The Working Mom's Dirty Little Secret
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
The ugly truth, for better or worse, about why "Having It All" is a cruel myth.
Much is made among career-minded women about having it all.
Spoiler alert: We can't. (Now hear me out. )
We've worked hard, put in the hours and educated ourselves to succeed in our fields. When it came time to start our families, we carried our burgeoning baby bumps around the office for nine months. We weighed our options regarding maternity leave, tied up loose ends and passed the batons on our projects as our due dates approached.
We wondered what it would all be like when we returned.
Here's the thing: everyone's circumstances are different. But I think we can all agree on one point...
It's really f**king hard.
And for my part, I was really unprepared.
You see, while we've been eyeing that glass ceiling, it seems many of us have wholly underestimated the demands of motherhood. I mean, listen -- if I can land a coveted job and climb the corporate ladder, creating and raising a tiny human should be no problem, right? Everyone does it!
Cheers to the working moms who make it look easy!
Now, let's start being honest about what it means...
I had been warned about maternity leave.
Eat, sleep, repeat.
You'll be lucky to get a shower in.
Don't you dare forget about those five S's!
RIP to your nipples.
No one warned me about going back to work.
It will feel like a time warp.
You'll feel like an alien.
You'll get to spend only 1/8th of the day with your baby.
The (minuscule amount of) "quality time" you will have with your child will also coincide with the "witching hour."
Even with a full time job, you'll still shoulder the responsibilities of the default parent.
Suddenly, I'm juggling two full time jobs. And in a cruel twist of fate, I somehow didn't end up with 200 percent of myself to give or an extra eight-to-twelve hours in the day.
Having it all and balancing it all are two very different things. And the former, well, it's kind of a myth.
Be present, they say. Plug in and fully engage at work. Unplug and fully engage at home.
Sure, I say. Remind me not to miss my baby at work. Remind me not to think about work at home.
Remind my iPhone not to buzz with regular reminders of my dual life.
The best we can hope for is balance. Savoring the moments that bring us joy from each side. Recognizing and respecting that we're missing moments at home... And we're missing opportunities at work.
To complain about it isn't fair, because we're grateful for both entities. We work hard for our jobs and we love them. We work harder for our babies and we love them even more.
But being everything to everyone is an impossible task. And at the end of the day, you win some and you lose some.
Happy Hour with co-workers!
Missing bedtime cuddles.
Business trip to a new city!
Multiple days away from your child. (Maybe it's a fun getaway, maybe it rips your heart out.)
Clocking out at 4pm to feed and bathe your baby!
Passed over for a promotion. Regular eye-rolls from your colleagues without kids.
So, what's the secret to balancing it all?
Do what fills your cup. Appreciate each moment for what it is. Forgive yourself for the things you'll miss.
And every once in a while, call in sick and book yourself a spa day.
Mom Needs Merlot
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