Here’s a small list of what society tells working moms:
Go back to work 6-8 weeks after having the baby.
The baby that you spent 9-10 months growing inside of your body. Go back to work before you have finished healing or have had time to bond with your baby. Keep your mind on work, and not your tiny helpless baby that is being watched and cared for by someone other than you.
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Make sure to break the glass ceiling and excel at your job- you can do anything a man can do! It is your job to show society this! Show the world that women can do it all. Rise to the top of your career.
Also breastfeed for at least a year.
So take 2-3 pumping breaks a day at work, but don’t let it throw you off your game or let you lose your focus.
Also, lose that baby weight and get back in shape, as quickly and as gracefully as possible.
Make sure to get 8 hours of sleep a night so you can work out, work, and care for your family. But also get up at 5 am to workout, unless you want to do it after your kids go to bed when you also need to clean the house and get life ready for the next day and you know, sleep.
Maintain a clean, pinterest worthy house.
Take the Christmas lights down. Recycle. Be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the birthday planner, the poop doula (seriously when will this end), the finder of lost things, the moderator of fights. Be fun. Be firm. Read books. Have dance parties.
Maintain the schedule for the entire family.
Birthday parties coming up? Make sure to have presents! Ensure the kids are learning to swim, play an instrument, read, ride a bike, be a good human being, eat vegetables, wear sunscreen, drink enough water, say please and thank you.
Don’t forget they need to dress as their favorite book character on Monday, and wear something yellow on Thursday. Oh it’s totally your call but most parents come in on their birthday and read to the entire class. In case nobody told you, if you have more than one kid you will need to buy new shoes approximately every other day.
See also: winter coats, shorts, pants that aren’t 4 inches too short. There will never be matching socks or gloves for any member of the family, ever again.
Remember the dog you got before you had kids?
She’s getting old now and needs expensive surgery. She also need walking, a new bed, and she smells pretty bad.
Kids need lots of doctor appointments. Monthly as babies. Every time they are sick. Specialist appointments, especially if any of them have extra needs. At least two school conferences a year.
IEP meetings, if applicable. Parents night. Back to school night. Get to know your school night (what IS this). Most parents are volunteering at least once during the year, would you like to come make a craft with the kids? It will only be an hour or two of your time.
Sorry, you are now out of vacation time because you used it all for time taking your kids to appointments or when your childcare is unavailable.
You should go on vacations though. It’s good to relax and unwind from work. Makes you a better employee.
Don’t forget the kids need healthy meals (and so do you! you are trying to lose that last 20 lbs before swim season right).
That requires meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal prep on the weekend. But also hang out with your kids on the weekend since during the week you only get to hang out with them when they are exhausted and angry that you made the wrong kind of spaghetti for dinner.
Date your spouse! It’s important to keep your relationship alive and fresh.
Try to go out 1-2 times a month. Good, kid free time. Hire a babysitter, they charge 22+ dollars an hour in your area so make sure to take out an extra mortgage and/or work another job to be able to afford this.
Oh hey you should have a hobby too.
It’s important to have “you time”. Also be well read, keep up with the latest pop culture and tv shows, and keep an eye on politics and be able to discuss at least one of the above on the small chance you are out in public and encounter another adult necessitating small talk.
Make sure to have friends. Social time is SO important.
Surely there is an hour or two left in the week after all of the working, appointments, exercising, cooking, scheduling, cleaning, imparting lifelong morals and learning on the kids, the usual.
Maybe go out after the kids are down for a glass of wine and a bite to eat. Make it a healthy bite though. And you may regret that wine at your 530 am spin class.
Self care though. SO important. See also: getting in shape.
See the general doctor, the dentist (TWICE), the lady doctor. Prob need to get your eyes checked. Full body skin checks 2+ times a year (just me? okay well).
Mental health too. Postpartum anxiety? But you look fine and your kids are so cute. Everyone should have a therapist.
Good luck finding one that takes your insurance and has hours outside of your normal working time (out of vacation time, remember?). That leaves evening time when you want to hang out with your kids. But it’s important, so make time for it.
Don’t wear yoga pants and a mom bun or society is going to mock you in numerous witty blog posts.
Never mind that nothing fits. Going to have to get up even earlier so you have time to style your hair, wing your eye liner and search for a pair of pants that fits your new post baby (or multiple baby) shape.
Love Every Minute Of It
Get off your phone, turn off the TV, and enjoy your life. Enjoy your kids. THESE ARE THE GOOD TIMES make sure to love every minute of life because before you know it all of this will be in the past.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to lean OUT. Thanks for coming to my Ted talk.
This post originally appeared on the Facebook page of Sarah Buckley Friedberg