At the end of my maternity leaves, I found myself dealing with very conflicting emotions. On one hand, I felt scared and guilty about leaving my two young daughters with someone else. On the other hand, I was looking forward to getting back to teaching future attorneys in my wonderful job as a law professor. Of course, that feeling itself induced another wave of guilt as I wondered how I could help my kids understand what it means to be a working mom.
Both of my daughters adored books. Books were how I launched conversations, shared new ideas, inspired them to ask questions, and fueled their curiosity. So at the end of each maternity leave, I searched for children’s books that could help us talk about my return to work. I was looking for books that would encourage my daughters to be proud of the work that I do outside our home and that would help them connect my mommy identity with my professional identity.
My search was both frustrating and illuminating. I found quite a few children’s picture books about working moms that seemed to assume that kids must be sad and lonely while their moms are at work, and that offered various ways for kids to cope until their moms returned home each day (which didn’t do much to allay my feelings of guilt). I also found a lot of books about witches, which seems to be the working-mom prototype when it comes to children’s literature. Needless to say, neither of those book categories had quite the message I was seeking.
So I vowed to write my own children’s book to fill the void. I wanted my book to celebrate diverse working moms doing a wide range of jobs. I wanted my book to show how the work that women do as moms is connected to the work that we do outside the home—that we care for our children and our societies with the same love, dedication, and commitment.
But despite good intentions, my own two jobs took over and the idea of writing a children’s book got pushed to the back burner. Somehow, a decade passed. But the idea kept nagging at the back of my brain, and I’ve finally made good on my vow. I just published my first children’s book, which celebrates working moms for all that we do both inside and outside of our homes.
The book is called, My Mom Has Two Jobs. On each page, children proudly describe how their moms care for them in a special way, while also improving the world through their careers. The book includes moms in many different jobs, including a doctor, teacher, engineer, police officer, secretary, dentist, firefighter, nurse, lawyer, waitress, military sergeant, veterinarian, and pilot. I hope that the book will give moms the chance to talk with their kids about whatever job they do.
My daughters are now twelve and ten, well beyond their picture-book years. But they have enthusiastically supported this project. For all the working moms who still have little ones at home and who are searching for a children’s book to help their kids celebrate all of our many important jobs, this book is for you.