Dear Independent Moms: I See, Respect and Admire You

Sara Paredes, Copy Editor

6:15 a.m. every day, five days a week; packing lunches, preparing breakfast, exercising, walking the dogs, getting ready to go to her office. My mom, my biggest hero, confidant and the woman who is raising me into an independent, opinionated young woman, has dedicated the last 15 years of her life to balancing a successful career while raising two children — primarily on her own. 

Growing up in a suburban community means that for the past 15 years, I have been surrounded by friends and social groups made up of typical nuclear families, most of whom never had moms who spent the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in an office. My mom is a hard-working, successful businesswoman, and has maintained a reputable career in the non-profit sector for as long as I have been alive. 

As a newborn, I would accompany her to the office, at her side in the small, bland cubicle. As a toddler, I would sit at the empty desk next to hers and watch Netflix movies on an iPad as she took calls and went to meetings. When I started elementary school, most weekdays consisted of after-school care programs or extracurriculars until my mom could beat the downtown traffic on her way to pick me up. Until middle school, taking a “sick day” off from school almost always meant spending the day at my mom’s office. Even though my parents separated when I entered fifth grade, for the majority of my early life my dad worked long hours and took frequent, lengthy business trips. As a result, my mom, brother and I have become an extremely close-knit team.

As my mom was the primary caregiver who occasionally had help from a nanny or babysitter, making career choices often involved sacrifices in terms of time and availability for my brother and me. While this was a hard concept to grasp as a growing, developing kid, I have since begun to reckon with the fact that my mom is not always able to attend every open house, chaperone field trips or pick me up early from school on the days before summer, spring and winter vacations. However, my mom is leaving her mark on the world in many, many more ways than one. 

If this resonates with any women or children –  and I know that it will – there is one thing I wish to say to you: while it may not always feel like it, you are seen, loved and appreciated. This includes the days you rush out the door, struggling to make it out on time; every busy night that dinner becomes a trip to the McDonald’s drive-thru and each anxiety-ridden week of seemingly endless hours of driving kids around. Your strength, perseverance and dedication deserve levels of respect and admiration beyond the one-day-a-year holiday, and you will forever be my motivation to someday become a strong, self-sufficient adult woman myself.