Being a Working Mom in Orange County New York

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Terry Ford Realty

I am a realtor but I am not going to just write about real estate, the market. etc. That's just boring. I am a real person who happens to be a real estate agent so I will just go from there.  For starters I am a working mom. The ironic thing is in my past life I was the Managing Editor of Working Mother magazine. Perfect magazine to work for when you are a working mom right? Well, it was pretty demanding and the commute was long. So after I went on maternity leave I had some medical problems and they couldn't keep my job open so they had to let me go. But that's OK. It worked out fine. I went into business with my mom who has been a broker in Orange county for 20 years. All those years of growing up listening to her talk about real estate, never did I think I'd be working with her or in the business. It was pretty scary giving up my big title and job in NYC to become a realtor, but I have to say I love it. Like many working moms I had to make changes in my life and career in order to give my child some quality of life. But I still had to help bring money in, so this is a great fit.

The best thing about not commuting anymore and living and working in Orange county, is you get to really know the people you live near and the places around you. I spent 10 years of my life waiting to get out of here, and the next ten commuting away from it, and I felt like a visitor in my own town. Now I really feel like I belong somewhere. And I have to day, it really is a nice place after all. When I was growing up there was nothing to do around here but now it's been built up so much. But not too much like Long Island or Westchester. There's still a lot of country here. And now we have Target's and Lowe's and Barnes and Noble. Welcome to the 21st century. We even have a few New York City quality restaurants here believe it or not. So it's not 5th ave, but if you get the itch for some high end culture, the train runs straight into Penn.

The best part about living here is it really is Family Friendly. I have found a side of myself I never thought existed now that I have a two year old. And I know I am not the only one. The old me that worked on Madison Ave with high powered women who would go to press conferences at some of the hottest spots in NYC, seems a million miles away. And sometimes I miss her but then I think about how nice it is to be able to park in a parking lot behind the building where you are going, bring the baby to the park or just spend the day working on the garden in the backyard. I feel human. It's a life that you can feel human in if you understand that. It's still busy, and crazy and you still have to deal with people. But there' something about working with people and being around people that are standing in their home town. There's a bond there and when something happens people feel it together.

Now, like every new mother I am finding my way. I had my life set up just the way I thought i wanted it. But now I find myself going to playdates and living at the pediatrician's office. I've made it a hobby to be in the know about all the best playgrounds. And I am always scoping out places to go as a family. I joined a really great group on the web through and it's all new moms. So we have a bulletin board where we talk about all the stuff that you talk about as a new mom. And it's funny, there's a whole subculture there of working moms. Some moms are REALLY into their kids. I mean they are on top of all the best kids books, which is better, Mommy and Me or Gymboree, where the best deals on clothes are, the best music programs. I mean they are hardcore. Others kind of roll with it and seem to get through by the seat of their pants a little more. Like me they are clueless and pick it up as they go. I learned a few things that I didn't know at Working Mother. Ironically, now I have so much more to contribute than I ever did when I worked there. Such as you bring your kid to a playdate with the sniffles and you are a parriah. A runny nose is as bad as the bubonic plague. If your kid takes a toy, hits a kid or pushes someone else's kid, you have exactly .25 seconds to respond in the correct manner. Let it go, pretend to ignore it or don't act suffienctly horrified, and you are one of "those" mothers. And biters, oh woe are those who are parents of children that bite. If your child bites another child in daycare and the mother finds out it was your kid. She will shoot you a look that says "Are you sure you are his mom? I would have sworn he was born to a jackal."

