Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

KPBS Commentaries

Tales of a Working Mother: Love

It's the month where romantic love is the star and people are basking in it, passionately seeking it or mourning that it seems to be everywhere but in their heart.

This year, politics is providing some competition for the omnipresence of Valentine's Day, but even the most exciting race in recent history can't compete with love. I'd guess there will be a lot more dinner reservations placed than votes this month.

February is also my anniversary month, so it has even more meaning for me than your garden variety romantic. But, after nearly two decades of married life, while I can still be swayed by sentiment (I'm partial to tulips, you can hold the roses), I know the attention on hearts, flowers and cupid's arrow are only window dressing on the foundation required to honor a commitment for life.


So, when I decided to focus the theme of my column on love, I threw my net a lot farther than the romantic love that defines February. At this stage in my life, what I love is much broader and more complex than a spark or a rush or a head-over-heels experience.

It's cliché to say there are many types of love but it seems so true when, like me, your life is filled with many different types of people who make it richer, better and more sane.

Love at work may make you think of the taboo and illicit but by my definition it's pretty crucial to happiness, since I spend a lot of time with the people at the office.

I love that I work with such smart, interesting, competent people. I love that they are passionate about excellence and that shows in every detail of their work. I love that I am inspired to do my best because I believe in them and what they are capable of. During the stations' coverage of the October wildfires, this commitment to do the right thing seemed to shimmer off of the building. People stayed all day and all night to inform the public or support those who were doing the researching and reporting. It was truly life changing to be a part of it.

I am a person who is blessed with many personal and professional friends. Yet, I can count on the fingers of one hand my most intimate friendships.  I love that when I put my hand out these women reached across and grabbed it and that they are willing to invest the time and care that a quality friendship requires.  I've been seduced by the pull of groups that offer dozens of women to bond and network with, but those connections can't compare with my friends who know my darkest nights and brightest days and are there for me always.


I love the people who care about my children not because they have to or they're supposed to but because they see what is unique about them and they appreciate it – sometimes better than I do. They are teachers and friends; they are therapists who support my son and students who work in my daughter's preschool class. They are coworkers who revel in the stories of my oldest child's spirit and remind me to support it, rather than squelch it. They are parents who compliment my children's manners and make me glad that what I don't always get at home is at least being practiced in public.

Finally, I love what I learn everyday from my children. The slant of their eyes and the curve of their smiles tell the world they are from the same gene pool. But daily their unique personalities force me to see them for the individuals that they are. As a new mother, it was a shock to realize that my oldest daughter wasn't going to be just like me. In fact, in 12 years I've come to learn our personalities couldn't be more different. Yet, I am awed by her energy, determination and creativity. Her self confidence, while sometimes jarring, is laying the path toward the future of leadership that she so desires.

I could spend a whole column on what my son has taught me. Having a child with special needs is an adventure. There are high highs, like the day he brought home his daily report and his teacher wrote "Great Day" on it. That meant there were no outbursts, no refusals to participate, no inappropriate interactions with his classmates. It meant that he behaved just like a "normal" kid. But for me, that day was like getting a raise, or being told I'm beautiful. I saved that report to remind me that some days he's recognized just because he is "special" not because he has "needs." Then, there are days that are so bad I feel like we're taking one step forward and three backwards. But throughout it all, he's taught me to believe that with the love and perseverance and training of his family and supporters he is capable of so much more than I could have imagined just a few years ago.

My youngest, at the tender age of 3, has taught me to be happy for life's unexpected surprises. Every morning she climbs into my bed and curls like a comma against my back. Her mop of dark, wavy hair and her fuzzy purple bear cover my face. It has been three years but I still can't get over this gift of my third child. She has taught me to open my heart to those things that initially seem insurmountable. She has proven to me that I am up for the challenge, and I love her for that.

