together make sure that my two boys are taken care of during my long hours at work. My husband is an Emmy award winning photojournalist in local TV news, and he works long hours as well. We have to constantly communicate about who is where and when.
This works for our family. My kids are not deprived or neglected. In fact, they get precious time everyday with their grandparents and great grandma. That is something special that no one can take from them. A majority of the time, I am home in time to check over homework or drop my oldest off at sports practice. I make it a priority to attend after school meetings, classroom celebrations, field trips and holiday performances. The decision to put my career first comes with constant communication with my family. There are many times, my parents say no and I need to find a back up. My parents deserve a break too and I understand that. It also helps me to slow down and focus on the importance having that one on one time with my boys.
Every morning, my husband and I eat breakfast with our kids. Due to his work schedule, he’s not home for dinner but I get to enjoy dinner with the boys every night. They’re just used to my laptop constantly being open and my phone buzzing. We try to make the weekends all about the kids. My husband and I rarely go out with friends or on dates since the weekend is the only time all four of us are together. It’s precious time for us to be a family. Granted, it’s usually racing to a game or school activity, we do it together as a family.
My mom told me once that she was envious of my college experience and work life. I’m envious of her and all the hard work and sacrifices she put into being a stay at home mom. I feel like she continues to sacrifice her time for me to have the career I always dreamed of.