A few weeks ago I did the worst thing a journalist could do: I forgot to turn in an article .
It was in no way intentional but I also did not have it as a top priority.
When I graduated from college, I seriously thought there would be jobs lining up for me. I thought it was going to be a breeze finding something right out of college. I went to a prestigious school, had a decent amount of internships under my belt and I had children. What could possibly stop me? I ignored all the post-grad people around me who said it might take a while to get a job. I chuckled. Piece of cake, I thought to myself. But that was not the case.
I wish I could have been like all other post-grads struggling to get a job. Take a “gap year” or explore myself for a while. But I couldn’t.
I have two children.
I’ve settled for jobs since I graduated. I’ve worked at bowling alleys, been a towel lady at a gym, was a cashier for a cafè in Santa Monica.
In an ideal world, I would have had my children at a much more “maturely-appropiate age.” But then again, those kids would not be the children I see and engage with every day of my life. They would be some other version of Amy’s kids and that would just be weird.
But this is not about my children necessarily but the integration of missing an assignment and trying to be a mother all at once.
As mothers, we’re expected to do everything while simultaneously critiqued for doing absolutely nothing.
Even writing this is completely frustrating. Mostly because I haven’t had time to write it. I’ve stopped periodically to work on it when my children are sleeping, when I’m on lunch from my job, or whenever I have a spare moment to collect my thoughts together to write something of merit.
Because that too is the part of the struggle.
It is not simply being a journalist, but aspiring to be a great journalist. Trying to make sure that what you write or send in isn’t complete crap (and trust me, people will notice when your work is not up to par). And wanting to make sure that you’re also not ignoring or depriving your children of your attention.
It is hard, guys.
It’s not impossible but damn, is it hard.
It’s a daily struggle of finally putting your kids to bed at 8-9 pm and then slowly trying to keep your eyes open because I have such a great idea for a story and I need to write it now as you crawl next to your children and your eyelids slowly start weighing 30 pounds each.
This post in and of itself took me over a week to completely write. A WEEK.
It’s the dedication that keeps me going and at times makes things harder. Trying to balance giving 100% to your children, your family, your jobs (because I’m a FIRM believer in doing a great job no matter what it is—even a towel lady), and still trying to follow your dreams.
I was able to do that this summer thanks to my internship with FutMexNation/The Mexican Soccer Show.
What started as simple social media management grew into very humbling and grateful opportunities given to me by the people I work for.
I covered Copa America games and watched Mexico play. I was able to cover the Olympic team in Rio exclusively for the FutMexNation. It was amazing and enriching.
But I would be doing a dishonor to myself if I didn’t mention what was behind the curtain.
Working long hours before the trip to Phoenix. Taking a flight with two babies who were very cranky. Having to lug my giant breastmilk pump provided to me by WIC (Women, Infants & Children) to media events and swearing to security and such that is was most definitely NOT a bomb.
Wanting to network and engage with some amazing journalists all while double-checking with your boyfriend that the boys were okay. Having a curfew for yourself because you absolutely knew you had to put your children to bed at a certain time (and you've made a choice to exclusively breastfeed your baby). Waking up early to get breakfast and lunch ready while trying to be early for pre-game schedules.
Then when the Olympics came, it was trying to distract your children while you watched the game so you wouldn’t give half-assed reports. Trying to mentally prepare yourself to have your children crying as you hurried to finish the last couple of sentences. Knowing it takes you personally about a week to finish a personal blog and you needed to step it up to get these time-sensitive articles done ASAP.
By the way, this is NOT in any way critiquing the work I’ve been so privileged to be offered by my internship. And yes, I’m very well aware that I can simply deny to do any work if I think I can’t handle it.
But then there’s the woman in me. Not the mother or the journalist but simply the growing woman inside me that never wants to say no. The woman that grew up with three brothers and had to keep up and be as good as them. The woman who went to a low-income high school where many were doomed to fail and graduated Valedictorian with the Gates Millennium Scholarship to USC. The woman who graduated from USC with a 2-year-old baby by her side and a 6-month-old baby in her belly that is tired of people continuously judging what women are capable of doing. The person who has slowly grown more aware of the injustices taking place and wants to dismantle the patriarchy.
Who sees these great women doing amazing work in journalism, who do great work while also having kids or are just fantastic women in general.
I want to be like them. I want to keep working hard.
But I cry sometimes. I cried when I missed that assignment. And I get overwhelmed and I don’t feel good enough and it sucks and it makes me question myself and irritates me that men never get ridiculed this way and I’ll sit in my room as I type out blog posts like this after my family has gone to sleep not because it is necessary or that anyone will really read it, but because I know I have to. For myself.
And, I’m not going to lie, guys. Sometimes, it’s really hard.