February 27, 2008 at 04:52 PM
The other side of this love story! I can speak from experience for the kids since they can’t now! I was raised by a working single mom when women were not considered hero's for trying to multitask. Today, it seems to be a badge of courage for parents to leave their child in the care of someone else while they off and become a professional success. . I don't know how childcare is today but I know how it was then. They were always so nice to my mother when she came but when she left life became a living hell. Kids don't want to hurt there parents so they just find ways to learn to live without the real love of full time parents. I tell parents of my experience today and they immediately tell me it is different now…well maybe the kids have more company there age but I can promise you that you will never replace the love of a mother at home with a stranger When I was farmed out everyday I always compare my life to others my age who had mothers at home and they never seemed to want to trade with me. At least the kids today have few to compare to since the practice has become the norm ratheyr then the exception. The results of my childhood showed in my teens. It was then that you become the problem for your parent. I hate to think what 10 to 20 years are going to bring us with the new wave of surrogate parents. Good Luck!

Olivia from California
April 12, 2008 at 08:46 AM
Very touching article. The true beauty of Love is our children. I like how your focus wasn't on the slapstick sweet baloney we hear during this time that is about some ones partner and how jewelry or flower chocolate etc. A Valentines Gift to me is EXPRESSION. The tone of my loved ones voice and the sweet words he speaks to me. Our children who scribble crayon on an envelope with stickers all over. That is my loveliest Valentines. On another note. What is with some of the QUACKS who comment? Excluding myself of course. Dave, BOO HOO about your childhood. Allow me to EXPRESS myself. Reading the article just now was like the anticipation of having an ice cold coke. Knowing it is going to be so refreshing and delicious. That is how I felt after reading "Love." When I read your comment, it was if my delicious coke was SOUR MILK. Your pathetic comment left such a bad taste in my mouth. You say you can speak for Kids since they can't now! Well, toots I have four kids and our children speak out and tell it like it is. No time to wait. Both my husband Chase and I work and that is LIFE. DO YOU HAVE KIDS OR ARE YOU ONE OF "THE FORTUNATE ONES' who get to stay home with your 8 kids??? No, your single sad and pathetic. Also spell check you dope(company there age but I can promise) Shouldn't there be their. I guess since you were farmed out all over town and it came out during your teens. Spelling was not your strong suit? Good Luck to you!

April 12, 2008 at 02:34 PM
Olivia Thanks for the spelling lessons...It seems I hit a nerve! I hope I did for your kid’s sake! If you have a bad taste in your mouth it's your problem not mine. For your information my wife and I raised four kids the old fashion way not the vogue way of today. Sure we were poor for years but the kids were rich with love. Thank fully more families have realized the benefits of a mother at home and are doing so. There will always be those who don't... that of course is their prerogative... unfortunately. By the way calling people dope's and Quacks is a sign of ignorance or better yet a lack of knowledge. Hope my spelling meets your satisfaction this time? No need to write again I have nothing in common with you!

Olivia from bay area
September 15, 2008 at 09:19 PM
Dave, Your correct, calling people silly names isn't nice nor appropriate, however there really isn't anything positive of your comments. I feel for you, that you have to conduct yourself by comments in blogs. Good luck to you and your family. I do hope that one day you will get over the fact your parent had to work. It is clear you had a bad experience as a child or you wouldn't feel so strong to post your comments. I saw this story as uplifing and sweet. If you see the other comments you will maybe gain something from them. Don't waste your time in your negativity or sad past, but be gratefuly that you were able to live out your dreams as a child through your own children.

November 20, 2008 at 06:02 PM
Dear Olivia from bay area, You're one to correct Dave's spelling, what with you not knowing the difference between "you are" and "your"!!! Read your post carefully and you'll know what I'm writing about. And just because Dave has a different point of view makes you spew venom at him. I see guilt writ large here. The toughest job in the world is raising kids and you happily hand it over to strangers. The worst part is you shut your eyes and ears so you don't see what your children are going through. Just so you can get up and get back to your sane life at office as opposed to the chaotic days that a parent goes through. It'll be interesting to see what the next 10 or 20 years show us when daycare-raised kids become adults.