Netflix And Truth: Working Moms
I stumbled across a new series the other evening titled, “Workin’ Moms,” on Netflix. Your eyes and ears might bulge because it’s definitely not PBS television (make sure the littles are in bed). Nonetheless, one of my biggest takeaways from just a few episodes….
We’re not honest enough as mamas…especially working mamas.
I think all mothers strive to “keep it all together.” Whether you’re a SAHM or a working mama…..it’s WORK. This new series touched on some “oh so real” truths with which any working mother can relate. Here are my top 3 truths:
Truth #1: Wanting to Advance in Your Career + Mom Guilt
I am the product of two working parents which probably gives me a different perspective on this topic. I never felt like my parents worked too much or that I missed out on quality time. My mother was an educator and gave 40 years to other children, yet still had just as much time and care for my sister and I; as far as I could tell. Now that I am a mother, I know that was not an easy feat to manage. I also understand how you can love your family and your career. This is one area that working moms incur major mom guilt- wanting to advance in their careers but fearing it will take even more time away from their family. However, I’ve realized that we’re not all cut from the same cloth and neither is our motherhood journey. I feel called to be in the field I’m in, just as much as I feel called to be a mother and a wife. I love my career and I definitely love my family…and working to balance both does not make you less of a mother. For mamas out there who don’t have choice, know that your babies will still be ok. Your love will transcend.
Truth #2: Breastmilk, pumping, & formula…oh my!
As a mama who is anemic, I struggled with breastfeeding and pumping milk. My son was pretty easy going. He didn’t care how or where the milk came from…he just wanted to be fed. While that should have freed me from some pressure, I was pretty great about piling even more pressure onto myself. Anemia can affect breastmilk production in different ways, but especially because of low iron levels. Throughout my pregnancy I was placed on additional iron and had to keep watch on it thereafter. I was the mama in all the under-supplier Facebook groups trying any and everything to increase my milk production. While breastfeeding did not work out for me, I became an exclusive pumper and was tied to my Spectra. I still have a little PTSD when I think about the resentment I had for my machine. Being tethered to your breastpump is a lonely journey….especially when you’re not making as much as you’d like. Nonetheless, I trucked through pumping all while heading back to work. It’s not a secret that milk supply can decrease when a mom returns to work. Doesn’t happen to everyone, but I basically experienced every possible mishap in my breastmilk journey. While every place of work is supposed to have dedicated space for pumping mamas, we all know that “the space” may vary. My office at the time was shared with 3 other people (all of whom were mothers who completely understood my milk carton sign outside the door). However, this required further explanation from time to time from those who didn’t read my sign or understand that when a mama’s got to go (pump)- a mama’s got to go!
- I also had a slow let down which made my pumping time pretty lengthy.
- Let’s not forget the times I dropped milk (cries profusely).
- The times I had to pump before a meeting only to be stopped in the hallway for a conversation. I’m sorry folks, I must go. NOW.
- The struggle of understanding everyone doesn’t know your pumping schedule, but also the irritation that you don’t want to announce it to everyone. Everyday.
While all mamas experience the ups and downs of milk production, I identify with the extra challenges some working mamas encounter along the way. Even though I didn’t get the “golden boob” (made it 5 months before my supply tapped out), my sweet boy was healthy, never missed a meal, and we all survived. If this is your current journey, you are not alone, hang in there mama!
Truth #3: Childcare Worries
I recently blogged about the benefits of daycare and our journey finding the best childcare for our son. Since we don’t live near our family/village, finding the right school was imperative. When you’re working, one of your greatest worries is that your child will become more attached to their caregiver than you. Ensuring that you are home at a reasonable time, not wanting to miss staples in the day-to-day routine (bath time, book time, bedtime) are always conscious in the minds of working mamas. And if you’re a mama who travels for work, I’m sure the weight seems heavier. Again, love transcends and you’ll find your balance. No one can replace you, mama. Our babies know our voices, our smell, our being. It seems that we beat ourselves up for it, but know that the quality of your presence is just as important as the quantity. So, if you find that time continues to be your enemy, remember to ensure that any time you have is well spent. Whether it’s keeping the evening routine or weekend snuggles, your baby will value the time you give.
I’ve learned that every working mom is a super woman.
As women, we are quick to be our own worst critics and compare our journeys. The goal is to find the balance, no matter what your circumstances may be, stay the course, and LOVE your babies/family. That is the thread we long for and the one that we all should value regardless of the phases of our careers. You are a part of a village of women who are staying the course day in and day out. Don’t grow weary, know that your littles will still love the mama you are, and if your work makes you a more healthy, well-rounded mama….don’t be afraid to live it out.