Struggles And Reality Of A Working Mom

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.

28 thoughts on “Struggles And Reality Of A Working Mom”

  1. Jordan | The Motherly Heap

    I felt like I was reading a part of my journal in this article. Being a working mom is double the trouble. Mom guilt was the hardest for me. It wasn’t a thriving time – it was pure survival mode.

    Pandemic hit, and I instantly became a SAHM for almost two years. But WOW – I asked myself -HOW did I ever survive working full-time, tending to home, and parenting. It was an eye-opening period for me.

    Real expectations and accepting my limits help me get it together. Asking for support was crucial too. Now, I’m working from home is a different set of troubles.

    All we can do is DO OUR BEST and let the rest go. Thanks for sharing the truth of motherhood struggles.

    1. Hi Jordan, thanks for sharing your experience. The pandemic doesn’t make it any easier for anyone, but being a parent during these times is tough. You are right about doing our best. I have learned to let things go. At the end of the day, as long as our kids are healthy and happy, I think the struggles that we go through are all worth it!

  2. I could feel your stress in every word you wrote. I hate to be another one of those people who say it will all pass, but it will. It will pass all too quickly. But I will tell you as a fellow working mom (who has worked more than not throughout my parenting journey, take the 9-10 to JUST focus on spending time with your family watching movies, playing games, going for a walk, whatever, but give yourself AND your family that dedicated hour each day.) I promise it will be time well worth spending.

    Make sure your kids know under no circumstances can they stay up a minute past 10:10 pm and expect your attention. Your MOMMY shift ends at 10 PM!! Believe it or not, that will relieve you of a lot of your Mommy guilt, will allow your family to have that dedicated time from you. And your oldest daughter looks like she’s old enough to help you prepare their lunches and such the night before for you to help with the morning routines. She may love to take on that responsibility with a few choices laid out for her to choose from. 🙂

    Do you know the average family is lucky if they spend two hours a day really devoted to spending time with their family members in the society we live in today? I don’t recall where I read that, but it stuck with me.

    I know what it’s like to juggle so much in a day. I have five kids. Three of them are now grown and moved out (and one has her own soon-to-be two-year-old daughter.) I have also worked from home Mon.-Fri. 9-5:30 PM and homeschooled my kids for many years now. My kids have been with me 24/7 along this journey.

    I don’t say this to upset you because it sounds like you’re doing a fabulous job as a mother and wife!!!!! *If I could bold this statement I would!!** I’m just offering a possible solution that may help change things for you.

    1. Hi Crystal, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! Parenting is so hard, and my kids are still young, so I have a long way more to go but I know this will all pass!
      There’s just so much at work to do, but I try to set aside some time to spend with my daughters everyday. For example, during dinner time, I try to have some meaningful conversations with my kids, and then we would go for a walk post-dinner if time permits. Every night, we would also read, and my daughters love reading, so we would usually extend bedtime reading to about half hour!
      You should be proud of yourself – 5 kids is not easy to raise. I have 2 and I feel like I’m so exhausted all the time. And it sounds like you did a fabulous job raising them too. Congratulations!

  3. Great article, being a mum in general is hard, throw work in the mix is overwhelming at times, but knowing there are always people around to support you is important and knowing it is normal. We women are really amazing!

  4. What I love about this is that you don’t try to pretend this is easy or all fun and games. I think this will be very helpful to most working moms to see that what they are going through is normal! I am sure you are a wonderful role model for your children!

  5. This is a great article that shows just what it feels like to be a working mum. It also allows me to see that I am not the only one who feels like this sometimes.

  6. Thank you for this article! I went back to work this week after maternity leave and what you said really hits home. There is so much mom guilt, but I know that my daughter is being taken care of. Realistic Expectations are so important so that you don’t drive yourself crazy!

  7. I could’ve written this myself. I agree 100% with everything. The struggle is real but at the same time, I can’t imagine my life any other way. Strange, huh…

  8. This is such a great article that lets working moms know they are not alone in how they feel. It’s so crucial to normalize the struggles that moms have to face everyday. As you said, the responsibilities don’t just stop for the weekend!

  9. Paige Stephens

    These are all great points. Working while parenting is so hard! I’ve missed something like 22 days of work with sick kids this year.

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