Little did I know when I started this working mom thing:
It is incredibly difficult to be a working mom blogger, because when you’re not working, you’re momming.
When I was expecting my first son and searching for working mom blogs, and back to work and searching for working mom blogs, and on maternity leave for the second time and searching for working mom blogs — I was coming up empty every time and not really understanding why.
NOW I get it.
I am not complaining, because contrary to what I heard before I started living this life, being a working mom is actually awesome.
I am happier and more settled, more at peace, and more satisfied with my life than I have ever been, at any other stage.
This is said not to brag about things, but to give you hope —
- if you just found out you are pregnant, and you are in turmoil about how things are going to work.
- If you have just gone back to work, and you’re in crisis because you feel completely alone in what you are doing.
- If you feel like a weirdo right now, sitting half-naked in your office and pumping breastmilk in your chair.
- If you feel judged, because people have told you your whole life that if you’re not a SAHM, you don’t love your kids and don’t want what’s best for your kids and …. ETC. (This was totally my guilt story for years.)
- If you feel guilty, because you love going to work and getting out of the house, but you feel like you should prefer staying at home all day every day.
- If you feel depressed, you feel like you might need medicine, you might need more help than some other mom, and your postpartum life doesn’t look anything like the plan you wrote yourself.
- If you’re thinking, “Does it look like I’ve given up? Am I going to hang onto these 10/20/30 lbs. for the rest of my life? Am I still pretty? Is it even okay to be thinking about this when I should be thinking about my baby?”
- If you feel like every cell in your brain is dead, you don’t recognize the woman you are, and you wonder if there is any shred of that previously fun, sexy, creative, spontaneous you left in your body —
the answer is: it’s okay, you are good. You. are. all. good.
In fact, you’re incredible, and you’re smack dab in the middle of doing one of the most amazing things possible. Your light is blazing, to anyone who should choose to see it.
How it is right now is not how it’s always going to be. How you feel today is not how you’ll always feel.
You might feel like you’re failing at everything. Male bosses, male partners, female bosses and coworkers who’ve never walked in your shoes (or had it even worse than you do), authors, politicians, societal constraints might actually confirm those feelings.
But I want to say right now that if you are still putting one foot in front of the other, if you are struggling to ask yourself what you really want and answer yourself truthfully, if you are still thinking about the best way to show your husband and your baby(ies) that you love them while keeping yourself alive and well at the same time — you are doing better than the best. You are bringing new life into the world, and continuing the human race, and giving hope that the insanity that sometimes seems to prevail might one day be overcome.
It does feel like this — No one understands how much you’re giving every day, how much you’re dying to yourself and laying on the line every day, and sacrificing for the love of new life every day — but I do. I see you, I got you, I know.
You are a warrior. The best kind. The kind that battles the unkind judgments and misunderstandings,
There’s a reason for this angst. You are going through a big, beautiful, long, painful process. Many do not have the courage to do what you are doing, see what you are seeing, or ask themselves the hard questions.
I went to postnatal yoga the other day, and every question and story in our round-robin made utter sense to me. Just so you know, the other moms know what you’re dealing with, you just might have to go to extra lengths to find them, because they’re just as busy as you are, trying to get by and look like they’re normal.
But lastnight falling asleep, I told my husband that I have found unexpected, imperfect levels of happiness with our life. I have fears, anxieties, terrors and nightmares about inconvenient pools of blood. I don’t want to pretend — it’s still imperfect. But motherhood — and working motherhood, specifically — forces us to ask and answer questions that are difficult, and we will be ok and all the better for the struggle of producing an answer.
Stay hopeful. Stay honest. Stay connected.
And if you need to know how, ask me. I’m happy to help.
How did you manage to stay honest postpartum? What surprised you about being a new working mom?