Dear Full-Time Working Mom,
I see you there. You are the one arriving to work 30 seconds before you’d be considered late. You’ve already done half a days work and it’s not even 8:00 am yet. The kids have been dressed, fed breakfast, and dropped off at various different stops on your way to the office. Sometimes your pants are a little wrinkled or you arrive with baby spit-up on your shirt.
You nervously check your cell-phone during the meeting because your little one has been sick. You pray that daycare won’t call you to pick him up because you have no more sick days and you dread asking your boss to leave early. Someone asks you to go out to lunch, but you pass because you have to go buy soccer cleats before your daughter’s first practice tonight.
I see you hang your head when you drop off a box of store-bought Valentine cards for your preschooler’s party. You wish you would have had time to hand-make each one, but it just wasn’t happening this week. You do the same thing when you hit up the drive-thru for dinner because you got off late and there’s no way in the world you have enough time or energy to cook something remotely healthy.
When others are staying at work to get ahead for tomorrow, you are rushing out the door to pick up your kids because you’ve already been away from them for 9 hours. You can’t wait to have them back in your arms. You feel like everyone else is doing better at their job than you. When you are at work you feel guilty that you aren’t with the kids. When you are at home you are distracted with what you didn’t finish up at work that day. If you had to evaluate yourself, you’d say that you’re an okay Mom and an okay employee. Definitely not exceptional at either though.
You are always torn between your motivated, intellectual, business-self and your loving, nurturing mom-self.
Even though you know your stay-at-home mom friends often wish they could work outside the home or just have a little adult conversation…you can’t help but to feel a little bit jealous of them, but also slightly judged by them. You secretly feel left out when you see their Facebook posts about play dates at the newest indoor-play venue and you worry that your kids are missing out on having a close group of friends to play with. You also try and ignore the ugly elephant in your thoughts that they think you’re a bad mom and value your career more than your kids because you work outside the home.
I also see that you have a way of calm about you that many others do not. Things start to go wrong at work and you are the last one to overreact. It’s obvious that this catastrophe is small potatoes compared to raising three kids under the age of five. I see the kindness in your eyes when a teammate is beating herself up about a mistake. Others marvel at your patient and forgiving attitude. You understand that possessing these qualities is non-negotiable when raising children.
Working does not make you less of a mom. Being a mom doesn’t make you a weaker employee. If you are working because your family depends on it financially, I applaud you. If you work because you love what you do or it’s simply who you are, be proud of what you are accomplishing.
Repeat after me…I am good at my job. I am a good mom. I’ve got this.