To all of you working outside the home, running businesses, and being mama to your little ones: you need to know how amazing you are.
Seriously. All moms, whether rocking a career or not, need to know they are incredible for everything they do. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. We all want what's best for our children and do whatever we can to make it happen. My heart, though, holds a special place for the "9-5" grind, commuting, traveling, teleconferencing, stiletto-wearing bosses. Because that was me. I know your day intimately. Pumping at work? Yeah. I know the discomfort, awkwardness, and necessity. Quietly giving your child formula while secretly praying an angry mob won't lambaste you for not loving your child enough to exclusively breastfeed? Fearing judgment for a milk supply that's dying due to work/life stress? Uh huh. Been there, too.
This morning as you climb out of bed, perhaps surrounded by the paperwork you were trying to complete when you passed out, know that I wish I could hit "snooze" for you one more time. As you debate whether you have the time and energy to do your hair or throw it in a haphazard bun, know that most mornings I do the same. If you're surrounded by a pile of discarded pencil skirts and are sobbing over the dress trousers that still won't fit over your post-baby hips, take a deep breath. Find the loosest A-line dress you can, accessorize it at will, and finish the look with the brightest red lipstick you own. Because you are FIERCE. Give yourself permission to be confident!
If you prepare the day's baby bottles while simultaneously brewing your first cup of coffee, know I am applauding you. You're shepherding kids, checking email, signing permission slips, and trying not to yell at everyone to get it together. Or maybe you're trying to sneak out the door in the wee hours without anyone waking up as you go.
If you step out of a big presentation only to realize your shoulder was covered in spit up or chocolate-y hand smears the entire time, laugh. That tiny sock you found static clinging to your suit? Laugh at it, too.
If you woke up before dawn, carved out your lunch break, or are hitting the treadmill after the kids are in bed, you're super mom in my book. You're taking care of yourself when it's sometimes easier to skip it. Whether we work out or not, we all know the cost of "not."
When child care falls through you scramble to find a stop gap. If you call in when your child is home sick, you still screen work calls and email. Even if you're told it's okay to turn off that phone, you fear the silent cost of motherhood interrupting your career.
Some of us make it home for the kids' bedtime. Some don't. We thank the heavens for technology so we can still see our babies when we travel. We mourn missed concerts, sporting events, and milestones. We cry when we miss something we swore we would never miss.
But many of us are proud, too. We're proud to show our sons and daughters what we are capable of doing. We want them to know they have choices...even as we hope they will have better, more balanced ones when it's their turn. We want our sons to respect women and see them as equals. We want our daughters to know they have the right to whatever reality they dream of living.
Working moms, I know this is the tiniest snippet of your lives. A tiny, exhausting part of it. You are amazing. Stupendous. Incredible. My hat is off to you.
Chances are, you wish you had better balance. You wish there were more hours in the day so everything you do could get the attention it deserves. Or maybe, just maybe, you wish you could find a better way to be mom and career woman - or ditch the career entirely. We are a convoluted mix of contradictions, pride, wishes, and love.
So tell me, Mamas. If you could change one thing about your career & motherhood journey, what would it be? Post in the comments. You're not alone.