I'm guilty of it. I've said it before and, in the interest of full disclosure, more than once. I'm not proud of it and will make a conscious effort never to do it again.
Today, I'm coming clean.
The expression to which I refer is ... "working mom." There, I admit it; I have uttered this in the past. I'm sorry - honest!
In my own defense, I meant no disrespect to either moms who are part of the traditional work force or moms who choose to toil and labor on the home front. Trust me when I tell you, people, we are all working moms.
Truth is, I am and have been a proud member of both categories.
A bit of the back story.
A bazillion years ago when I was fresh out of college, I gleefully entered the workforce in the programming department of the Youngstown affiliate of one of the big three networks here in the Mahoning Valley.
Oops, dating myself. Yeah back then there were only three major television networks. Either way.
Fast forward to about 1998 when Kerry and I started down the path of parenthood. As it happened, the road was not as smooth as we'd hoped but then, in the very last part of 1999, voila.
All of our prayers were answered when we welcomed our son Kyle into the world.
Over the moon with joy, I did what I felt in my heart of hearts was best for our baby boy, I walked away from my job at the station after nine years, two promotions and finally landing that coveted office with all the natural light and the fabulous mahogany furniture.
Was I sad about walking away? Only a little. Was I scared about staying home full-time? Only a ton.
When Kerry finally regained consciousness after his initial response of holding his breath until I came to my senses and changed my mind about leaving my job, he told me that he supported my decision. Mostly.
And the truth is, even though I continued to work from home as newspaper "stringer" (also often referred to as a part-time correspondent) whenever my son's schedule permitted me to do so, I was largely out of the business world, period.
For six years, I traded meetings and reports in for play dates and growth charts. Until Kyle went to school all day, I was with him literally 24/7.
And you know what? I wouldn't change one second of that time for anything in the world. Even the times when I went without sleeping, showering or consuming a meal for days on end.
Well, I had made the decision to stay home with my baby - and darn it, I was right.
Fast forward again to 2005 when my toe-poke into the water of returning to work (in the conventional sense) became a full-on cannonball into the deep end - suddenly I was working 50-plus-hour work weeks.
Before we knew it, we had entered the world of juggling Kyle's needs and schedule (which will always come first, BTW) with the very important task of fulfilling our job duties.
Child care issues, spring concert vs. client dinner conflicts, scrambling to deal with the unexpected snow day or heaven forbid, sick day and so on and so forth.
Well, I made the decision to help bear the financial burden of providing for our child and trying to secure his educational future - and darn it, I was right.
Here's the bottom line: every mother on the face of the planet who stays home to focus on caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of her children is a great mom. Every mother who opts to work hard outside the home to help ensure that her children receive the things they need tangibly is a great mom.
I was speaking to a good friend of mine (a colleague at my day job) this week about the challenges faced by women who punch a time clock (either figuratively or literally) and also happen to be mothers.
In trying to do the best we can for all involved, we feel guilt and conflict and stress.
Then I harkened back to the days when Kerry bore the full brunt of the fiscal responsibility of keeping our familial finances afloat.
In trying to do the best I could for all involved, I felt guilt, conflict and stress.
But at the end of the day, I salute every mom, everywhere, no matter whether she runs a Fortune 500 company or the neighborhood car pool.
As long as we're doing our best to achieve a work-life balance that puts the family first and work a close second; I think we're doing all right, ladies.
Girl power! Ooh, and a quick shout out to one of my favorite fellas - happy birthday to my brother-in-law, Kevin!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist, proud mama, professional gal and all-around busy chick. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org but forgive her if it takes a few working days for a reply.