I hate this day. And I love this day. 

If I defined my success as a mom by June Cleaver's standards or by the home room moms who never talk to me because they don't know me, I'm a failure.

June Cleaver vs. the Working Mom

It’s Mother’s Day. And for some reason, I still have visions of the ideal mom looking like doing my job as the CEO of a mid-sized company while also meeting the standard of the 1950s version of the June Cleaver mom.

I hate this day. I love this day.

The working mom life means that life is not working out like that standard. Instead, our village keeps expanding because that’s what it’s taking to keep everyone moving and alive. We have grandparents who show up when we need four drivers instead of two. We have Margaret who gets the house restored to order and my panties back in the drawer instead of buried at the bottom of the last laundry basket. Then there’s Emmie who keeps the kids homeworked, snacked, and safe. After five years, we are finally hiring an assistant at the office so there aren’t so many things that don’t get done because we are out of time because it’s 5pm. Again. It’s not like we aren’t torn in three or four different directions at the same time. Always.

And then there’s projects like CEO.mom that pop up out of thin air. That too.

We aren’t a traditional family. That’s a fact.

If I defined my success as a mom by June Cleaver’s standards or by the home room moms who never talk to me because they don’t know me, I’m a failure. If I define my success as a mom by the smart, well-spoken kids we are raising, we’ve succeeded so many times over. Our kids are leaders. They are their own selves, challenging us and everyone around them at every turn. I’m proud to be their mommy. I could sit here and grieve the lack of a June Cleaver life, resenting the perfectly perfect PTA moms who don’t know my name, be jealous of the girls who can make it to the women’s groups at church, and despise a system who defines the value of women by those who can “get there” during the day; a system that sets a working mom up to feel like a failure.  Or I can embrace the redefinition of family life that we are living, be thankful that I’m married to an amazing guy who supports me, applaud the team who keeps our life glued together at the seams, choose to appreciate the moms who help my kids have an amazing classroom, be thankful that I do have great friends, more rights than June Cleaver did on her best day, and let the health of my family prove to my inner self and everyone else that I’m a great mom.

I hate this day.

I love this day.

Because both emotions are valid and have a voice. There’s regret and envy. And contentedness and thankfulness. They get a voice – for a minute. But they don’t both get a long term platform in our lives or in our heads.

Only one of those voices gets to live.

So, hey you, you mom working yourself to a shred trying to hold it all together, we are doing “good mom” a little differently. Today, I honor you. Take a minute. Take a deep breath. And say out loud, “I’m a good mom.”  You are. You’re a powerhouse of change. You’re a model for your kids of hard work and perseverance. You show them how to love people through hard things. You show them how to have integrity when you do the right thing when nobody’s looking. You show them how to lead when nobody else would step up to the plate. You show them how to prioritize. You’re an amazing human being who lives in a village.

Let’s practice the discipline of thankful contentedness together. Our children WILL rise up one day and call us blessed.

We. Are. Good. Moms.

Never forget it.

Jenn is the Founder and CEO of Cotton Babies. She holds an Executive MBA from Washington University. She was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Emerging Category for the Central Midwest Region in 2011. Among many other awards, she recently received a 2017 YWCA Leader of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship. Jenn holds many patents on various inventions in a number of different countries and is listed as one of 50 Missourians You Should Know. She is particularly fascinated by languages, chickens, and children (she has four) when she’s not reading economics journals. Jenn offers mentorship to product developers at any stage in the journey from idea to shelf.