I’ve always said that I’m a working mom out of necessity. But not because of money.
I mean, yes, because of money.
But also because I would not survive 24 hours a day with my children. And neither would they.
Stay-at-home moms you are something else. Truly.
But just because I need time away from my kids doesn’t make working motherhood any easier. Even when you love your job and you know it’s the right choice and you would choose it 100 times over. It doesn’t make leaving your child in the hands of a stranger feel any better. Not the first time and not the 500th time.
It doesn’t make paying bills and cooking meals and cleaning the toilet go any faster. It just makes them happen less – or later – or at the expense of the little time you do have with your kids.
Working motherhood is hard, y’all. It’s wonderful and empowering and exhausting and all-consuming.
Yesterday, in one of my online mom groups, a new mom asked for support as she prepared to go back to work after taking 3 months of maternity leave with her first baby girl. She wrote that she was confident in her decision to return to work, but devastated at the thought of leaving her daughter.
Oh, mama. I remember those days.
I remember the first day. Clenching my jaw and avoiding eye contact for hours, hanging on for dear life to the tears that were threatening to fall.
I remember the next day, counting the minutes and crying in my car.
And I remember so many hours spent sitting in a storage closet, willing my milk to let down while I edited proposals and stressed over every last drop.
Oh, mama, there are good days, too.
There are grown up discussions and lunch breaks and hours at a time, uninterrupted.
There are conferences that come with 4-star hotel rooms and king sized beds – all to yourself.
Yes, there are field trips you’ll miss, first steps you’ll watch on video. There will be that awful, soul-crushing day when your toddler runs into the arms of their daycare provider instead of yours at pickup.
But there are also rides home in the car where you learn that they’ve mastered the alphabet. Or they shared a nap mat friend with their new “best” friend.
There will be times when you doubt yourself, and times when she struggles – when she begs you not to go.
But just remember mama,
every night you wake with her at 10pm, 12am and 2am, only to leave for work at 6am…
every Saturday you’re up before dawn to fold laundry…
every Sunday you spend back to back to back at soccer, gymnastics and dance that you can’t get to during the week…
every lunch break you spend paying bills and play date you miss in a meeting…
every sick day you scramble and settle on Moana as a babysitter…
Just remember you’re not alone. And you are not failing.
She can’t tell you yet mama, but you are her hero.
And you are teaching her to be a superhero, too.
She will be strong, independent, and resilient.
And she will love you just as much.
Just. As. Much.
We are all just doing the best we can. Solidarity, mama.
You’ve got this.