Our son’s college graduation ceremony was cancelled in May due to CV-19. They had a simple online video acknowledgement of the occasion with a few speakers, which was the best they could do during the global pandemic.
Our son wasn’t too disappointed, but Mrs. Fire Station was not happy at all. She was really looking forward to seeing him walk across the stage and get his diploma. We are all resigned to the fact that big ceremonies are not possible in 2020, but he’s our only child, so that experience won’t happen again at our house.
For a stay-at-home mom, your child’s graduation ceremony is kind of a proxy for having your own retirement party. It is a time to celebrate a major milestone for the graduate, but also for the parents that helped get them there. Especially the mom that was home with him all of those years and taught him his numbers, started him reading, and first took him to preschool.
Unlike the opportunity I had to have a retirement party at work – with colleagues, champagne toasts, and a chocolate cake – a stay-at-home mom misses that final, ceremonial experience. Since she didn’t walk away from a corporate job like I did, she doesn’t always feel like she is retired the same way that I do.
As a result, when people ask her what she does for work, she has a hard time saying she is ‘retired’. While she provided for our family in many ways over the years, her role ended more quietly and without the same definite, completion.
(In fact, you can argue that motherhood (or fatherhood) is a role that never ends, especially since our son is living and working from our house during the pandemic.)
So here’s a salute to all of the stay-at-home mothers that retired without the ceremony that they are due. May you all enjoy the contentment from looking back on your years of work that those of us retired from MegaCorp do!
Image Credit: Pixabay
7 thoughts on “A Different Type of Retirement”
“Retirement party” is a celebration for the lucky few nowadays. In the ad game, virtually no one gets a party. Almost always, one is terminated and exited with as little fanfare as possible. Agencies are like villages, where everyone knows your fate before you do. If you are sensitive enough beforehand to note no one wants to too look you in the eye or chat, you can mentally prepare to go. That’s why I say “Go Retire Yourself,” Make the rest of your life a party Of the things that matter most to you.
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“Go retire yourself” is a great call-to-action in a tough business. Agency people – and agencies themselves – were always being eliminated or restructured. Best to take things in your own hands.
The MegaCorp we partnered at was similar – we used to say “there are no retirement parties for marketers, unless you make CEO.” All up or out, otherwise. The only retirement party I ever went to there was for our friend Peter R.
Our friend Chris O’ hosted a dinner for me in NY about a month after I left. I’m forever grateful for the client who treated me as a valuable colleague. He and a small gathering of agency friends gathered to toast each other for days gone by and days yet to come.
I also attended the Peter R. retirement party. It was a blast. I think I may have been the only agency guy there. In the denouement, we were the last two people who remained, and reminisced – mostly about our previous beloved companies. We’re still in touch, and he regularly connects with Peter B. Personal connections last. Companies don’t.
I haven’t chatted with him in a bit. I’ll have to reconnect with him soon.
Congrats on your son’s graduation! I’ve never really thought about the retirement of a stay-at-home mom. Interesting dynamic… You can always celebrate in other ways. Life is great at this point, so enjoy!
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Yes, life is great. So many people are dealing with so much right now.