7 Things I Want My Friends to Know About Being a Working Mom
It's been 23 weeks since my little bundle has come into this world. And let me tell ya, it's been 23 weeks of refining work. On my heart, my soul, my boy, my pretty much everything.
And it's been desperately, wonderfully good.
The air is cool, here. Summer has officially kissed us goodbye and our scarves and sweatshirts are calling to us from our closets. Booties on. Pumpkin spice lattes as permanent, steaming extension of our hands.
Basic is as basic does, right?
(For the record, I hate the term "basic" -- if something is good it's good. Just me? Mmkay.)
The point is, the season is changing. And we are too. With the new season comes a new role, new thoughts, new feelings swirling around. Here's what I want my friends to know about being a working mama:
WE'RE A LITTLE MORE FRAGILE THESE DAYS
Maybe it's the lack of sleep. Or the breast-feeding hormones. Or that we feel as though we're under scrutiny for the choices we make with our children. Or the fact that our bodies didn't bounce back the way we thought they would.
Or the fact that a tiny human life is dependent upon us for everything.
But words cut a little deeper, somehow. What once were casual disagreements have the potential to start social wars.
Whatever the case, our hearts are a little more tender.
AT THE SAME TIME WE FEEL LIKE WE CAN DO ANYTHING
We send emails while we nurse. We come home from a 10-hour work day and pick up right where we left off: with laundry, with doctors appointments, with changing diapers and bath time. The mental load is real, and we carry it in our pump bags along with with what our work schedules need from us.
It's incredibly empowering. You truly don't know what you're capable of until you're pushed to your absolute limit and then asked to take 20 more steps forward.
IT'S EASY TO FEEL LEFT OUT
Whether at home, the office or in social circles, sometimes we may feel about 30 steps behind everyone else. If we're new at this whole motherhood enterprise, we may have made the mistake of thinking that life would settle back down and that everything would return to normal.
But the truth is, having a baby, adding another human to your family, means life will never be the same. It's a powerful blessing that takes hold of your attention, your goals, your day-to-day. Things like nights out used to fold in easily to busy weeks.
Now they require more effort. Sometimes that effort is there. And sometimes, mama's just gotta fall asleep on the couch at 9:30 and call it a day.
I WANT YOU TO COME OVER, BUT I DON'T WANT TO CLEAN MY HOUSE
Plain and simple. "Adult time," as a friend calls it, happens between the hours of 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. If I have to choose between connecting with my husband and sweeping the kitchen floor, which do you think I'm going to choose? Which is more meaningful at the end of the day?
While it feels good to roll up your sleeves and have a job that has a finite start and end, I don't want to be ruled by what I should be doing.
WE DON'T MEAN TO FLOCK TO OUR NEW MOM FRIENDS
We maybe even made a mini note to ourselves when friends who had babies before us started disappearing from girls night (or disappearing all together) that would never be us.
We didn't know what we didn't know. Sometimes it's nice to have a confidant, a person in the trenches alongside you who you don't have to explain anything to, they just know.
That doesn't mean we value anyone in any other life stage any less. Pinky promise.
WE'RE TRYING TO BALANCE BEING AUTHENTIC WITHOUT COMPLAINING
Here's the thing: being a working mom isn't hard, but it's not easy.
Just like everything else with motherhood, there's a contradiction to everything. It's hard to find a line between being completely honest with how we're feeling while at the same time knowing that there are women out there just like us who would give anything to be where we are.
Because this season of life is completely wonderful, but like with any refining work, it's not without its challenges.
YOU CAN DO IT, TOO
Maybe we've been complaining too much. Maybe the media portrays working moms as frazzled, high-strung, frizzy haired messes. And maybe the stereotype fits us as snug as a pair of yoga pants. But however much you hear how difficult it is, know that if this is a step you want to take in your life ahead, we're totally here for you.