The Mom of No: Working Woman


The other day, the Teenager and a friend went to Target. When the Teenager returned home, she had exciting news for me: she’d seen a book there she thought I should buy. It was a book of advice for working women. Since I am also the Mom of Frugal, I decided that I’d rather keep my $20. If it shows up at the local library, I might give this intriguing work of literature a try.

I’ve been working since I was 16. At this point in my working life, I could probably write a book about being a working woman. I’m fairly certain that no one would actually read it though. I’m not famous and/or wealthy. Also, these kinds of books usually don’t really help you solve the underlying problems that cause you to read them in the first place.

When I was a young working mother, I would read books on how to be a successful working mother and survive, but eventually I realized that what I really needed was for Grandma to move in next door, and that wasn’t going to be happening.

I’ve been working for more than 30 years, and I’ve learned a few things, some of which I will share with you. Put your money away — the Mom of No is going to be the Mom of Sharing Great Information for Free.

The Crock Pot is your friend. You can cook almost anything in a Crock Pot, and it usually tastes rather good. If for some reason your Crock Pot meal is not edible, there is no shame in going through a drive-thru. Some people have amazing time management skills and are able to work a full day and then put a gourmet meal on the table for their family. I am not one of those people, and if you aren’t either, that is okay.

If you are snarky with your boss, you will probably get fired. I learned this lesson the hard way. When I was a college kid, I had a summer job at a locally well-known waterpark. My first day of work, I was driving down the highway and the timing belt of my aging vehicle decided to break. I was late for work (not the best first impression) and the job went downhill from there. After putting up with a few weeks of what I (and most of my co-workers) considered to be ridiculous rules, my mouth got the better of me and I got myself fired.

The corollary lesson here is that just because a certain location is a fun place to go hang out with your friends doesn’t mean that it’s a fun place to work. Also this experience has made me somewhat paranoid about timing belts.

If you ever have to take a breast pump through airport security, you will probably be asked about what it is and how it works, especially if the security agent scanning your carry-on bag is a man. You really can’t do anything about that; just be prepared to explain without your face turning bright red with embarrassment.

You can safely assume that the day you have a very important meeting or a very important conference call is also the same day that your child’s daycare or school will call you to inform you that you need to pick up your child right now because they have a 100 degree fever and a weird rash. If at all possible, have a backup plan.

Your relationships with your co–workers will stand a better chance of being decent if you aren’t the person who never cleans old leftovers out of the refrigerator. Bring donuts every now and then — unless you work with health fanatics, and then bring a healthy treat like cut up seasonal fruit along with the donuts.

Stay out of the stay–at–home vs working mother argument. It is one of those ongoing debates that will probably never be resolved. Find a couple of other working mothers and text each other supportive thoughts, links to great Crock Pot recipes and, perhaps most importantly, the snarky comments you can’t say to your boss.

If you ever find yourself sitting alone in your car in a parking lot screaming, “I am so tired!” or other cries of frustration, congratulations. You are not alone. Scream away. It won’t solve any of your problems but you will probably feel better, at least temporarily. Also, it’s free.

If any of these tried and true tips work for you, then I think that’s great, and I’m glad I could help. If they don’t, just remember that at least it didn’t cost you anything except a few minutes of time to read them.

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