Before I had a baby, I was always told how much work it is. Once I became one, it was evident that a baby is a full time job. Even when the baby is sleeping, there is always something that needs to be done, whether that be taking care of a house, taking care of yourself, or working in a paid position. Every mama has a full-time job until that child is out of the house. That job might entail earning a paycheck working outside the house during the day. Or it might mean channeling all their hours and efforts directly into nurturing their children during the day. While these career paths look different and change over time, both of these paths include being full time moms. And they both include being working moms too. I am a full time working mom.
Regardless of how wonderful your current situation is at home, kids take work. Tons and tons of hard work. And just when things seem to be smooth sailing with everyone sleeping, eating, and learning on track, a new challenge drops in to pull the rug back out from under you.
We are all full time moms, and we are all working moms. Simultaneously, and all the time.
I have the privilege of working outside the home and being the primary breadwinner for our family. With this privilege comes the loss of hours with my children. With this privilege comes financial stability, enormous heartache, and a huge dose of mom guilt. I feel intense sadness I feel on a daily basis for the moments that I cannot experience directly. These are the costs of my current career path. Alongside the feelings of loss, I am also highly fulfilled by being employed. I feel a sense of pride in my accomplishments and enjoy all the things I can provide for my family through my work.
But even though I work hard for my co-workers and clients every day my work is not any less hard than another mom when I do get home. I don’t stop being a mom to my children when I am in the office, and if anything I am better at my job because of this. I struggle with the term full-time mom, as it is often implied that you are either a working mom or a full time mom but not both. Which is quite simply, not the case. Why can’t I be both? When people ask me what I do, can I tell them I am a full time corporate leader and a full time mama bear to three kiddos? Can my identity as an employee and a mom be intertwined? Can I be more than the term “working mom?”
I am a full time working mom. I’m a full time corporate leader. I am a mom.
Everyday I miss watching my daughters dance to the Raffi children’s radio station during the day when I am in meetings. I’m lucky I get to catch snippets through Snapchat or videos. But I get to hear my two-year old say “dance mama!” on Saturday mornings when we cook waffles together.
I do not get to see my little ones when they get up since my husband is on drop-off duty. This allows me to beat traffic to get to the office a little earlier and be as productive as possible. But I know what color socks they are wearing, since I laid them out. I know how my daughter’s hair looks (or looked) because we did it together before bed. At lunchtime, I know what she is having because I packed it. I am just as present in those moments, and they are always in the 2nd (3rd?) outfit of the day when I get home because of how much fun they had.
When my daughter gets sick at the nanny’s house, I call my manager and my back-up teammate at work to ensure they are briefed of my immediate tasks. Then I head straight to pick her up and dive into the trenches of illness, full-time.
I rush home in THE most ridiculous traffic imaginable every evening, and (usually) cause an eruption of tears the moment I walk in. But I also get to hear the running feet down the hall and the beaming “Hi, mama” giggles that I could not hear otherwise.
I am fortunate to be able to provide my family with full benefits. I am grateful to contribute monthly to my retirement account and savings for each child. When I consider what we are able to afford in our lifestyle, I feel confident in my decision to be a full time working mom.
I think about my kids every minute of everyday, even when I am at work.
When it comes to my work ambitions, I aim high. I want to set an example for my daughter’s that they can choose any path they want in life. As they get older, I want them to understand why I work, and that choosing to work full time does not make me any less of a full time mom.
I talk about my kids to my co-workers and my clients. I talk about my work day to my kids and my husband. There is no work life balance, but a focus on work life integration instead.
I am always running late. Sprinting from the parking garage to my office elevator before my first meeting. Sprinting to the nanny’s house after pickup time. Heading home on my lunch break for appointments, or pick-up duty. Logging on to meetings in my car or my couch. Getting everyone where they need to be on time everyday is a constant challenge.
I feel lonely at work because I don’t always fit the mold of always available, happy hour-ing, loves to get a break from my kids, employee type. And I feel lonely at swim lessons on the weekends and at the park at 6 at night because I don’t always fit the mold of the traditional stay at home mom either.
Cheers to you, Working Mama.
I have to remind myself daily during my morning brew of my “why” and my “what.” Why I commit to my career for the life I am building. What kind of model I want to be for my daughters as they navigate this crazy world. It’s time we throw out the labels and the molds, and just be moms. Moms who work hard. Love deeply. Moms who strive to make this world the best world for all of our children. Cheers to you, “Working mom.”
All the best,