Working Mom Wednesday: I wanted to be a mom, but I also wanted a career

I can’t tell you how many times a week I have an “it’s such a small world” moment, especially living in Kansas City. Well, that’s exactly what happened the first time I met working mom, Mary Moore. First, we realized we had a mutual friend. Then, we put together that we’d actually met before – probably more than once – at the birthday parties of another friend’s sons.

Mary and her husband Tim could quite possibly be the coolest people I know. They are both hilarious, genuinely kind, and super fun. Like, there is no way my husband and I could possibly hang with them, fun.

But one of the things I find most intriguing about this couple is their family dynamic: Mary is a career woman and Tim is the primary caregiver. While there is no doubt that there’s been a huge increase in the number of stay-at-home-fathers {16% and rising}, it’s still often presumed to be mom’s gig.

I couldn’t wait to interview Mary and find out how this arrangement works for her.

TFM: Self-promo time. Tell me what you do.

Mary: I’m the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Pulse Design Group.  Pulse is an architecture firm that focuses solely on healthcare design. Very niche, specialized market. Been there almost a year. Love it!

TFM: If you weren’t doing that, what would you be?

Mary: I’d be independently wealthy and sitting on a beach somewhere. Obviously. But…when I lost all my money on a risky bet, I’d rehab furniture. I love reviving ‘drab into fab’ as they say.

TFM: That sounds like a dream. The beach part. Now, you’re in a unique–but growing–role of being the breadwinner while your husband is home with your three kids. What is that like?

Mary: Ummm….it’s freakin’ awesome and totally works for us. The role reversal wasn’t much of an adjustment for us and has been awesome for our family. I can scoot off to work feeling 100% comfortable knowing that my kids are in great hands. Something I was just never quite comfortable with in the daycare setting. If it can’t be me, I’m sure as hell glad it’s him. And sometimes, more often than not, I’ve realized that he does a better job than I do, or did, or would do. My husband totally rocks the stay at home dad gig and embraces it. I love hearing about his day when I come home from work and everyday is different. Today, the highlight of his day was taking ballet lessons from our four year old daughter. I have to admit, there are times when pings of jealousy run through me that I’m missing out, but I remind myself how lucky they are to have special bonding time with their dad. A time that they will always remember and remember fondly….at least that’s the hope 😉

TFM: I’ve met your husband; they’ll definitely remember 🙂 We know each day is different for dad, so what is a typical day like for you?

Mary: Typical? What’s typical? I’m a mother of three kids (age 6, 4 and 2), work full time, have a food truck business on the side, and sit on several boards of philanthropic organizations. Every day is different. Drastically different. Sure there are the norms of getting up and going to work, but what happens before, during and after are always different. That’s one thing I’ll say about having kids is there is never a dull moment. Never. And if there is, it’s usually a bad sign…..or so I’ve found to be true for us.

TFM: You mentioned that at times it’s hard not to feel a smidgen of jealousy for your stay-at-home hubby. Have you ever missed a moment in your child’s life that you regret?

Mary: Oh, hell yeah. Of course. Who hasn’t? I hate it. I’ll never get used to it but it’s part of life. I’ve missed a party at school or a field trip or two, but I make absolutely certain that I’m there for the main ones. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. I know my kids, and know when they really need me there. Sometimes it’s to be the room parent volunteer for a special event at school and I’ve been there. Sometimes it’s as simple as just playing chase or having some one on one time. It’s taking the time to make those things count, so that they know I’m there….even when I can’t {physically} be. I just have to balance it as best I can and be okay with the fact that I’ll miss things from time to time. Does it suck? Yes. Do I like it? No. But that’s just the way it is and I’ll drive myself bat shit crazy if I don’t constantly remind myself that I’m doing the best I can.

TFM: And the forgiving part about parenting is that no one expects you to do it alone. It takes a village. Who’s yours?

Mary: Should I name names? That list would be a mile long. We have help. So much help. We need help and aren’t afraid to admit it. Parenting is hard. Damn hard. Hectic schedules, a messy house, non-stop chaos, unruly toddlers, and the thought of trying to organize a date night seems like a huge feat. Luckily, we have help. We live in a super awesome neighborhood where there are lots of young families. We have all become friends. Good friends. One family became our business partners. We all walk right into each other’s homes without knocking and make ourselves at home. We watch each other’s kids. But ‘watch’ isn’t the right word. We are all a huge part of each other’s lives and help each other because we want to, not because we have to. It’s good to know that there are many sets of eyes watching over all the kids at all times. Other than the neighbors, our family helps us out a TON. Two sets of grandparents babysit often along with extended family members. We have a large network that is always willing to help. We would be screwed without them. Royally screwed!

