Most of the time, through this blog, I try to offer advice or inspiration based on my own experiences as a working mom. You won’t find that in this post.
Today I am writing to say sometimes, it just sucks being a working mom. On the days I work in the city, I leave before my children are awake. That means I don’t see my babies today until about 6 p.m. That is, unless you count the ‘dream feeding’ I did with my infant son just before leaving the house at 6 a.m. I got to work at 7:40 (no, there wasn’t unusually heavy traffic today) only to find that my computer had no internet connection. Now I wait for IT… so much for getting an early start.
My evening will be a dash home (and when I say dash, I mean moving at a snail’s pace in rush hour traffic to get to my children’s daycare an hour and a half later, if I’m lucky), where I will ensure chicken nuggets are in the oven for one child before peeling of work clothes to nurse the other. Neither child will be in bed before 9, because when else will I see them? But spending time with them in the 3 hour span I have once arriving home and before their bedtime will also include trying to feed myself, packing bags for the next day and cleaning bottles, laundry and whatever else needs it. During this time, my husband will entertain our boys while trying to get a bite himself and possibly responding to a few work emails.* Any conversation we have will involve logistics around prepping for the next day.
Being a working parent is tough (I am referring to working outside the home, for purposes of this article, because all parents, of course, work). I sometimes wonder if parents – specifically moms – of 100 years ago had the similar struggles. Sure, they probably didn’t have an hour plus commute, but they did have to make their own bread from scratch, so I am sure that took a decent amount of time. But did they feel guilty for not paying enough attention to their children while preparing the daily meals? I’m guessing probably not.
But still, parents today do feel that guilt, myself included. The aim of this post is not to provide some sage advice on how to make it easier, or how to cope better, but simply to say, I’ve been there. I feel your pain. Some days, success means all the kids had their teeth brushed and made it out the door with all items necessary for their day. And some days, that means I eat breakfast from a drive-through, thus blowing my diet for the week. Some days, I may not be the model employee and am just hanging on by a thread. But I’d like to think it all evens out. In general, I get my work done. Across the board, I manage to be a good parent, showing my kids the love and attention they deserve. But I certainly wish there was more time to just relax with them (or maybe watch them destroy the carpet with PlayDoh while I enjoy a hot meal).
Making bread from scratch is looking more and more appealing at this point. But I soldier on, just like many other working moms – and dads – and I do it with a smile, because I want my children to know what hard work looks like. And I want them to know that they are worth all the hard work my husband and I do. Sometimes the main accomplishment is just getting through the day in one piece.
NOTE: Leah wrote this post while waiting for IT, and had already cleaned off her desk in an effort to ‘kill time’. She may have also been pumping at some point while typing, cause that’s how Leah rolls. The irony of having time to kill at the office, while running about frantically at home each night, was certainly not lost on her.
*FURTHER NOTE: The hubby had a meeting that ran WAY over and did not arrive home until after 9, making my day, needless to say, even more exhausting and longer. To all those SAHMs or parents whose spouse works a super-demanding job which keeps them away in the evening, props to you. I about lost my mind!