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Apodaca: Moms are the best 'men' for the job

November 02, 2013|By Patrice Apodaca

My son needed toadstools. In 20 minutes.

We had just been through a hot, dry spell, and I had no idea where I'd find them, but extra credit in honors biology was on the line, so I put on my Super Mom cape and leapt to the rescue.

I called Roger's Gardens and spoke to a nice employee who wasn't fazed a bit by my strange question. I was in luck. He had spotted some large toadstools on a patch of grass nearby.

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I grabbed some plastic bags, raced over, foraged enough mushrooms for my son and his classmates to share, hopped back in my car, and delivered them to school with a minute to spare.

That was several years ago, but I have no doubt that similar scenarios are being played out on a daily basis throughout Newport-Mesa. Someone needs something, and Mom figures out how to make it happen.

Of course, there's nothing new about this. Moms have always been the go-to gals, the family planners and organizers, the human glue that holds everyone and everything together. What's changed, I believe, is that moms like me are increasingly recognizing their own power, and are starting to wonder why the rest of the world hasn't noticed too.

This is a common topic among my circle of friends in Newport Beach. We are, as a rule, a well-educated group of career women who — whether we continue to work in traditional jobs or not — have always made the management of our families our top priority.

Many of us represent a step on the evolutionary scale that saw women making significant strides in the worlds of business, government and media. We demanded greater equality and respect in the workplace, and fought back against society's inclination to marginalize our roles at home.

But most of us have sacrificed at least some of our professional aspirations to our families' needs. We've turned down job opportunities, declined to pursue chances for advancement, or cut our work hours to fit our kids' schedules. Many years ago I walked away from a job that defined and fulfilled me because I believed it was the right move for my family.

Like other women I know, instead of dwelling on could-have-beens, I threw myself into motherhood as if it was the most important project I'd ever accepted. I volunteered, fundraised, baked, stapled and made late-night supermarket runs. I overcame my aversion to anything that crawls to find bugs for science class.

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