My kid was bitten in daycare recently. It was a 17 month old and he was biting everyone. Now granted, I didn't pay $500 a month for two days a week so the child I dragged in my belly and staved off alcohol for 9 months, not counting those breastfeeding months, could be some other kids' chewtoy. When I went to pick her up I had to fill out a form that said "Yes they told me my child was bitten" and basically nothing else. And I had to look at the tiny little teethmarks. And I wanted to know which kid was the culprit. They wouldn't tell me and I was incredulous. But it's probably a good thing, cause I know in my heart of hearts what I would say to that little 17 month old who couldn't keep his teeth to himself if I got him alone. But I had to remember, that's someone elses' baby. Someone else carried him for 9 months and staved off alcohol even longer for him. And she and I have a bond, we are both new mothers. I should cut her a break. And so I did. I was mature about it and as long as the director promised me it was being dealt with, I let it go. But some other kids/chewtoy moms must have not felt that way and I heard there was a big broo ha ha. Regardless, I've taken her out of there for the time being for several reasons. My point is, it is amazing how someone can go from hard nose business woman to being completely perplexed at what to do over something as seemingly silly as biting. It's a lesson in just how the simple things in life can throw you. 

I am learning every day in my new human form. I am wresting with the challenges and trying hard to get back to that person who had everything sorted out. But I am glad I am doing my fumbling and learning and growing in an area as beautiful as Orange county, Ny. For all it's quirks and farmlands, and over the top politicians, it's a great place to grow up and build character, and rediscover yourself. I know I did.  



Comments (5)

Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

Cute post!  Welcome to AR Christine!

My education background is in early childhood education and believe it or not biting is a behavior that is completely normal with children the age you mentioned.  It is rare but some kids just do it and it is really hard to teach them not to do it.  It isn't necessarily a learned behavior but a normal reaction of defense & communication.  I had one girlfriend who had a biter on her hands and she did everything you could imagine to get her child to stop from shame, biting back and even tobasco sauce.  EEK!

Good luck with what you decide to do with your baby.  The best and most ideal place is at home with you until they are above the age of two and then a preschool structured setting is the way to go.  Sometimes our lives do not allow for the "ideal" with work and such but you sound content with rearranging your schedule to make it work!  Congrats on managing everything so smoothly.

Jan 03, 2007 01:26 PM

Hi, thanks for your response. Yes I've been told by everyone including the ped that it's normal. So I was upset mostly because of the teeth marks that lasted two days, but I swore to keep it in perspective. I actually took her out of that daycare because they had no room for her in the toddler room where she should have been. And she was kept in the baby room and was starting to get miserable and I'm pretty sure regress a little. So now she's in a new place that had room and it follows the english day school format. She just turned two so you are right, that is a good time to start. She really craves being around other kids and it would seem cruel to keep her home all day with boring old me. I agree I think 2 is the magic number. I put her in a learning facility daycare at about 1 1/2 just for two days a week and she loved it. I just managed somehow until she turned that old. Still have never left her with anyone except my family or school.

 I feel for the mom of the biter. I'd hate to be in her shoes. And the poor kid, you would think he was a flasher the way people react. They are giving him early testing because they want to make sure he's expressing himself enough. They think he's frustrated. I just think biting is an excellent attention getter and gets your point across--not disimilar to swearing, which I have been known to effectively use from time to time. :)

I'm glad I come off as managing everything so smoothly. It is the great illusion. But I am puttering along and I know that someday I will look back and yearn for these years. So I know I have to enjoy these days with her.

 Again, thanks for your response. --Chris

Jan 03, 2007 02:06 PM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

You sound like a great mom and believe me ~ I miss those days like none other. 

My reward is two great teenagers who are morphing into beautiful adults (inside and out).  I would NEVER, EVER switch the sacrifices I made for the perfect career, more money or anything else. 

You are definitely on the right track with a thankless job - for now ;)

Jan 03, 2007 03:52 PM
Christine Guidry
Terry Ford Realty - Washingtonville, NY
thank you so much. I saw the devil wears prada the other night and it was too close for comfort for me. Not that my boss was as bad as that, and actually fashion people aren't as bad as that, but much of it was familiar. So I couldn't imagine spending all day in that environment only to come home to her at 8 at night or later. Jobs come and go, but your kids will hopefully always be there. Thanks again. --Chris 
Jan 22, 2007 05:37 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

  We invite you back to ActiveRain in 2017. 

  We would welcome your return!

Sep 21, 2017 07:28 PM