Working mothers do indeed have it all – if by “having it all,” you mean having both sides of a double-edged sword. Women are still fighting for equal opportunity and equitable pay, so when you pile on the added pressure of balancing a career and family, there’s enough guilt there to drive anyone mad … and sad. If you choose (or “choose”) to return to work after having a baby, you’re going to have to accept that your decision will have its ups and its downs. Here’s what you need to know to get through those times when you start to doubt whether you’re cut out to be a working mom.
(Photo Credit: Andrew Imanaka/Flickr)
Making the decision to return to work can be a difficult one, even if you love your job and have financial pressures forcing your hand. Many working mothers feel guilty, as if they’re abandoning their children, while still feeling empowered by the fact that they’re continuing to pursue their careers.
I’m here to let you know that it’s A-OK to absolutely despise your decision to return back to work. Honestly, even if you chose to stay at home with your little one(s), you’d still have those feelings, because we all believe, for whatever reason, that the grass is greener on the other side.
The False Reality
If you feel the pressure to operate at a high level in every part of your life, hitting every mark in your career, making X number of mommy friends, and just generally being this picture-perfect woman, mother, wife, friend, etc., – stop it right now. The only thing you’re accomplishing is setting yourself up for failure. You’re chasing after a false reality that’s been painted for you by the media and your friends’ social media posts. Don’t worry: we’re all guilty of it.
The Actual Reality
What we often neglect to see is that motherhood is a universal struggle for all, including the picture-perfect, powerhouse ladies we see on TV. In fact, in an interview with More, Fox News journalist and political commentator Megyn Kelly admits, “I did worry in the beginning […] about whether I was a good mom, whether I was abandoning my duties.”
Kelly says that she’s since found a “level of harmony” between her roles as a journalist, mother, and wife.
“I see them thriving; our loving relationship is more than intact,” she says. “There’s no more of that, ‘Am I going to screw them up?’ I’m not.”
Level of Harmony
Far too many mothers expect this “level of harmony” that Kelly speaks of to be a universal and almost tangible level of bliss that is the same for every mother – and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. For starters, every mother’s level is different, just as every mother’s baby is different, every woman’s body is different, and every individual’s life is different. It’s about finding balance, not reaching a specific goal.
The most important thing to remember when you begin doubting yourself is to understand that, whether you’re at work or at home, being a mother is difficult, so give yourself a break. Figure out the right balance for you, not for your neighbor or co-worker or Facebook friend, and work with that.
Don’t compare yourself to others, because you’re running your own race, not someone else’s. Do what works for you and your family, because, after all, mother knows best.
Tell Us What You Think
I’d love to hear from you. What is your “level of harmony” as a working mom or stay-at-home mother? Share your story with our community on Twitter or leave a comment below.