Menu

My working mom was passionate about her job—and I loved it

I had grown up seeing what it means to love your job, to spend your weekends working because you loved it so much. You had set the bar pretty high! So, not wanting to settle, I quit to find the thing I would truly love.

My working mom was passionate about her job—and I loved it

Dear Mom,

In one of my earliest memories, you are showing my little sister and me a game you are building for a computer science course. Your assignment was to create a game in C++. Being a computer science student, but also a mom, you decided to develop a spelling game that we could play together. Little letters would flash across the screen and the player had to click them quickly to spell out a word before they disappeared across the screen. It was fun!

This was the first time I realized it was possible to build things on the computer—and that my mom knew how. I grew up thinking programming was something cool that Mom does. Dad puts on ties and drives to work. Mom types on her computer to make us fun games.

FEATURED VIDEO

We were there with you as you made your way through school. I caught little glimpses into the world of computer science. As a Ph.D. student, you were a TA for some classes. I remember one day every childcare option must have fallen through because you did what countless working moms have done before and brought my sister and me with you to work.



We were supposed to quietly draw in the back of the lecture hall. However, it was kind of cool seeing mom at the front of a classroom. I watched as you drew an interesting looking tree on the board, so I drew one too. It wouldn't be until a decade later that I realized you were talking about data structures—treemaps to be specific.

Over time I realized how few moms—actually how few women—were programming. By the time high school rolled around, I knew my mom was different. Most of my friends' moms had chosen not to have careers, with the majority working outside the STEM field.

During my junior year of high school, you pushed me to take a computer science course learning to code in Java. I was hesitant, to say the least. The cool kids did not take programming courses. However, by this time you were a computer science professor and you loved your job with a passion I had not seen in any other adult.

College was just around the corner and I wanted to find something I could be passionate about like you.

I was in for a nasty shock. The first day of computer science class was the most confused I have ever been. I was one of two girls. The boys all knew each other from a previous programming course, and they all played video games together after school. I stood out like a sore thumb, and I knew the least of anyone. The teacher started our first class assuming all the students knew what an "if" statement was and how to create a "for" loop.

When he discovered I had none of this knowledge, he asked, "At least you can tell me what a boolean is... right?"

Panic set in. I am the only girl in this class, and I am the dumbest person here. What is the teacher talking about now? Methods? Classes? Everyone can tell I don't belong.

This should have been the day I quit programming forever. I went home in tears, ready to drop the course. When I got home you were in your typical spot at your desk in the living room, typing away on your computer, doing what you love.

I was ashamed, but I told you everything. I was ready for you to be completely disappointed in me. Instead, you were a little angry. Angry at the teacher, in fact!

You calmly looked me in the eyes and told me I was not dumb. The other boys had already taken a programming course. All the things they knew, I was perfectly capable of learning—and you were going to explain them to me.

We sat down at our kitchen table and went over the basics. This is how an "if" statement works, "for" loops are easy, booleans are just true or false! Everything was logical, and it could not have been more simple.

Things got better after that. I was still behind, I was still one of the only girls, but now I understood that the boys were not smarter than I was. They just had knowledge I did not, but I was going to catch up.

I learned quickly. I loved programming; it just made sense. I could spend hours on the computer working on a homework assignment and actually having fun. If I got stuck and did not feel comfortable going to the teacher, I could just ask you for help.

After the year was over, you helped me find a summer job at your university in the computer science department. I loved taking the train into Chicago walking across the city to my job working with technology. I felt like the coolest and smartest kid alive. I knew I wanted to go into a STEM field and have a job like this as a career.

Fast forward several years, after college, after my first job. I majored in mechanical engineering. While school was fascinating, work after graduation was a massive disappointment. In my first job, I dealt with sexism and sexual harassment on a daily basis. No wonder so many women quit engineering. Beyond that non-trivial issue, I was unhappy with the work I was doing. It was boring and not as technical as I had expected.

I had grown up seeing what it means to love your job, to spend your weekends working because you loved it so much. You had set the bar pretty high! So, not wanting to settle, I quit to find the thing I would truly love.

I started to remember how much I loved programming. I decided to attend a coding boot camp. I remember calling you to talk through this decision and how incredibly excited you were for me. This is how everything came full circle.

Today I'm a software engineer, and I love my career. I would not have ended up here without you as my role model. You have encouraged me, propped me up, helped me find internships and jobs, taught me, and most importantly showed me what a career in software engineering can look like for a woman and a mom.

Thank you for being my role model and showing me how it's done.

Love,

Your daughter

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

FEATURED VIDEO

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less
Life

My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

Keep reading Show less
Life