For nearly all my professional career, I’ve worked mostly with women. As an editor at a horse magazine in Maryland to an editor at another horse magazine in Texas, the women far outnumbered the men in both offices.
This isn’t a fact I boast about, but I don’t think it’s something to be ignored. In an industry that traditionally has been male dominated, I’m proud that women of all ages and backgrounds fill the cubicles and offices spaces. We balance work and home life (okay, we give it our best attempt), with long hours at the office that tend to seep into our home life, after the kids are put to bed. We do whatever it takes to make sure the magazine gets to the printer on time.
I don’t believe publishing is the only industry in which the number of women employees is more than the men, and I don’t think it’s limited to 9:00-to-5:00 p.m. jobs. From stay-at-home moms to suit-clad women, the sense I get is women are finding their own vision for how their life should work and doing whatever it takes to get there. They strive for independence and for identity. And dang it, every woman deserves it.
Finding a passion outside of motherhood takes sacrifice. And once that passion is found, it takes diligence, confidence, and perseverance to continue. Not every day will be perfect – far from, in fact! Part of finding purpose is falling down and taking a few steps back. Those are the days that keep us humble and focused.
For example, I currently work as managing editor at Fort Worth Moms (FWM) on top of my day job as digital editor at Western Horseman magazine. I worried I wouldn’t have enough time to do both jobs justice AND be a wife and mother to my daughter. Several nights of the week I stay up late working on FWM after working all day at an office in downtown Fort Worth. I’m tired. My daughter probably sees me on the computer far too much. These are all concerns that still cross my mind. But in the end, I want her to see how I continue to work hard, continue to try to be better, and that the reason I do all of it is for our family. I’ve made a point to say “no” more often to outside obligations and “yes” to pushing her on the swing even though I know it means I’ll be up half an hour later than I intended.
I’ll admit some nights I go home and wonder if the handful of men in the office have the same demands and responsibilities at home as I do. To be fair, I work with good, fair men (I mean they have to be to work in an office full of women). Something in the back of my mind tells me that in general, outside of our office, working men in general don’t share an equal load. They will help out if asked, and usually do so willingly. But do they feel an obligation, an innate instinct to feed, bathe, and clean the kids and keep a respectable home? Maybe some do . . . maybe some don’t.
Women are strong. We are resilient. We are tired, but we are not quitters. I see my friends who chose not to have kids and I admire their decision not to. After being a mother for more than two years, I now look at other mothers who have more than child AND still work with a new sense of awe and respect. Women are remarkable.
So if you’re looking for your own voice, take it one day at a time. Look around you at the inspirational women in our own Fort Worth community. Women are paving the way one step at a time, and you can, too. If you get tired, mama, take a rest. But then get back up, put one foot in front of the other.