Dear Working Mom,
You’re doing a great job. I know you need to hear that. Being away from your kids so much isn’t always an easy thing. In fact, it’s the hardest. But I get you, Working Mom, because I am you.
The “Mom Guilt” you feel is real. I feel it too. Do my kids know I love them? Do they see me enough? Am I giving them enough time and attention? Am I scarring them for life?
You’re not alone, Working Mom. The workforce is full of women like you—strong, determined, hard-working mamas set out to provide for their families and maybe even enjoy themselves along the way. I know you sometimes feel like you can’t win. You feel like if you succeed at work, you fail at home. You feel like everything you do away from your kids outside of work becomes a choice between that thing and seeing your kids that day. You wish you had more me time than just the commute to and from your workplace. You long for more time with your kids while simultaneously wishing it were their bedtime so you can wash the dishes, pick up the toys, prepare for the next day, and go to bed yourself. You are on the go from the time you wake up until the time you fall into bed. You wish days were 36 hours instead of 24.
I know that working isn’t always a choice, Mama. For some of you, it is—some of you know that being a SAHM is a calling you didn’t receive and that working away from home actually makes you a better mom. I respect that. Women should be allowed to have a career and a family. No shame in that at all, Mama. But, I also know many of you working moms did not choose to work but rather have to work. I know this makes it harder—you feel stuck. You wish for something different—for some way to pay your bills, see your kids, and be more content.
You’re not alone, Working Mom. You’re not alone at school drop-offs in the morning, praying there isn’t an accident on your way to work, making you late again. You’re not alone when you use your precious vacation time to stay home with your babies when they’re too sick for school. You’re not alone when you’re heartbroken while sending them to school sick because you don’t have any time-off left to use. You’re not alone when you don’t want to go out with friends or even have a date night on the weekends because it means even more time away from your kids.
You’re not alone with store-bought cupcakes for the class party because there’s no way you’d have time to make them yourself (but this is actually a victory, Mama, because your kids don’t know the difference and are just happy that you remembered). You’re not alone when you have tears in your eyes at morning drop-off when your littles don’t want you to go, simultaneously coupled with the feeling of relief that you’ll get a “break” at work (you’re not alone in realizing there’s no such thing as a break). You’re not alone when you feel like your baby loves your nanny more than you (they don’t).
You’re not alone when you have spit-up on your clothes, carting your breast pump and milk back and forth, and drinking your third cup of coffee just to get through the day because your little still isn’t sleeping through the night. You’re not alone when you look through your iPhone pics from the weekend, wondering what your baby is up to at that moment. You’re not alone when you cry yourself to sleep because you missed their first steps or first word. You want so badly to witness every milestone, and you feel like a failure when you don’t. You’re not alone when you question every decision, wondering if you’re doing enough. You are enough, Working Mom.
You’re not alone when you’re trying to figure out how to buy groceries, cook dinner, wash the dishes, clean the house, do the laundry, run the errands, and basically just keep your house running in addition to working, commuting, and spending quality time with your kids. You’re not alone when you’re struggling to physically and mentally relax because there’s always something to be done. A mother’s work is never done, Mama. You know that better than anyone.
But you’re really not alone when you’re teaching your kids—engaging them, rocking them, laughing with them, crying with them, and showing them the difference between right and wrong. You do this everyday, Mama. You kiss boo-boos, shoo away monsters, sing silly songs, and read one more bedtime story (and skip pages so you can get to the end quicker). You cherish your time with them and tell them you love them at every opportunity.
Mama, you’re building the world for your kids. You’re shaping who they will become by setting the example that it is possible to have it all—that, while difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible, you can balance work and family. You’re a world builder. Sure, you have to sacrifice some other things along the way, Mama, but your kids know you love them, and they’re learning from you every day. One day they’ll know that even if you’re doing it because you want to, when it comes down to it, you do it all for them.
I hear it gets easier as our kids get older, that these are the “hard” days, but they’re also the best days. Let’s make the most of them together.
We’re great mothers, Working Mom.
We’re doing the best we can.
We’ve got this.