How I'm Handling Having Two Kids As A Working Mom

by Kimberly Tice
A woman pushing a baby in a stroller and walking her toddler daughter
monkeybusinessimages / Getty

I recently took my two month old daughter to a local fundraising event for women. I left my 3-year-old son at home so I could attempt to have some form of conversation with the other adults in attendance. During one such exchange, I was asked to be a speaker at an event for a local mother’s group. This wasn’t shocking because I do that sort of thing. I asked what topic they wanted me to discuss. Would it be speech and language, feeding therapy, or literacy? These are the topics I specialize in, write about, and occasionally speak about at events.

Then the woman said, “Why don’t you speak about how to smoothly transition into being a mother of two.” My first thought was, “I can’t teach that seminar. I need that seminar.” Then I immediately thought, “Holy shit! I look like I’m handling this well enough to help others?”

Driving home with my sleeping daughter in the car, I reflected on how this could even be possible. When I thought about it, I guess I look like I really have it together. I’m the mom who cuts my kid’s food into fun shapes. I frequently do Pinterest projects, like sensory bins. My 3-year-old actually eats fruits and veggies daily.

We also read together each day and he enjoys it. I’m continuing to develop my multitasking mom skills. (I can operate a breast pump with one hand while simultaneously building a Lego dinosaur with the other!) My kids are generally happy and healthy. I also have three more children’s books being released this year.

I can see how people could be confused and think I have this parenting thing under control.

Let’s set the record straight.

In the last two months since my daughter was born I’ve forgotten to pay four different bills. Hello, late fees!

I am brought to tears at least two times per week by the overwhelming amount of stress that comes with two kids and two part time jobs.

I feel like I’m doing everything half-assed.

I make most of my work deadlines by the skin of my teeth.

I’m so incredibly grateful that I was able to breastfeed my son and now my daughter. But the stress of packing up and cleaning pump parts at work several times a day is killing me. (Let’s not forget about needing to bring a gallon of water with tons of food every single day because I’m starving.)

On the really tough days, I hide from the kids and eat whipped cream straight out of the can. Sometimes while crying, sometimes not. Depends on how bad the day was.

So there you have it. If you see a “together” mom, even one organized enough to teach a seminar on parenting, know that she probably still has to hide somewhere and eat whipped cream straight out of the can to deal with life. (Or she has some other bizarre coping mechanism.)

The point is, no one effortlessly handles being a mother of two.