Having kids and becoming a mom was the hardest, most wonderful, heart-filling, time-consuming thing I have ever done. When I had my first son, I was lucky enough to be able to start working part-time so that I could also have ample time at home with him. Now that I have two kids, the struggle of balancing work-life and mom-life has definitely increased. My oldest struggles with chronic health issues, which requires a number of hospital visits and doctor’s appointments. I’m lucky to have a supportive team at work and enough time off to get him the care that he needs. But not all of my friends are as lucky. Many of my friends used up all of their paid time off on maternity leave. When their kids get sick, they have to figure out if they can take unpaid time off, if they can somehow manage to work next to a sick kid, or find child care. Most of us only had 12 weeks at home to recover from birth and spend time with our new baby, but some of my friends were only able to take six weeks.
When I first started writing about being a working mom, I thought about the pull of job duties and the needs of my kids; hitting deadlines and attending meetings, while simultaneously folding laundry and making my toddler lunch. I work remotely and, although one of my sons is in daycare full time, my other son is still at home with me. I won’t lie, It’s a lot. Some days I attend meetings with my son on my lap, and some days he watches way too much TV. But the more I thought about the term “working mom,” the more I realized that, regardless of having a paying job “outside the home,” all moms (and caregivers) are working. It’s a 24/7 job, with no paid time off.
I think the most important point of National Working Moms Day that I’d like to remind everyone is that every mom is a working mom. Sure, some of us have a job outside the home. That certainly comes with positives and negatives. Being able to leave the house, focus on work tasks, and have adult conversations is something I took for granted before kids. In contrast, the ability to stay at home, in my sweats, playing with my kid is also a luxury I know many moms desire. With each of those situations, however, come similar struggles. Missing our kids throughout the day, having to find time away from work to take kids to the doctor, the monotony of singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the 853rd time before noon, or the stress of finding enough activities to keep your toddler entertained. It’s all hard. And it’s all beautiful. So, on this day to celebrate working moms, I encourage everyone to remember, we’re all working, whether it be inside or outside the home. We’re all doing the best we can. And our best is good enough.