It happens every day. Women choose child rearing and pass up careers and the money that goes with them. If ever there was a job that will change the world, it’s theirs. Read one mother’s account:
“I still remember when they placed Danica Monet McCarron on my chest. I reached up with my index finger to touch her and Danica immediately wrapped the entire fist of her hand around the top inch of my one finger …. I bawled. If that wasn’t my own personal Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, I don’t know what is.”
Two and a half years ago, Charissa McCarron contacted me and asked if women can have it all. The Ahwatukee Foothills woman had a successful marketing career and the perfect marriage. Now, what about baby, she asked? In my column I responded: “This is what I know today in regards to my years as a working mother. What was good for my kids was best for me — not the reverse. If you want to be happy — if you want to be fulfilled, be sure that your children thrive.”
“The journey for parent and child must be individualized,” I reminded her. “It requires constant awareness. Distractions are a killer — kids are the victims; consequences extremely painful. No doubt about it, stay-at-home parenting is a private choice and must not be judged by onlookers one way or the other.” But, for sure, discussion is an important part of that journey.
A WOMAN CONFLICTED
So life moved on in the McCarron household and soon Charissa and her husband, Darrell, decided to give it a try and Dani was born. 16 months later, the McCarrons decided Dani needs her mom full time. Mom needs it, too.
I wish space would allow the details of their bumpy journey. Actually, the story, as only Charissa can describe it, is laugh-out-loud funny. But, between the lines is the pain of Charissa’s efforts to work and be the perfect mom. They tell about a tongue-tied mother without answers for a pediatrician’s questions concerning Dani’s progress. Only the nanny knew that stuff. About the guilt, the tears and the stress of “toting a breast pump and a little sign ‘Leche Lounge,’ to the back room at work;” and that race home every afternoon for a few precious moments with her daughter before bedtime.
Charissa said, “At night, I would pray over her sleeping and thank God for this incredible blessing. Then, I would pick out her outfit for tomorrow that I would never see her wear, and go to bed … unsatisfied.”
It came down to only one choice: Dani. Charissa explains: “There’s something special about looking at a tiny face that is mixed with your husband’s characteristics and yours; about trying to strategize a way to cut all 20 nails without them noticing; about having a little person straddle your lap and feed you their cut-up banana pieces.”
Prayer was a big part of Charissa’s decision. In considering how she’d advise others she said this: However they decide, “I think one needs to listen to that inner voice. Once you hear that message, go. Move forward. Never look back. Stop the doubt and don’t feel guilty.”
“Life is about response and attitude,” she said. “As a woman and especially as a mom, we specialize in love. We can robotically get up five times in one night out of pure love. We are very special; hence the reason we carry so much on our shoulders. We want to help the world. If every mother started by helping their own children, inevitably they would be helping the entire world.”
And that’s my cue to slip in my own agenda. Charissa’s story sounds like hearts and flowers and one might say it doesn’t fit in an editorial section. Think again. Influence of generations is the greatest power a woman holds. Whether we bear children or not, women have the power to touch lives as no one else can, yet there are signs we’re slipping. We’ve become self-consumed. So many fall short in finding good daddies to stick around. The value of marriage is ignored. Oh, the list is too long, but overall, as Charissa said, what we do for children we do for the world. Don’t ever devalue the power of maternal sacrifice in regard to the welfare of a nation.
Can women have it all? Depends on how you describe “all.”
Today, Charissa has a new business card announcing “the best promotion of my career:” Charissa McCarron, Mother of Danica Monet McCarron. If this helps even one woman or child, then Charissa did a good thing in sharing her story.
Linda Turley-Hansen is a syndicated columnist and former veteran Phoenix television news anchor who lives in the East Valley. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.