To the working mom: I see you.
You're over there wondering if you left your cell phone at home, why on earth you have your toddlers sippy cup in your purse and how you got peanut butter on your shoulder.
Will anyone notice?
Between meetings and emails you wonder about your babies, being cared for by someone else while you try to stay on task, simultaneously fighting off distraction and exhaustion.
You think about how your toddler was “pretend” feeding and burping his Mickey Mouse doll and the baby, engaged in full on aerobics under his play gym as you stole kisses and flung yourself out the door.
You miss them.
By lunch time you are either feeling accomplished or drained. Maybe both.
Maybe you work through lunch so you can get home sooner to see your kids. Or maybe you work through lunch because you know you are behind and the only way to get ahead and be considered for that next big promotion is by putting in the time.
You jam through meetings, work to stay engaged and alert in front of your superiors, and do whatever you need to do to “fit in” at work. To not be perceived as the tired, overstressed mom (that you are) but instead the energized, excited employee working towards the next big thing.
You want to be accepted.
But when your boss tells you that you “seem” tired, all you want to do is punch him/her in the face.
Instead, you smile and act as though everything is fine - because, really, he/she doesn’t want to hear that you were up all night with a sick child or had a chaotic start juggling diaper changes, breakfast feedings and clean up - all before you attempted to shower.
You strive to live up to the expectations.
The expectations to work past five, put in over 40 hours a week and then continue to check your phone for important emails/texts when at home.
This is what leads to “success”, right? And, if you aren’t running at 100 miles an hour during the day, staying late or coming in early, then you aren’t working hard enough. Or that’s at least the unspoken perception.
These habits become inhibitors and you become depleted - emotionally & physically spent. You ask yourself if it’s possible to have a career and be an involved mom. You want to do it all, but sometimes it seems impossible.
Why? Do 60 hour work weeks get you some kind of badge of honor?
Does working 40 hours a week make anyone less valuable? Less productive?
Who says you can't leave at 5pm? Yes, you find great joy and satisfaction from your job but you LOVE your kids with every ounce of your being. You deserve balance in your life, you need balance in your life.
Working mom - I challenge you to show up at work and try to disconnect when you leave. To put expectations in check and believe that while success and promotions are definitely great goals to strive for, so is allowing yourself to unwind and spend time with your family.
You CAN do both. You just need to figure out what that balance looks like, for you. It isn't always going to be perfectly 50/50, it isn't always going to be seamless. But, keeping yourself in check will make integrating work and family a little bit easier.
The work will be there. Unplug when you exit the building, and reconnect with home. With family. And, do it without the guilt.
Do it for you.