NAME: MICHELLE MOYER
JOB TITLE: RESEARCH ASSOCIATE/SCIENTIFIC MEDICAL RESEARCHER
@ CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: SCRAPBOOKER/TRAVEL BLOGGER/BATON TWIRLING INSTRUCTOR
STATUS: MARRIED WEBSITE: www.MoyerMemoirs.com
“I am a survivor of the working mom world. My kids have grown up and are now in
college. I am a new empty-nester letting you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
MiMi: How many children do you have? What are their names and ages?
Michelle: Molly -22, and Maddy and Marilyn are 21.
MiMi: Do you feel the roles of women have changed in regard to work and family over the
Michelle: Absolutely, but I think it is shifting more toward a dual-parent workforce. However, we
had a non-traditional family set-up for raising our kids. I was the full-time breadwinner and my hubby stayed at home to be house-daddy. He took care of the kids and did all the cooking. I actually didn’t know too many people in the same circumstance like me. It was difficult not having anyone to relate to, especially 20 years ago; this working mom set-up with dad being the primary care-giver was extremely rare… so, if you are a working mom with a stay at home hubby, please know that there ARE others… like me! These days you can probably find a Facebook group to chat with others in similar situations, so find a friend there or send me a message and I will reply with positive
MiMi: What are some of the challenges you have faced as a working mom? How have you managed to cope?
Michelle: I had a busy mom-life since my three children are so close in age and were also so busy. They all had about 3 – 4 activities and hobbies that they were involved in, so they were all going different ways. I think the challenge of raising the kids as a working mom comes from the innate female feelings of responsibility to care for them and a desire to be there for each and every breath. Leaving them when they were babies and toddlers was painful. I knew when I would leave each day, I was missing out on firsts I tried to reassure myself that I didn’t need to physically BE THERE for everything and that hearing about it second-hand was still okay.
As they grew older, it didn’t get any easier and I still had that inner desire to be there for their whole lives. I wanted to be there to make their lunches and get them ready for school, wave to them as they got on the bus, be there in case they needed help during the day, greet them when they got off the bus, help them with their homework, and attend all the afterschool and evening events. That just wasn’t possible because of my job, so I had to make sacrifices.
The key to sanity is figuring out how to make a compromise for yourself that will satisfy part of your inner-mom-nurturing-desires. I chose to give up mornings with my children and went to work before the sun rose and before the birds started chirping. This enabled me to be home earlier in order to hear all the excitement about my kids’ school days. This also allowed me to be a participant in their extra-curricular events. I was able to attend afterschool meetings and sports games. At one point I was even a girl scout leader. I still felt like I was an important participant in their lives. What I wasn’t able to attend… was anything during the day.
There were often performances, meetings, and presentations that were during the school day. I could not attend those and it was very difficult for me. Hubby was a big help in recording everything, taking pictures, and filling me in so that I didn’t feel quite so bad at missing things. What I love is being a role model for my three daughters. I try to be a strong influence on them and demonstrate that you can have a career while still being a good mom. They are all pursuing their dream careers right now and it makes me proud. Someday–hopefully not too soon… they will be able to find that balance between their careers and their children, just as I did.
MiMi: When you find the time, what activities do you like to engage in as a family?
Michelle: Family time often revolved around the kids’ extracurricular events. We went to watch youth basketball games to cheer on one daughter, went to a music recital to listen to beautiful sounds being made by another daughter, and then finished it off at a baton twirling competition watching the third daughter whirl around and do flips under her baton in front of the judge. When we had quiet time it was spent relaxing at home on the couch in front of a Disney movie or gathered around the dining room table competing for the championship
of a board game during game night.
MiMi: What does mealtime look like for your household?
Michelle: Hubby is the cook and meals were a big family event. We always dined in the big formal dining room and went around the table hearing about everyone’s day. The kids turned into big talkers and learned how to share their ups and downs in these family discussions.
MiMi: If you had 1 piece of advice to give a mother who finds it a challenge to balance
career and family, what would it be?
Michelle: Find a balance and a compromise for yourself. There are things that you need to give up and sacrifices that you need to make. Find out what the most important events to you are and what it is that you want to be there for and figure out how to make that work. Be present with your kids during the times that you are there, listen to them and enjoy it. Time flies and before you know it, you will be joining me at the other end in the Empty-nesters Club!
MiMi: Thank you, Michelle, for being a part of my working mom series!