TFM: So a divide and conquer approach. I love that. Is there any product or service you love so much you could be a brand ambassador?

Mary: Duct tape. Kids break everything. Duct tape fixes everything. Problem solved!

TFM: Creative! So what keeps you from losing your cool at home?

Mary: Wine. Chocolate. Then more wine. And my husband. He’s the best sounding board and the voice of reason. And he’s funny. Really funny and finds humor in everything. Even when there’s poop on the floor (which happens more than I’d like to admit-our 2 year old has learned to take off his diaper). It’s made life interesting as of late. But no matter what’s happening, there’s always laughter in our house. That keeps us sane. Oh, and more wine!

TFM: So now that we’re talking poop, what is your favorite thing about being a mom?

Mary: That’s a loaded question. Too hard to answer so I’ll give an example.  Recently my 6 year old son asked me to be his Valentine. Of course I accepted. Being a mom has its ups and downs, but being my kid’s Valentine is one of the greatest honors and privileges I’ve experienced in 32 (okay fine, who am I kidding, 37) years. Those special moments, even if they seem few and far between, far outweigh the sleepless nights, potty training struggles, terrible twos, etc. When your child asks you to be his Valentine, you know you’ve done something right. Being a mom is amazing. But it’s amazing because my kids are amazing. Of course I’m biased, but they truly are. But you asked about my favorite part about being a mom. It has to be those tiny moments in time when you see your child for the first time, when they catch your eye and smile at you from across the room while they are busy playing with a friend, when you watch them learn, see them being helpful or empathetic, playing with their siblings, developing new skills, and the list goes on and on. And did I mention when you get asked to be their Valentine? That’s a killer. God help me if he ever asks to marry me!

TFM: So sweet. I love my mama’s boy, too! Now, you have two sons and a daughter; what do you hope they take away from mom working outside of the home?

Mary: I hope they understand that I did it because I wanted to. I wanted to be a mom, but I also wanted a career. I like to work. I’m actually a better mom because I work. When I get home, I focus on them and we get quality time. I hope they learn that you can have both if that’s what you truly want.

TFM: What’s your best piece of advice for other working moms?

Mary: Do it. Embrace it. Own it. Let your children see that you are working and explain to them why it’s important. If you have to leave them, leave them for something that you love. Let them see you rock your career and achieve success. They may not quite understand it, but they know it’s important. And don’t beat yourself up about being a working mom. Be proud of who you are, what you do and that you can have a career and be an involved parent. It’s not an either/or.

TFM: I’m on a quest to having it all. What does having it all mean to you?

Mary: Man, that sounds great. Really great. Unfortunately, it probably doesn’t work for me and my family in the traditional sense. I work hard, damn hard. Long hours. Then I come home and continue to work-but it’s a different job. The mom job. I’m not much for fancy houses and flashy cars or “keeping up with the Joneses.” Why would I need to keep up with them? That’s too much pressure and for all I know, they’re up to their eyeballs in debt, on the brink of divorce and they don’t have strong bonds with their friends or kids….and likely as not, they’re probably jerks. Okay, that’s probably not fair, and I’m sure The Joneses are perfectly nice people, but I just want to work hard, provide a comfortable life for my family, spend time with them and be real. I don’t want to try be something I’m not. That’s too much work and really exhausting. I don’t need another reason to be exhausted. And when I go to bed at night with dishes in the sink, laundry piled high and a messy house {at least I cleaned up the poop}, I know my kids and my husband know that they are my world. So in that regard, I do have it all!


Remember that food truck Mary mentioned? Her husband Tim takes turns operating Pie Hole with co-owner {and fellow stay-at-home-dad} Chris Knowles. This daddy-duo has figured out job sharing for care givers turned entrepreneurs. On top of everything else on her working mom to-do list, Mary does their marketing. Bravo, team!

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

3 Replies to “Working Mom Wednesday: I wanted to be a mom, but I also wanted a career”

  1. It is so awesome to read about my beautiful daughter-in-law, Mary! I am continually amazed at how they make chaos look normal! I’ve experienced their “neighborhood family” and I am so happy that they support each other and all the kids call me Grandma!
    I would say that working Moms can produce pretty amazing kids- considering Mary and Tim were both raised by working Moms!
    Tim’s proud Mama, Jane Reihing

  2. The norm in the Moore household is joy. Mary and Tim both love and enjoy their jobs, their family, their neighbors and friends, and really just life. I think since I’ve known Tim I’ve probably seen him without a grin only once, and then it was still a 1/2 smile. Their love for
    one another is obvious. They are devoted to each other and their children and we are all grateful they are in our world. Mary’s loving mother, Cindy Porter

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