Hi there, Working Mom.
Let me start by saying: You are good enough. You are more than enough. Your child loves you enough. I thought you might need to hear that today.
I see you. I hear you. I understand you.
See, there is a club that we share membership in. We are the Working Moms of America. And while membership to this “exclusive” club gets you plenty of benefits, it is not without pain and heartache. We share the same thoughts and feelings.
We both understand what it is like to put our makeup on in the morning and silently count the hours until we get to see our nugget again. We both feel the heaviness in our heart when we drop our little one off at daycare or the babysitter’s. We both worry endlessly that our sweet babies will start to cry, not as we drop them off, but as we pick them up — sad that they have to leave wherever they are. Our experience is the same. The guilt is almost palpable.
The guilt doesn’t end there. It follows you to work, where it transforms into guilt that you aren’t as focused as you once were. Your thoughts are constantly on your child. You’re scattered, you’re exhausted from being up with the baby at night, and you cannot wait until you can leave work to rush home, where the cycle will continue the following day.
The guilt is always with you. I feel it too. This is the cross we must bear. And while it is necessary, it is a heavy burden. Yet, although it is heavy, it is also a blessing. It is a blessing that I can teach my child work ethic and commitment. Guilt and blessings are not mutually exclusive.
So how can we relieve some of this guilt? These are some ways to start:
1. Quit should-ing all over yourself. Accept what is and what cannot be.
2. Quit focusing on the long-term. The weekends or holidays seem so far away, which only makes you sad that all that quality time with your child is out of reach. Instead, focus on getting through today. Eight hours seems a lot more doable than five days.
3. Be “good enough.” You are not going to be the perfect mother. You are not going to be the perfect employee. You are good enough, and that’s all you have to be.
4. Cleanse your inner circle of people who “should” all over you. Mom-shaming is the worst. Fellow moms who don’t support other moms seem to go against nature, but they exist. Get rid of them. Today. Right now. Surround yourself with fellow working moms or others who support you. You will feel so much lighter.
5. Put your phone away. Seriously, moms, when you’re home, put away social media. Put away all distractions. Give your child the most of yourself during the short time you have with them. Facebook and Pinterest will be there when they go to bed.
6. Be clear with your boss. They know you’re a mom, and hopefully, they are supportive of it. Come to a clear understanding that when you clock out promptly at 4:30, it is not out of lack of ambition or laziness. It is only to maintain a work-life balance.
7. If all else fails, make a list. Make a list of all the ways your child is benefiting from you working. It is more than financial stability. You are providing an example of hard work. You are setting the stage for your child to understand that dreams can be achieved. That is invaluable.
We all need that hug at the end of the day, letting us know that we are doing a good job. Here is my hug to you. Again, you are good enough. You are more than enough. And you are most definitely not bearing this cross alone.
A fellow working mom