My life as a fast-paced consultant was thrown through a loop after I had my first child. When I was pregnant, I knew that my baby will change my life forever, but nothing prepared me for the craziness of it all.
I’ve been a working mom for about 4 years now, and all I can say is, I have a deeper appreciation and respect for all the moms out there. Working moms wear many many hats. We are the CEO (and sometimes even CFO) of the family, the chief chef, chauffeur to your kids, personal shopper, hairdresser for your daughters, and the list goes on….
Truth is, we are constantly juggling between things. There are not enough hours in a day for us to tackle everything, and we live in a constant guilt. When we are at work, we feel guilty for not spending time with our kids, and when we are with our kids, we worry about falling behind work.
In today’s blog post, I’m going talk about some hard truths about being a working mom. The struggle is real, and here are the things that no one tells you about being a working mom:
1. My day usually starts at 6:30am. I wish I could snooze my alarm clock, but if I’m even late by a few minutes, my morning will be a mad rush. The hours between 6:30am – 8:30am are usually a like a sprint for me. I get lunch boxes ready for daycare and work, get the kids ready for school, and get everyone out the door.
2. I bribe my daughters in the morning so they would move faster and go to daycare sooner.
3. I used to be punctual for every single thing. Not anymore. We are now usually the last ones to arrive. Every morning, we barely make it in time to daycare before they shut their doors.
4. When my kids wake up sick, it’s always a constant negotiation with my husband to decide who gets to stay home to watch the kids.
5. When daycare calls because my kids are sick and needs to be picked up, I try to sneak in a couple of emails and maximize the 30-minutes leeway I have before leaving to drive them home.
6. If my kids need to stay home, and I have to work, I let my kids have more screen time but I feel guilty afterwards for allowing my daughter to go over the screen-time limit.
7. I don’t get lunch breaks anymore. During lunch hour, I scarf down my food, and spend whatever free time I have to make phone calls making pediatrician appointments, or checking amazon for the kid’s book that I’ve been wanting to order. Then it’s back to work.
8. I used to have lofty dreams of teaching my daughters how to read and write. Now, I depend on daycare teachers to educate my children because I don’t have the time to do so. Daycare teachers are my “village”, and I am so thankful that my daughters have great teachers.
9. Bedtime is a struggle every day. Do I spend more time with my kid, or do I put them to sleep so I can take back whatever free time I have between the hours of 9pm – 12am?
10. Choosing between work and my children is a never-ending dilemma. Mommy guilt is a real thing.
11. I constantly feel like I’m in a race that never ends.
12. I schedule everything to the minute. Before having kids, my schedule was jam-packed, but they just added another layer of complexity. There is no margin for error. Gotta grab milk from the grocery store before daycare pickup? Sure, let’s just hope there is no traffic because I can’t be late for daycare pickup or face a fine.
13. I hardly have time to pay attention to grooming, so I only look presentable when I need to.
14. I learn to survive on 5 hours of sleep every day. Coffee is my best friend now even though I try not to be too reliant on it.
15. There is no such thing as sleeping in on weekends anymore. By 7am, my kids would be jumping up and down our beds demanding breakfast.
16. Whenever I take a day off from work, my co-workers would ask if I’m doing anything special. Oh yes, I’m staying home to enjoy the oh-so-elusive me-time!
17. There’s a whole new meaning to personal time-offs (PTO) from work now. Our leave days are now childcare leave. We need to take time off to care for sick kids, school events, spring break, summer break and Christmas break. Sometimes I wonder why daycare needs to have spring break?
18. I have missed special events like Mother’s day brunch at daycare. Mother’s day or not, I still have to work, and I can’t be at two places at the same time.
19. Pre-pandemic, my commute to work was my break away from the craziness. With no kids yelling in the background, I could enjoy my podcast. Now, I work from home, but even my 15-minute commute from home to daycare and back to home is pure joy to me. At least I get to enjoy some music.
20. I multitask in ways I’ve never thought was possible. I never thought I could soothe a crying baby while responding to an email at the same time, but that’s a thing I do now.
21. My house is never clean. Between sleep and cleaning, I choose the former. Truth is, with young kids at home, no matter how many times you pick up the toys, there will always be a stuffy at the corner of the room, or a dried out marker on the floor.
22. I order more takeout now and I cook frozen meals for my kids. As long as they are well-fed, I am a happy mom.
23. Weekends are non-existent. It’s the time for us to catch up on grocery shopping, laundry and house mess. If not chores, then we would be at the petting zoo or the playground.
24. I have to make hard decisions. New career opportunity but it comes with traveling? No, I’ll pass.
25. There is more financial pressures to deal with now. Aside from the usual bills, there is an added daycare expense. Budgeting is like learning a whole new language now.
26. I get unsolicited comments about being a working mom, sometimes even from people who are not moms themselves.
27. The burnout is real. On some days, I can feel my body overwhelmed with fatigue, but the non-stop schedule goes on with no breaks.
Is it still worth it to be a working mom?
Mothers who work full-time often struggle with a lot things. To be able to manage the kids, family and juggle the responsibilities at work is stressful. However, we do have the advantage of having a life outside home and an opportunity to build a career.
Research has also shown that girls raised in homes with working mothers are more likely to have successful careers. I hope someday, I’ll be able to be a role model for my children.
Being a working mom is hard, but I think the key is to set realistic expectations. You will miss things, special events and come home tired, but at the end of the day, your children will learn to value hard work too.
To all the working moms out there, hang in there! You are all amazing.
Check out my other post here on how to survive working from home with 2 kids.