“Does your daughter love that this is what you do for a living?” I was asked last week as I sat in a make-up chair getting ready for my latest TV gig.
As the make-up artist airbrushed my face, applied fake lashes and worked her magic with endless brushes and shadows, the hairstylist wrestled my hair into submission or at least some submission of a style.
The person asking the question was one of the many guests of this new show. “Come to New York City for a little over a week,” the producers had offered, “We’ll shoot 12 shows back to back and then you can go back home.”
Talk about a dream gig. I said, “Yes!” in a snap. The work sounded interesting, and best of all was the idea of working hard for a couple of weeks and then being home for my most important job these days, being a wife and mother.
I knew where the person was going with her question. Surely, my kid is impressed, fascinated and loves that her mom is on TV.
The simple answer to the leading question is, “No.”
I’ve waited a long time to get peek behind the curtain of the “woman having it all.” I’ve long had a career, only in the last year did I marry for the first time, and by marrying a single dad with a then 13-year-old daughter, I also instantly became a mom.
For years, I’ve read articles on working moms declaring their kids are so happy because they see Mom is happy in her career. That it’s important for a kid to see Mom likes going to work.
I have to say this has not been my experience. I’m all for feeling fulfilled, for doing what you have to in order to provide for your family, but at the end of the day, I believe a kid doesn’t care so much about that. Simply put: a kid wants a mom.
When I got home from this last four-day jaunt, my daughter didn’t have a single question about any famous celebrity I interviewed, the nice clothes I wore, how the beauty team “cleaned me up.”
No, she wanted to know the important stuff, “Will you help me find a bag to bring my things to my first volleyball tournament tomorrow?” she asked.
And my favorite, “Are you going to walk me to the school bus?” referring to our regular morning tradition. Talk about an offer I truly couldn’t turn down. Twenty-four hours after my last Cover Girl treatment, I threw on my old sweats, smushed my unbrushed hair in a scrunchy, not a stitch of make-up and walked my kid to the school bus. The pink fuzzy socks peeking out of the brown plastic Crocs completed my impressive outfit. It’s still unclear who needed a bath more: me or our 13-year-old stinky mutt, DarlaDog, who loves walking my daughter to the bus almost as much as I do.
The New York City glamour life was a thousand miles away.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for the opportunity to do work I enjoy, and I’ll keep doing it. I’m just saying that I’m clear why. There’s college on the horizon, that larger house we’d love to get, and the retirement fund that sure could use some TLC. But as I work, I’m now like millions of women across America missing the job that brings me the most joy, the job of, “Mom.” And doing well at that job is the only true way to impress my kid.