Parenting is hard, period. No matter how much you’re hustling, there’s a constant feeling that things are somehow falling through the cracks. And moms often end up by default being the parent that keeps most (if not all) of the household plates spinning.
We see a lot of nonsense online about who has it harder: stay-at-home-moms or working moms? To put it bluntly, it’s a bullshit debate that shouldn’t even exist.
Because regardless of whether you work outside of your home or not, we.are.all.still MOTHERS.
We should be supporting each other’s efforts, not trying to out-do each other. As women, we should be trying to understand the unique challenges that come with being a working mom.
Or a mom that works from home.
Or a stay at home mom (SAHM).
There are many SAHMs that have willingly shared their struggles on social media. But the specific struggles of working moms aren’t often brought to light, which can make many working moms feel unnoticed.
One mom has shared her honest struggles about feeling overlooked and overwhelmed as a working mom, and her Facebook post has gone viral because so many moms can relate.
Mom Kate Forrester is from Sandy, Oregon, and is a mom of two young boys. She also works outside of the home, and the struggle is real…. but often goes overlooked.
First, it’s the logistical household tasks that are a constant struggle- because of time. It’s all a balancing act, & there never seems to be enough time to get to it all:
The piles upon piles of laundry that never get finished because you have to choose between family time or folding laundry.
And of course the kitchen to clean, the vacuuming, and the countless other chores…
The stress you feel about making a home cooked meal that takes 1 hour to make or deciding on take out to have a few precious moments with your family.
And how about the MEALS? Planning, prepping, & cooking meals is stressful, period. How much more difficult must that be when you’re internally debating: should I spend this hour cooking, away from most of the family I haven’t seen all day, or spend the time with them & not cook?
(and cue the “mom guilt”, because regardless of if you’re a working or SAHM, we all manage to have an overload of THAT stuff…)
But it’s not just about the household task balancing act that can be draining. Kate also describes the emotional toll of being away from her children all day, & it’s poignant.
Beyond the actual monetary cost of childcare, Kate points out how hard it can be to be away from her children all day, every day.
Some might assume that a working mom is just “used” to leaving her child in daycare or with a sitter. But that can be a flippant assumption; as Kate points out, there’s:
The pain you feel having someone else help raise your child.
The pain and guilt you feel when you have to ask your caregiver what is normal for you’re child because you have to work so you can’t remember what is normal and what is not.
Again- mom guilt runs strong. Of course it makes sense that a caregiver that spends all day with your child might have a clear sense of what’s normal for your child, but it can also make a mom fall into that dangerous trap of feeling like she’s not doing a “good enough” job of raising her child.
(We’ve all been there, for our own reasons, but it doesn’t make you feel better in the moment…)
Of course there’s also the times when a working mom feels like she has to make a choice, and it’s a choice no parent wants to have to make:
The pain you feel about having to choose better being a good employee or being there for your children.
There’s a genuine pain for some working moms in feeling like they’re missing out on moments with their children that other parents have simply due to schedules.
The sadness you feel seeing everyone else take their kids out on sunny days or snow days.
For kids, a snow day off from school is a welcome, happy event. But for a working mom, an unexpected snow day means either a frantic scrambling for childcare, or taking another day off from work… and there’s only so many sick days left to take.
The sadness you feel never being able to do mommy and me or daddy and me classes because they are always on a week day in the middle of the day.
Not only does Kate share her own struggles, but points out that for a lot of working mothers, they are faced with questions that only fuel their own sense of well-being as a mom.
As a SAHM, I’ve had people naively say to me, “Boy, you must be doing well if you can afford to stay home!” While there are a LOT of appropriate comebacks to that ignorant sentiment, Kate points out that for working moms, it’s the same.
Working moms are often asked dumb questions, too, & face insulting implications as well:
“I would never allow someone else to raise my child”
we don’t want to do this either but these are the cards we are dealt and we’re trying to get threw them the best we can.
Insulting, much?? How dare someone imply that a working mom somehow isn’t doing enough for her child. And how presumptuous for someone to think that a mother that works does so simply because she can’t be bothered to want to be with her child?
Kate also throws out this gem:
“Well if you want to stay home you can figure a way to do that”
This implies that the speaker a)- knows anything about the working mom’s financial situation, b)-relationship status… is she a single parent? Is she co-parenting? c)- thinks the working mom just isn’t trying hard enough to be a SAHM.
(And being a SAHM, for the record, is not a role that every mother automatically wants or should want simply because she is a mother.)
But Kate wants her fellow working parents to remember that it’s ok for them to feel overwhelmed, conflicted, and occasionally struggling.
And she wants them to know that they are not alone in their conflicted feelings:
I SEE YOU. I FEEL YOU’RE GUILT. I FEEL YOUR PAIN. YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
Kate wants to remind parents that it’s ok if the dishes stay dirty for longer than you’d like. It’s ok if you choose to order takeout to spend more quality time with your kids instead of spending that time cooking in the kitchen that day.
Most importantly, Kate Forrester wants her fellow working moms to know that:
It’s ok to be a working parent.
If we really want to support one another, then it’s vital to let ALL moms share their struggles, and their perspective on what makes things feel hard in their world.
Kate specifically reached out to working moms in her post- not to alienate moms that don’t work, but to connect with those that do & may have needed to hear these exact words.
We need to let ALL moms share their truth without barging in to clamor about “how much harder” it being this kind of mom, or that kind of mom.
Sharing our unique struggles is what should bring us together, not divide us. Because regardless of the “type” of mom you are- motherhood is universal.