20 Lessons I Have Learnt After 2 Years As A Working Mom

 

It has been 2 years since I went back to work post my maternity leave. I want to say time flies but maybe not. Time certainly didn’t fly when I had to wake up early every working day and worry about my average every quarter.

 

It’s anything but easy to balance family life along with a career, something more women have to do than men. Not fair, I know. But I don’t want to sound ungrateful because unlike many other women I had the support I needed but still it has been a lot of hard work with more payoffs from my little girl than at work.

 

M was just 7 months old when I left her in the care of total strangers who have now become her family. Yes, you don’t know how much of a relief that is. It wasn’t easy leaving her there and the guilt is the same even today.

 

Let me tell you something, the conversations in my head about the pros and cons of being a working mother still go on today. Needless to say, the jury is still out on which side wins.

 

For regular working moms like us, we need to keep fighting the fight because every win, however small, is one that keeps our dreams alive for one more day.

 

But there are definitely some things I have realised and learnt over these 2 years. I have worked harder than I have all my life in the past 24 months. So, when I say, I have a few nuggets of working mom wisdom to share, maybe I’m on to something? Okay, let’s not say wisdom, truths maybe?

 

And here they are from one flawed working mom to the rest of the world.

 

Truths that I have learnt after 2 years as a working mom

 

You’ll always feel guilty for being a working mom. The trick is to not let the guilt trigger decisions about your career.

 

It’s not going to be easy because as women you don’t have the luxury to just focus on your careers. You have to learn how to juggle not that that’s going to make it any easier.

 

Your weekdays will be made of early mornings and rushing from one chore to the other, switching from mom to a career woman and vice versa.

 

You’ll be furious when people comment on your choices having no idea why you are choosing to retain that part of yourself which isn’t a mom. Cut them off from your life, they are not worth it.

 

All those celebrities who harp on being working moms with 100 nannies know nothing about balancing home and a career. Forgive them for at least they have the conversation relevant in the public domain.

 

Remember what you are doing is a good thing for your kid because they’ll know they don’t have to give up on being themselves when they have more responsibilities in their family life.

 

Take one day at a time because that’s the only way to handle so many responsibilities and chores while still staying sane.

 

Make time to do the things you love because that’ll keep you going.

 

Leave work when you have to leave work and don’t stay back till late because that’s the “expectation”.

 

You’ll be labelled as the one who leaves ‘early’ (a perfectly reasonable time at work) from work insinuating that you don’t work as hard as men who never have to juggle career & family life or women who aren’t in that stage of their lives yet. Ignore them, curse them in your mind if that helps.

 

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Your days will be divided into segments with hardly any leeway for impromptu plans.

 

You’ll probably be having a working lunch at your desk each day but that’s fine too for there’s always an interview of Benedict Cumberbatch on YouTube to keep your company.

 

You might end up scolding your kids at the drop of a hat on some evenings due to mental and physical exhaustion but that’s fine. It just shows you are only human and the sooner the kids learn that the better.

 

Being a working mom doesn’t mean you love your kids any less. It just means you love yourself too.

 

You will find that you enjoy the quiet time at work when you don’t have to feed or change diapers. You don’t have to feel guilty about it but you will.

 

You might have to sacrifice opportunities at work and that will irritate you. Know that you can perfectly take that out on your partner because that’s one of the things they are there for. You might even have to restart your careers after a maternity break.

 

If you have a partner who backs you, understands you, all the downsides of being a working mom will become slightly more bearable.

 

The patriarchy ( yes it exists at work too) and the apathy at work for working mothers will be more apparent to you.

 

The ease with which men enjoy the lack of sacrifice in terms of sleep time (yes that’s important) or having to deliver within a set time at work after becoming a parent will be more apparent to you. And you’ll realise it when you are rushing out of work to the daycare as they go for another tea break.

 

You’ll be hard on yourself, seeking perfection in everything you do at home and at work and that is going to make it even more hectic for you.

 

Well, I think that about covers it for now. But there’s one thing I want to say to all working moms, you should be proud of every single day you manage to survive being one. It’s not easy and I know it. It’s hard for women to have it all even today unless you are a Kardashian or sitting on a pile of money. For regular working moms like us, we need to keep fighting the fight because every win, however small, is one that keeps our dreams alive for one more day.

 

Here’s to me and more like me. Here’s to every mom out there because it’s not easy being one.

 

Pic Credit | By Suzanne Tucker via Shutterstock

 

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28 thoughts on “20 Lessons I Have Learnt After 2 Years As A Working Mom”

  1. Great lessons. It’s always comforting knowing others are going through the same things.

  2. It is tough being a working mom. And it does not get easier even when they grow older. Some things just fall on the mom no matter how supportive your husband. No matter how much we try, these are the realities of our lives. What works is counting your blessings and tackling your situation as best as you can.

