The first adjective that comes to mind is hard. Then again, that is an accurate description of motherhood, no matter what kind of mom you are.
I think, though, that being a working mom (or an At Work Mom) is a different kind of hard. One that you can’t possibly understand until you’ve lived it.
Think about it for a minute — I have all the same difficulties as a SAHM — the laundry, dishes, toy clean up, toddler tantrums, grocery shopping, doctor appointments, after school activities, etc. However, I am juggling all of that on top of a crazy work schedule, and all the stress and responsibilities that come along with my job. Not to mention that I have to worry about who is going to watch the kids while we are at work, and of course I worry about whether or not I am spending enough quality time with each child, whether or not we have enough quality family time, and whether or not I am neglecting my role as a wife, and an employee.
I don’t get to stay home with my kids when one of them is sick. Instead, I have to leave the house, fighting back the tears, as my child is throwing a tantrum on the kitchen floor because he wants Mommy to hold him. Once I get to work, I work my ass off for 8-10 hours. Then I return home, only to find said child passed out on the couch.
Being an at work mom means constantly wondering if your kids are suffering from not having a stable schedule. Which means you are always looking for ways to prepare them for your crazy schedule, so that they know what to expect.
Being an at work mom sometimes means that I am up packing lunches in the middle of night for children that I won’t see in the morning. But being an at work mom does not mean that I get out of the responsibilities of being their mother. It means setting alarms to call and make sure they are getting ready on time, and to remind me to call before bedtime. I set these alarms on my phone, so that time doesn’t get away from we while I’m busy being a good little worker bee. So that I remember to stop and be a mom, and make sure that my kids remember to do the important stuff. Ya know, find library books, put on clean underwear, etc. My crazy schedule means that sometimes I don’t get to practice spelling words, or have the chance to tell them that I love them before they leave for school. Therefore, part of packing lunches is writing the notes that serve as my voice when I’m not actually around.
It means that while I too have massive piles of laundry, and a kitchen full of dirty dishes and counters that need cleaned, I have to choose between spending my day off just hanging out with the kids, or completing those chores. If I’m being honest, most days off are spent just being lazy with them, because my dirty dishes aren’t going anywhere, but someday, my kids will.
I have all the same problems and struggles as a SAHM. All of the same, and then a few more.
Everyone talks about how hard it is to be a stay at home mom. No one even bothers to mention the struggle that is being an at work mom.
I think it is important for everyone to remember that it’s hard. And I’m not doing it alone. My husband is amazing. But no matter how great my husband is, it doesn’t change the fact that above all else, I am a mom. I will always worry, and I will always feel guilty for it.
Remember that the next time you encounter a working mom. Or the next time you think to yourself that the cashier at whatever store seemed rude. I’d just about bet that she wasn’t trying to be rude. I’d just about bet that she is just a working mom, trying to balance all of her responsibilities, trying to keep her worry in check about the sick toddler she left at home today, or trying not to worry about how the new babysitter is doing. Trying to figure out how to do too many things in not enough time.
Sorry if my resting bitch face offends you, but I’m a little busy figuring out how to be a damn superhero.