This post nails the absurdity of the pressures on working moms
Working outside the home when you have kids is no easy task. Whether you have to go back to work for financial reasons or want to go back because you love your career/need something outside motherhood/because you want to, it’s never an easy balance. One mom-of-three nails the feelings surrounding the decision and the expectations placed on those of us who do.
“Society to working moms,” Sarah Buckley Friedberg begins. “Go back to work 6-8 weeks after having the baby. The baby that you spent 9-10 months growing inside of your body. Go back to work before you have finished healing or have had time to bond with your baby,” she writes “Keep your mind on work, and not your tiny helpless baby that is being watched and cared for by someone other than you.”
Friedberg then launches into the pressure often put on working moms (and the pressure we often put on ourselves) to “break the glass ceiling” and excel at our jobs. “You can do anything a man can do! It is your job to show society this!” she says. “Show the world that women can do it all.”
She also touches on the belief that women are “supposed” to breastfeed, get their pre-baby bodies back as if we were never pregnant in the first place, and keep a clean “Pinterest worthy” home for our families. “Take the Christmas lights down. Recycle. Be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the birthday planner, the poop doula (seriously when will this end), the finder of lost things, the moderator of fights,” Friedman continues. “Be fun. Be firm. Read books. Have dance parties.”
Friedberg also reminds that in most households, the woman is the planner of all things. “Birthday parties coming up? Make sure to have presents…Don’t forget they need to dress as their favorite book character on Monday, and wear something yellow on Thursday. Oh it’s totally your call but most parents come in on their birthday and read to the entire class,” she jokes.
Except it’s rarely a joke in the competitive world of motherhood. Not only are we expected to suddenly become perfect creatures out of our former imperfect selves, but we are also compared with other moms who seemingly have their shit together 24/7 — and it’s exhausting.
We’re also required to remember, schedule, and often take our kids to various appointments even though we are working full-time because we are The Mothers and good moms do these things. “At least two school conferences a year. IEP meetings, if applicable. Parents night. Back to school night. Get to know your school night (what IS this),” she writes. But don’t forget to go on vacation, participate in a self-care routine, spend time with friends, and spend an acceptable amount of time with your kids.
And let’s not forget your spouse. “Date your spouse! It’s important to keep your relationship alive and fresh,” Friedman reminds us. “Try to go out 1-2 times a month. Good, kid free time. Hire a babysitter, they charge 22+ dollars an hour in your area so make sure to take out an extra mortgage and/or work another job to be able to afford this.”
If you aren’t tired just reading this, Friedman reminds us we should also have hobbies, “me time,” keep up with the news, and cook our families healthy meals. Her post has since gone viral but Friedberg tells Scary Mommy she had absolutely no idea her thoughts would take off like this. “It is honestly quite surreal,” she says. “I think it resonates with so many women which is why it just keeps going.”
It sure does. Even if you don’t work outside the home, motherhood is all-consuming. It’s impossible not to see yourself in Friedberg’s post, which is why many moms are sick and tired of trying to “have it all.” “THESE ARE THE GOOD TIMES,” Friedberg concludes. “Make sure to love every minute of life because before you know it all of this will be in the past. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to lean OUT.”
Amen to that.