  3. These are all true! People will have a lot of say regarding your choices for your kids, but it’s your children and at the end of the day, you have the last say.

    Kuddos to you!

  4. Wow…..it’s only until somebody spells it out for you, that you begin to get a glimpse of what it means to be a mother and a human-being, above all. Thank you, Naba sweetness, for sharing.

    Keep fighting…I got your back. You need to talk, about anything, I’m right here!

    Much love from me and hugs.

  5. These days you have to work, nobody can have the luxury to stay at home after having a child, because the times are tough and nobody can afford to raise a family on only one salary. I think that you should be proud of how you are managing to juggle a life, a family and a career.

  6. Good for you. It’s hard to work and be a mom as well, and I’m glad to know you are doing both. I’m not a mom yet but I can’t even imagine how hard it is. My mind goes from chores to food, to cat, to work so many times while I’m at work, so to add a kid there as well will be so hard. Keep on going and as you said, take one day at a time.
    Cristina Coroiu recently posted…3D Star Craft Set From Crelando LidlMy Profile

  7. Absolutely true what you have penned there, Nabanita. Especially: Being a working mom doesn’t mean you love your kids any less. That is the best thing you have said. And I wish every mom out there knows it.

  8. Being a working mom can definitely be hard. It’s nice to hear that other moms experience the same thing. I think moms are harder on themselves than they need to be. It’s ok for the little ones to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them. 🙂

  9. I agree whole heartedly.
    The trick is to not let guilt decide our course.

  10. I totally agree that there is a huge gap between working moms chore duties and stress compared to men. But honestly I applaud working moms I know it’s diffucult, my mom was one, because especially if you have a daughter you show her it is possible to do both. You kids have a great role model!!

  11. It really isn’t easy to be a working mom! Hats off to you, though, for giving priority to your career too. I think this point – Make time to do the things you love because that’ll keep you going. – is particularly relevant for everyone, working mom or not.
    Modern Gypsy recently posted…31 lessons from 31 days of paintingMy Profile

  12. It is great to be a working mom, I know it is hard to be away from your kids but it allows you to keep your career going and the kids develop social skills as well.

  13. 100% agree on this
    You will find that you enjoy the quiet time at work when you don’t have to feed or change diapers. You don’t have to feel guilty about it but you will.

  14. You’ve articulated what I’m sure every single working mom feels at one time or another. The struggle is real and the journey is difficult but we just have to trust in the fact that we are doing the best we can. Because at the end of the day, that’s all we can really do – our best.

    Kudos to you for juggling it all and still making time for what you love to do. I am sure you inspire many women to do the same. 🙂

  15. The struggle is real, Nabanita and kudos to you for speaking about it. I identified with a lot of points having been a working mom to an almost 2-year-old. I remember how many days I used to spend crying on returning home from work and still not having a moment of peace because patriarchy played its role in office as well as home. I couldn’t keep fighting and I lost it. The advice which came from all corners were about making life easy by just focusing on raising the baby and it was all advice no support. It was very lonely until the time I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In and it was like finding universal sisterhood. But by then it had got late. I shared this post on my blog’s facebook page.
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted…10 not-so-brainy questions #writebravelyMy Profile

  16. I definitely have guilt for having to work, instead of being home with my kids. I have missed out on so much time with them. My kids are practically grown, and I’m still working like mad to try to keep up. Please know not all workplaces will treat you less valuable for being a mom. Each of my workplaces have been great and supportive of me and other staff that parents. I hope this improves for you.

  17. I love your post, thanks for sharing. I think we all go through working mother guilt sometimes. In the perfect world, we all want to spend as much time as we can with our kids but it’s not always realistic. It’s also important to find time for your own interests. Balance is key.

  18. Very nice article. It really isn’t easy to be a working mom! I really like your writing style. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on being a working mom. I know other moms like you feel guilt when going to work but if its something you have to do dont feel guilty.

  20. Yay! Indeed being a working mom is not easy, there are days when you’ll feel tired but hang in there. Everything is worth it for our kids. Goodjob momma!

  21. Kudos to you Naba for handling work and M so well. Loved your life lessons. It is so very hard to juggle everything and max each role. Oh and let me tell you guilt doesn’t leave you even if you are a SAHM. I worry whether I’m a good role model for the children, whether I am giving them enough space, whether by being too available I’m not letting them become independent. There really is no escape. One just has to push away all the negatives and focus on the good things we are doing for the children.

  22. This melts my heart, Naba. Like I’ve said before, I admire you for the woman and the mother you are. Most importantly it is because you don’t make everything in the world about the child. You talk about work so passionately and I’m glad you haven’t given up on your career.

    M is very lucky to have you and I’m sure you’re already her role model. Women like you need to be celebrated, admired and spoken about more.
    Soumya recently posted…Of Misers & MillionairesMy Profile

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