It’s Wednesday! Are you all back into the swing of it yet? I know, me neither; but, we’re halfway through the week already and I know we can do it. Now let’s take a break from the lunch-making, the work blouse-ironing, the side-project hustling, and take a moment to meet Meera Bennett, one of our newest contributors to Peaks & Harbours. Meera is smart, kind, and has all the balls in the air as a full-time lawyer, owner of Devon’s Drawer (with her mama), mother of two, and everything in between.
Here’s Meera on her early experiences as a working mother – give her a sweet hello!
My husband and I were the first of our friends to have a baby. If I’m going to be honest, our son was a baby of convenience. You may laugh when you read this, because, if you have kids, you know that babies are not convenient. However, my husband had a one year contract in Ottawa, and I wanted to go with him for that year AND have a job when we came back home to Vancouver AND we were thinking about having kids anyways. I figured that the best way to both go away for a year and have a job on my return was to have a baby. So we had a baby. It’s not like we were all that young – I was 29 when my son was born – but we are both lawyers and our colleagues and friends were not even thinking about having babies yet. It felt a little crazy and impulsive.
When my son was eight months old, and my the end of my maternity leave was looming, I started to get a lot of questions from family and friends about whether I was going to be returning to work. I was told that working with kids was hard, a baby needs its mom, and we could live on my husband’s salary. I suppose I can be a bit prickly, and these questions were well intentioned, but I was insulted. I spent almost eight years getting my post-secondary education, I love my job, and I really value the financial independence I get from working. Also, why wasn’t my husband getting these questions?
So, I went back to work. It was hard, of course, but also joyful and wonderful and I was so glad that I was working again.
Being one of the first of my friends to have kids means that, now my friends are having their first kids, I get a lot of questions about returning to work. I always say the same thing. The first few months are hard (for the kids and parents), but working is wonderful as long as you like what you do for a living.
I now have an almost five year old son, and a 15 month old daughter. I’ve just gone back to work (for the second time) to my full time job working as an in house counsel for an administrative tribunal. In addition, I run a children’s clothing line with my Mom (Devon’s Drawer,www.devonsdrawer.com
), and I am on the board of directors for the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. I am intermittently involved with a number of feminist and poverty law organizations. I also somehow fit in an almost daily yoga practice. Although my life is busy, I wouldn’t change a thing.
When Carina asked me to write a column on work/life balance for Peaks and Harbours I briefly hesitated; I don’t think I have all the answers. Sometimes I just work a lot and miss my kids. So, this blog is not going to be a “list of ten things you can do to lead a balanced life”. Rather I hope to document my attempt to keep it all together, and provide a joyful narrative about being a working mom.
If you want to meet me in person, my Mom and I are doing a Devon’s Drawer pop up shop at Chorus and Clouds on September 10
, and I’d love to see you there
! I’m also going to be leading a discussion at Chorus and Clouds
on October 4
about work/life balance, please come!