Celebrating Mothers and the Modern Mom
Updated: May 11
A look at Motherhood in today’s world By Rachel Kelly
In some ways, the challenges of motherhood are the same as the many women who have labored before us. All mothers have felt the sacrifice of motherhood in her body, through her body, and from her body. We have all fought to recover what it means to be both an individual and a plural. Every mother has felt both her child’s pain and joy as if it were her own. Every mother has felt the pull of that first cry.
But every generation of mothers also has its own unique struggles. We struggle with what it means to protect, encourage and bolster our children to be thriving adults in this current environment. We make different decisions and take advantage of new opportunities. Today’s moms have more opportunities to pursue avenues not available to our foremothers. We are moms, yes, but we are also women pushing boundaries in a culture whose societal rules have yet to catch up with our ventures. We are showing our children what is possible.
One such modern woman is Annalee Baimbridge. She began her career in the Air Force, where she met her husband Brandon. Together they share custody of Brandon’s son but eventually decided it would be a blessing to add another member to the family. After 16 years, Annalee left the Air Force for a job as an airline pilot with FedEx. It wasn’t soon after that she joyfully became pregnant with their daughter. She continued to work and pilot right up until three weeks before the baby was born. Since there was no family leave available, she combined her sick leave and vacation time to take six months off. She used that time to heal, adjust to the addition of a new baby and breastfeed.
As the time approached to go back to work, she steeled herself for having to spend long blocks of time away from home (and home for large chunks of time). She instructed her niece on the care of her daughter, who would also be the nanny while she was gone. “It takes a village,” says Annalee. “If anyone besides my niece was watching her, I would have turned around and gone home.” Thankfully, Annalee had the support she needed—both from her husband, who would adjust his schedule while she was gone, and her niece. She had her village. She was ready to go. Now to figure out the logistics of breastfeeding while flying all over the world.
Annalee’s life when not working was pumping and catching the odd hours of sleep. Pump, fly, shower, pump, sleep, fly, eat, pump, eat, fly, sleep … again and again. One of her first trips back on the job from her time at home was a flight to Paris. While in France, she continued to pump on her regular schedule but was informed that she wouldn’t be able to get back through Paris airport security. There would be no liquids at all; breast milk was out. However, throwing away all that “liquid gold” was absolutely not an option. After asking around she found a loophole: She would be allowed to transport the breast milk with a doctor's note. One of her fellow gentleman pilots (most all airline pilots are male), volunteered to fly for her to give her more time to get her doctor's note. She had just barely got her note and flew the next flight. However, it ended up being a non-issue because the milk was frozen when they went through security. All that fight for nothing!
Now her daughter is 5 years old, and Annalee has a certain level of seniority at work. There have been many times where she’s had to advocate for herself and the priorities of her family. She shares a calendar with her husband, calls home often, and adjusts her schedule to ensure that she’s home during the important events and milestones—a feat that is much easier as her children continue to grow.
This modern mom has learned to balance everyone’s needs and aspirations, including her own, and relies on the support of those who see, listen and understand her. “I rely on my faith in God and am thankful for my husband, who is the foundation of support for our family,” says Annalee.
Today’s mother may look a little different. She may navigate new challenges and overcome new hurdles, but she’s not alone.
This Mother’s Day, let’s be the children, the men, the friends, and the women who support mothers everywhere. From us to you, Happy Mother’s Day.