August 03, 2016

Life as a Working Mom

Let me start this post by saying that I am so thankful to be a working mom, to have a job at all. I am thankful to have my health, my strength, my college education (although limited), and a paycheck that allows me to pay my bills. This article is not meant to discourage the working mom, because, well, I am her. I know what it's like to be her. And I wouldn't change this "working mom" experience for anything.

With that in mind, I do have to admit that life as a working mom is not everything I thought it would be. Sometimes it is really hard. Sometimes the feeling of guilt sits on my shoulders like the weight of an elephant. I don't know why I let myself get that way, but it inevitably happens from time to time.

Let me explain. I am a working mom with an 8-month old baby. I realize that is nothing unusual or exceptional, lots of mommies out there work and take care of their littles.

My feelings of guilt do not stem from having a job while also trying to be a decent parent, but they probably do stem from the amount of time that I spend sitting in front of a screen instead of sitting in front of my baby. I try to do the majority of my work and writing during baby's early morning sleep, day-time naps, and independent play, but it isn't always that easy.

I am employed by a small finance firm and I manage the administrative department from my home, so my work day consists of managing money, handling complaints, writing and editing, completing reports, managing an email database and marketing system, and pretty much any other task that comes my way. I work every day of the week, and my husband and I juggle housework, homework, and the baby whenever he is home from work.

But let's get back to my appreciation for having a job for a moment...I didn't always understand the importance of working hard, paying my taxes, and pulling my weight. I was kind of a slacker when I was a teenage girl, but I'm so thankful that some wonderful family and friends of mine pushed me into a position where I had to grow up and learn to work hard and make my own money. Now, with the job that I have, I am able to accomplish my goals of managing an enterprise, caring for my family, and buying the necessities of life (along with some fun stuff). I'm so thankful for that.

But being thankful to have a job doesn't mean that we can't acknowledge the struggle, right? Because the struggle is REAL! It seems like I am always working and it seems like I am always in front of this computer screen. I try not to feel too much guilt for working for a living, but occasionally it creeps up any way. Life as a working mom is definitely different than anything I have ever experienced.

My typical day consists of generous amounts of coffee, baby poop explosions, customer complaints (and compliments), breastfeeding, diaper changes, deadlines, crying (hers and mine), meal prep, singing with Elmo, cleaning up spills, and poop, and crumbs, and other back to the computer for more work, writing reports, conference calls, marketing, and doing so while bouncing a fussy baby on my onto the evening routine of dinner, cleanup, bath time, story time, and nursing this baby until she's ready for sleep. My weekly adventures are usually laundry, grocery shopping, play dates, story time at the library, and work meetings.

It sounds chaotic, and it is...but it's my life, a beautifully chaotic life.

The life of a working mom is not always glamorous, regardless of what you might see from some of them on social media. When you see a tired, makeup-free face and a baby attached to the breast, please consider that this mom is probably dealing with a lot in her daily life, and she deserves a little consideration.

The life of a working mom is not always easy. We are sometimes trying to be all things to all people, trying to care for our families and our careers, give our best to everyone, and do it with a smile.

Regardless of the struggle, I am thankful to have experienced life as a working mom, because it gave me a level of understanding and sympathy that I might not have had otherwise. I am always working to find the balance between my secular job and caring for my family, and because of that, I believe that I can set a better example for my daughter, showing her what a strong, dedicated woman looks like. Of course, I let the guilt of a busy life get to me sometimes, but it is so important to remember that we're doing this FOR our kids, not to them...I'm reminded of that every time I pay my bills, or fill the refrigerator with healthy food, or rock my baby to sleep in clean, warm clothes. So remind the working moms in your life that her choices are nothing to be ashamed of, her life is probably one of the highest honors a woman could have.

written by VHS contributor// Cate Rosales