Working Mother

The Working Mom Struggle

I love this article! How Invisible Work & Sacrifices Affect Working Moms by Anne Kenny & Natalie Tulsiani on Medium. There are plenty of articles about working moms that focus on how to get it all done without asking why “it” all needs to be done. Finally, an article that looks at the sacrifices moms make every day with work, family, relationships, and even their own needs. I really wanted to sit down with all these moms over coffee (or wine) and say, “I feel your pain.”

When I moved from stay at home mom (who really was not home much) to working mom, I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep doing all the things I had done before. I am a supermom so why shouldn’t I be able to do all the cleaning, get the kids to all the activities, take care of all of the medical appointments, and make dinner from scratch every night?

My husband fully supported the decision but I was the one who made the actual decision so he shouldn’t have to “suffer” by adding more responsibilities.

My kids are used to having me do the bedtime routine, so why should they have to adjust to having dad take care of some (or all) of this?

I’ve always been the one to organize kids’ activities and make they get there on time with all the supplies they need. If I don’t do this, I’m certain their dad will forget.

And I still need to prove to this company that the “risk” they took to hire a mom returning to work was worth it so I need to work my tail off. Taking my lunch hour to call for doctor’s appointments will make them think I am not dedicated to my work.

I was trying so hard to make my transition to working mom go seamlessly that I was suffering silently. (Ok, maybe not so silently as my occasional teary or b#tchy outbursts showed.) I didn’t want any one to “suffer.” So I did all the suffering. (Sound familiar?)

So, what do we do now?

Make parenthood more visible so moms can show up as their true selves. 

When the authors made this suggestion, it really hit home for me. I tend not to talk about my life outside of work while I am at work for two reasons. First, I really want to focus on the work that needs to get done so I can get out of there early enough to chauffeur my kids to the next activity. Second, I don’t want it to seem as though I am using my parent status as an excuse or to ask for special privileges.

It’s not about special treatment, it’s about understanding.

Just think about those posts you have seen from working moms talking about all they do in the morning before even starting work. It’s not an excuse, it simply puts things in a frame of reference.

For example, I prefer that my first 30 minutes at work be meetings free. Not just because I can occasionally be late (hello, life!), but because I need to actually shift my brain from mom to work and I want to be mentally present at work meetings.

After all, I probably forgot something, or need to add something to the grocery list, or need to re-schedule something, or email a teacher, or pay for the dance registration that I forgot last night, or… (you get the picture.)

So do you want me at the meeting right away when my brain will still be moving from mom to work mode? Or can you wait until I have “downloaded” everything from the morning chaos at home so I can be entirely present at work?

Not an excuse – an understanding.

What steps have you taken to make your invisible sacrifices more visible?

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