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.
20 Lessons I Have Learnt After 2 Years As A Working Mom. #WorkingMom Click To Tweet
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