By the time you read this, Mother’s Day 2019 has come and gone. Yet, all the excitement and gratitude toward the women who gave birth to us or raised us, or were our maternal connection later in life, has me thinking about their sacrifices long after the flutter dies down. Moms work in every industry and make sacrifices for both their offspring and their occupations, and I truly believe they are goddesses among men. In the service industry, I work alongside some of the most incredible moms, and I can’t help but take note of their drive, compassion and unyielding ability to simply keep going for the sake of their families. Moms of the industry — from servers to bartenders to cooks to dishwashers and beyond — I see you. You often have to play mom for even us coworkers, because it’s who you are, and you simply can’t shake that fiery, protective, loving instinct within you no matter who’s around.
This is a collective thank you for all that you do.
As I write this, I’m reeling over talks I had with a coworker at the bar last night, on Mother’s Day eve. Tiffany is a server where I work and the mother of four. Tiffany is a professional. She can handle her shit. Whether it is a huge party of bachelorettes ordering every cocktail in the book on separate checks, or handling 12 tables at once just after management sent two other servers home, she owns it with prowess, juggling guests and side work just as I imagine she does with her children. As our Saturday night died down, I asked Tiff what she had going on for Mother’s Day.
“I’ll be here!” she said.
I inquired about her next day off.
“I think Tuesday?” she said, cocking her head, obviously tired and unsure. Tiffany laughed as she flipped through her book of various credit card receipts, shaking her head as if to say, “This is my normal, it is what it is.”
Just as Tiffany and I were discussing Mother’s Day, a little boy meandered in looking for his dad, who works in the kitchen. He’d been dropped off by someone, maybe his mom, perhaps his babysitter, but his father was just about to get off and take him home. She set the little boy up at a side table in front of a TV to wait for him, got him something to drink and asked if she could get him something to eat. She couldn’t shake her motherly instincts if she tried. She told me how much he reminded her of her son, who is 11, and she bragged on her son’s manners for a moment. She called her daughter and asked to talk to her grandbaby on FaceTime, but he had just gone to sleep. They held the phone above the sleeping, angelic child, and she gushed quietly for a moment as she held the phone up for us to see the baby. She’s so proud of her family and works so incredibly hard, day in and day out. This industry can suck the life out of anyone on some days, and she’s got no choice but to keep going.
She’s a mom on a mission.
“There’s still a stigma around moms in the service industry,” said Maggie Luckett, a bartender in Crescent Hill, “I’ve been turned down for jobs before for having children.”
Luckett said she understands why that might happen because there’s no job that would come before her kids, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s wrong. This industry can make it incredibly hard for working moms as it is, and considering we live in a community that’s saturated with restaurants, no mom should have trouble finding work if they want it. “And customers over 40?” she continued. “Sometimes, I find myself not even mentioning that I have children because I’ve received too many: ‘Why don’t you get a real job to support your family?’”
Luckett said that longer, later hours make babysitters more expensive, and day-cares cater to 9-to-5 jobs, but that since her kids are too young for school, she’s grateful to be at home with them during the day.
“At the end of the day, it keeps my children and I fed, and allows flexibility in raising my tiny humans in a community of people I adore, they adore and who absolutely adore them. There are no benefits and the hours are brutal. It’s a lifestyle that’s hard to kick, but I’m doing it, and know other powerful, hard-working mommas doing the same.”
So, cheers to you, mamas, long after Mom’s Day. You’re goddesses among men. •