Eve Hill in the middle at last year’s “A Star Shines for Survivors” fundraiser, posing with “Hollywood Moment” reporter BJ Korros and The Survivor Mitzvah Project’s intrepid translator and expedition guide, Ludmilla Makedonskaya.
The balancing act of being a working mom, can be quite tricky. At Real Mom Daily we’re sitting down with mamas around the world to capture a glimpse of how they walk their daily tight-rope and still keeping it together…mostly.
Name: Eve Hill
First names & ages of kiddos: Son, Age 18
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Occupation: I work for the Survivor Mitzvah Project
Occupation description: The Survivor Mitzvah Project provides emergency financial aid for impoverished Holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe. I write regular newsletters, post social media content, edit video, research & write grants, and coordinate events.
A full circle employment fact: I graduated from USC Film School about three decades ago, and one of my first jobs was working as a Writer’s Assistant for the TV sitcom, “Blossom,” a show that was directed by my current boss at The Survivor Mitzvah project, Zane Buzby. I had only seen her a few times since those TV production days back in the early 1990’s. I caught the job posting online about a year ago, and she hired me!
1 How do you balance WORK & being a mom? Way before my son went to college, I worked part time at his elementary school. There was no better place for me then. Because of the child-centered mindset of a school, if something came up with my young son that needed my attention, there was no hesitation on the part of the administration that the priority of family would always be respected.
When my son started high school, and his moving away to college loomed closer and closer, I felt a need to break away from my role at the elementary school. It was as if I was somehow hanging on to his childhood by remaining immersed in the world he used to inhabit.
For a while I had no job at all. Then I began writing some online articles from home, but that paid little to no money, and my availability was enabling my son’s dependence on me. There was a contradiction happening here. He was getting older and supposed to be getting more and more independent, but there I was, making it too easy for him. I was no longer a positive female role model. For him, or for myself. With college around the corner, the costs were going to be staggering. If I did not find a job soon, I would propel the whole family into a real corner financially, and jeopardize our ability to pay for college (or at least keep the borrowing below eyeball level).
In his Junior year, he changed high schools. The new one was small and kind of experimental, also much closer to home. I figured he could take public transportation home! (But I was still jobless and available.) Plus, the school’s block scheduling and a certain, let’s say, non-mandatory attitude of the administration towards onsite attendance led to repeated requests from my kid to “pick me up early” and “I don’t have to be in class, I can work from home.”
It was midway through his senior year of high school, about three weeks after we had finally submitted all his college applications that I found my current job. I could still take him to school in the morning, but on the days both his dad and I were working, he would need to take the bus home. Now it was a necessity. Kicking the baby chick out of the nest and onto the Metro.
I know I did the right thing by taking the job, but it did happen to unleash a lot of complaints from my son that I was “working too much,” and thus prompting a flip side guilt reaction in me that I now was spending too much time working instead of spending every available second with him in the few precious months before he moved away to college! Was this balance?
Now that he is away at college, I am noticing that I will ALWAYS take a call from him at work, although if he is just calling to tell me about the new hoodie he wants money for, I will tell him I can’t talk until later and get off the phone fast. With a roommate issue, or a fraternity rejection, the conversation must be given attention, and sometimes I wipe away tears before sitting back down to my desk. But other times he simply texts me a photo of the beautiful view from his dorm room, or calls me just to say things are going great. These are the glorious moments that I try to give at least as much weight to as the rough stuff. Taking note of these times that balance out the slings and arrows that come our direction.
2 How do you balance SELF CARE and being a mom? You may say my self-care is kept at a minimum, or perhaps it would be more complimentary to call it streamlined. Honed to a fine, eyeliner point. The blush and lipstick basics, meat and potatoes makeup. Thanks be to my DNA my hair is wash & wear with a nice, natural curl. Also, since my son has been in college I have no disposable income to shop for new clothes, so I already know how I look in all I own, saving myself a stressful experience in front of the mirror every day.
