“And what professional networking organization are you in?”
“Tech,” I replied.
I wasn’t sure if my colleague was bemused or not at the notion of a frazzled-looking young mom willingly trying to throw herself in the circus of tech networking. From what most people could tell — including my own mother- was that juggling a full-time data analyst job, a budding Airbnb side-hustle, a half-marathon race training schedule, and a spouse with 2 little toddlers was enough to induce any sane woman into a restful slumber within the first 15 minutes of watching LaLaLand in a relaxed and entranced state.
Several years back I knew I wanted to make my contributions in the tech industry as a young minority mother. To help others — to pave the way and set the foundation so others like myself could see that it is do-able. We can still work our ways into tech roles as young mothers interested in technology in non-traditional industries.
Earlier today I came across an article by a young female software engineer who pointed out this statistic:
The article further stated that ‘women are more likely than men [in the open source development practices and communities] to encounter language or content that makes them feel unwelcome (25% vs 15%) as well as stereotyping (12% vs 2%) and unsolicited sexual advances (6% vs 3%).’
Even though I’ve had my fair share of criticism ever since I started writing, the fear of jumping into something new, of jumping into a world where people like me are under-represented, is nonetheless scary. — Lily Chen
No doubt it is scary being one of the few. To be the first of many, to start a brand new role, and to not know what the outcome can be because there are so few role models who did it before you. And meanwhile the numbers still look grim. Many women in tech fields or non-traditional fields of work will drop out of the workforce entirely after they have children. Now take that pool of “so few role models” and shrink it even more. We are climbing an uphill battle here. The further out you go the less support you have — not just at a career development level but at a fundamentally intrinsic and emotional level of sympathy and support. Work-life balance struggles become a thing of the past with no sympathetic ear to vent to and no one to understand the angst of dropping of a crying toddler at daycare while deciphering your next dinner meal plan on your smart phone during pick-up time…
But… it can be done.
So what exactly is the Mom-Boogie? It’s a type of dance- mental, mostly, mind you- that all mothers do when they’re trying to pull off the work-life thing. Whether you’re a multimillionaire mother with a plethora of nannies and hourly cleaners scheduled to clean the mansion, or, like myself, just a regular social media-addicted and diaper-changing mom sipping her weekly beverage of choice (wine!), we all face that struggle sometimes. The inner voice that tells us… what are we doing all this for? Why are we emotionally straining ourselves to achieve what people think is impossible? Why do I still feel guilty for giving 110% to my job and, what feels like 95% to my job as a Mom?
Well Sherlock… or inner multiple personality voice… it is for the American Dream.
The American Dream you say? I thought that died when Trump came into office.
Nope. Not that kind.
It’s the kind you feel the rush to capture. The kind where the more people urge you to not even try, the more people tell you that you can’t do it, the more you go for the hustle.
Because I’m a mom. And that’s what we do.