People, Person, Blonde, Female, Woman

Parenthood and Workinghood: When Worlds Collide

By Alexa Cushman

Over the past nearly six years of motherhood, I’ve amassed quite a portfolio of artwork from my children, some more special than others. I can’t keep every piece, or we’d be swimming in paper, glitter dust, random feathers and cotton balls, and other art supplies. But in a tupperware storage box in their closets, every few weeks, I add a few pieces that mean something to their father and me — things that will bring a nostalgic tear to my eye one day, or when I have a sullen teenager, I’ll press tightly to my chest upon the sight of it, and wish for the days when they wanted one more kiss at drop off, or fought over who got to sit in my lap to read that night’s story.

My favorite pieces are the ones they create each Mother’s Day, because it gives me a glimpse of how my kids see me. I’m not a big fan of made up holidays like Mother’s Day, but if it gets me adorable artwork that gives me a glimpse into how their little minds work, I’ll take it.

I know right now my 11 month-old twin girls have zero opinions of me unless I don’t get the Cheerios on their high-chair trays fast enough. My three and five-year-old sons though — oh, the honesty just flows at this age!

I know these two are taking in everything that I say (and do), and their sisters are not far behind them. I’ve learned this the hard way on occasion with certain exchanges that have left my face flushed red, and my lips stammering to spit out a response (and most of all, don’t laugh, for the love of goodness, don’t laugh or your kids will do it again!).

Like when I dropped my lunch bag a few months ago on the way out the door and my three-year-old immediately barked in response, “Damnit!,” with a foot stomp.
((Again — don’t laugh, Alexa!))

So as a working parent, and especially a mother, it feels like there is a new article, or thought piece, or some blog titled, “To the mom who works…” showing up each week on my social media feed, and I don’t want to contribute to the banter.

Plus, as a mother of four kids, who works full-time, it limits the amount of time I even have to write this blog.

I will say this on the subject: I like knowing that when I go to work each day, I make a difference for the future of my kids. Not just in the paycheck and benefits I bring home that helps put a roof over their head, but in the actual work I get to do here at Appian.

Being a part of the healthcare and life sciences team, we help companies shape the future of these industries and the patient and member experience.

Having been on the forefront of that experience over the past year with delivering twins, you can bet I’ve spent my fair share of time advocating for my children’s health services to be covered by insurance, reversing miscalculated billings, and experiencing life as a patient in Northern Virginia’s largest hospital system.

I know that because of the work our healthcare and life sciences teams do here at Appian, more children like my daughter Sydney will not have to fight and prove with letter after letter and call after call why they need a DOC Band and physical therapy to be covered by their insurance so they can use all of their neck and shoulder muscles.

We’re making it easier for medical claims to get paid right the first time, so the precious time parents do have with their children isn’t spent on the phone haggling over procedure codes and deductible amounts.

So this Mother’s Day, when my children handed me their endearing, and often entertaining, pieces of artwork — the art they create when I’m paying someone else to teach them while I, “work with my computer” as they say — I know that that work isn’t just punching a time card. It’s doing work I not only truly enjoy, but work I feel passionate about, and work that fulfills me as both a professional and a mother helping improve population health as a whole, however small my footprint may be.

Parenthood and Workinghood: When Worlds Collide was originally published in AppianLIFE on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Published on May 22, 2018

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