Walking the dog is my standard exercise, and I get together regularly with a couple of friends for a morning hike and talk therapy
3 How do you balance RELATIONSHIPS/ROMANCE and being a mom? My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we became empty nesters about six months ago. I think we are managing alright, and the time we spend together can be warm and relaxing, but I do find myself grateful to have a job to go to most days. I would rather be too busy than too empty, but I recognize that here, too, there is still a palpable imbalance.
4 Your mom struggles and or issues: We are the parenting generation that got advice to give our little kids “choices” and trophies for participating. I was so into becoming a mom and trying to cherish every moment that I may have overdone it a bit. My six-year-old was often “choosing” where the family was going for dinner, and by the time he was a teenager, he was dictating much of the family vacation.
I am very thankful that when he broke away from the comforts and indulgences of an only child upbringing he was able to navigate collegiate independence and not only do his own laundry, but get through the academics and the drama of dorm life.
5 Sh%tty Moment: (A particular parenting moment that you wish you had handled differently.) In this example, it would have been better to give my child a choice rather than insisting on my own way. When my son was little, he was invited to a birthday party at a children’s theater. Form the moment we sat down in our seats he started squirming and whining. I was hoping once the play got started he would enjoy it, but the squirming continued. Looking back on it is always embarrassing for me, because I realize that I should have removed him from the theater immediately. For whatever reason, he didn’t want to be there, and I allowed my adult perspective of a fun afternoon of entertainment to overshadow my child’s organic reaction. I held him in my lap (against his will!)until the act break.
For him, this is not even a memory. He has subsequently been to many a play, movie and assorted other performances. For me, it is a reminder of my tendency to get caught up in wanting my child to belong, or “be like the others,” more than listening to what he wants for himself.
6 Your mom tips: It’s easy to take pictures of your adorable baby, and your grade schooler when he gets an award at school or performs in the school play, but how do you document the amazing transformation of your teenager, who flatly refuses to have his picture taken, save for rare occasions.
Tips for getting photos of your teen…
- Go with him to an autograph signing. He will appreciate a photo of himself as he is getting the autograph with the celebrity or famous athlete if you tell him it is for “authentication purposes.”
- Attend a sporting event together. When you excuse yourself to get a snack, pause a section or two away from where he’s sitting and use maximum zoom.
- Take him to a faraway land, let’s say, Japan, and he will allow his picture to be taken in front of an 800-year-old temple, and at the top of the new “Skytree” skyscraper. (You had a feeling he would go for that, because you have photographic evidence of him in his earlier childhood posing for a picture at the top of the Empire State Building.)
- Hang out at home together, and while he’s playing with the dog, take out your phone and act like you are checking your emails. Don’t worry about the angle of your photo when you “sneak” a picture, just make sure you have the device silenced, or he will hear the tell-tale picture snapping sound and the jig is up.
Never stop asking, “Can I please take your picture?” (They love that.)
7 Unicorn Moment: (A particular parenting moment for which you keep patting yourself on the back.) There are many interests of mine that I have shared with my son. Some he has taken to, like watching and talking sports, or sharing a meal at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, but he has rejected many more than he has embraced. Switching on a classic movie will chase him from the room, and a suggestion to “go on a hike” gets met with, “for what?”
For all the ups and downs of parenting battles between myself and my son, he has embraced my home town of San Francisco as his, and is currently attending college there. Okay, so San Francisco has a TON to offer, and perhaps I am not totally responsible for his appreciation of the city, but we have been visiting San Francisco together every two or three months since he was an infant. My parents, brother and nephew live up there, not to mention a cousin on my husband’s side. With our particular version of family dysfunction dynamics, I have screwed up during any number of visits. But I do take some credit for his positive impressions of the place, and the lasting feeling that motivated his dream to one day live there.
Eve Hill and her son, several years ago, at a taping of “X Factor”
To learn more about Survivor Mitzvah go to: www.survivormitzvah.org
To learn more about Eve Hill: www.linkedin.com/in/eveahill and http://contributors.theculturetrip.com/contributors/eve-hill
Have some working mom tips of your own? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org