Dear Working Mom

Dear Working Mom

Dear Working Mom,

You’re doing a great job. I know you need to hear that. Being away from your kids so much isn’t always an easy thing. In fact, it’s the hardest. But, I get you, Working Mom, because I am you.

The “Mom Guilt” you feel is real. I feel it, too. Do my kids know I love them? Do they see me enough? Am I giving them enough time and attention? Am I scarring them for life?

You’re not alone, Working Mom. The workforce is full of women like you – strong, determined, hard working mamas set out to provide for their families and maybe even enjoy themselves along the way. I know you sometimes feel like you can’t win. You feel like if you succeed at work, you fail at home. You feel like everything you do away from your kids outside of work becomes a choice between that thing and seeing your kids that day. You wish you had more “me” time than just the commute to and from your workplace. You long for more time with your kids while simultaneously wishing it was their bedtime so you can wash the dishes, pick up the toys, prepare for the next day and go to bed yourself. You are on the go from the time you wake up until the time you fall into bed. You wish days were 36 hours instead of 24.

I know that working isn’t always a choice, Mama. For some of you it is – some of you know that being a SAHM is a calling you didn’t receive and that working away from home actually makes you a better mom with no regrets. I respect that. Women should be allowed to have a career and a family. No shame in that at all, Mama. But, I also know many of you working moms did not choose to work but rather have to work. I know this makes it harder – you feel stuck. You wish for something different – for some way to pay your bills, see your kids, and be more content.

You’re not alone, Working Mom. You’re not alone at school drop-offs in the morning, praying there isn’t an accident on your way to work, making you late again. You’re not alone when you use your precious vacation time to stay home with your babies when they’re too sick for school. You’re not alone when you’re heartbroken while sending them to school sick because you don’t have any time-off left to use. You’re not alone when you don’t want to go out with friends or even have a date night on the weekends because it means even more time away from your kids. You’re not alone with store-bought cupcakes for the class party because there’s no way you’d have time to make them yourself (but this is actually a victory, Mama, because your kids don’t know the difference and are just happy that you remembered). You’re not alone when you have tears in your eyes at morning drop-off when your littles don’t want you to go, simultaneously coupled with the feeling of relief that you’ll get a “break” at work (you’re not alone in realizing there’s no such thing as a break). You’re not alone when you feel like your baby loves your nanny more than you (not possible).

You’re not alone when you have spit up on your clothes, carting your breast pump and milk back and forth, and drinking your third cup of coffee just to get through the day because your little still isn’t sleeping through the night. You’re not alone when you look through your iPhone pics from the weekend, wondering what your baby is up to at that moment. You’re not alone when you cry yourself to sleep because you missed their first steps or first word. You want so badly to witness every milestone and you feel like a failure when you don’t. You’re not alone when you question every decision, wondering if you’re doing enough. You are enough, Working Mom.

You’re not alone when you’re trying to figure out how to buy groceries, cook dinner, wash the dishes, clean the house, do the laundry, run the errands, and basically just keep your house running in addition to working, commuting, and spending quality time with your kids. You’re not alone when you’re struggling to physically and mentally relax because there’s always something to be done. A mother’s work is never done, Mama. You know that better than anyone.

And you’re really not alone when you’re teaching your kids – engaging them, rocking them, laughing with them, crying with them and showing them the difference between right and wrong. You do this everyday, Mama. You kiss boo-boos, shoo away monsters, sing silly songs and read one more bedtime story (and skip pages so you can get to the end quicker). You cherish your time with them and tell them you love them at every opportunity.

Mama, you’re building the world for your kids. You’re shaping who they will become by setting the example that it is possible to have it all – that, while difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible, you can balance work and family. You’re a world builder. Sure, you have to sacrifice some other things along the way, Mama, but your kids know you love them and they’re learning from you everyday. One day they’ll know that even if you’re doing it because you want to, when it comes down to it you do it all for them.

I hear it gets easier as our kids get older; that these are the “hard” days but they’re also the best days. Let’s make the most of them together.

We’re great mothers, Working Mom.
We’re doing the best we can.
We’ve got this.

working mom - an open letter

This post was republished (with permission) by  Scary Mommy under the title To Working Moms: We’ve Got This on June 15, 2016 and was published on The Huffington Post under the title An Open Letter to Working Moms on July 12. 2016.

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24 Comments

  1. Sarah
    August 1, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    Thank you. My first day back is tomorrow. I was lucky to have 5 mos home with my beautiful baby boy, but it wasn’t near enough. Knowing he will wake up and smile for someone else tomorrow while I go to a job I hate rips my heart out, but we need two incomes. Thank you for making me feel less alone!

    • Shannnon
      August 2, 2017 / 12:48 am

      Good luck, Mama!! Something that used to help me was to add up all the hours of the workday that my girls actually spent asleep. It helped knowing that I didn’t miss that much of their awake time since babies sleep so much. Sending love your way!! ❤️

  2. June 2, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    I’m about to enter into working motherhood, this helped le feel not so alone. Thank you.

    • Shannnon
      June 3, 2017 / 12:44 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that, Leah!! Good luck to you! Being a working mom is tough stuff but you’re gonna be great! And you’ll be surrounded by other working moms, too! xo

  3. Hailey
    June 1, 2017 / 12:00 am

    Oh you totally get me! I am a better mom to my sweet little boy because I work outside the home. SAHM just wasn’t the calling for me. Thank you for this post!

    • Shannnon
      June 1, 2017 / 12:46 am

      Yes girl!! Totally. Thanks for reading!!

    • Nichola
      June 10, 2017 / 5:56 pm

      This hits home!!! I struggle with working and being a mom. I pray that I’m doing the right thing but I also know that being a SAHM is not choice for our family. The world now days makes it very hard to only have one income.

      • Shannnon
        June 10, 2017 / 9:13 pm

        It can be so hard and you’re so right! Keep your head up, Mama! You can do it!

  4. Ann
    May 17, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    Oh my goodness I didn’t even think about the possibility of missing my babies first step or word! It brought tears to my eyes. I struggle with guilt all the time. My little one is our first, and I have to work. I’m especially susceptible to guilt since I am the only mom with a full-time job in my knit-tight church.

    My mom worked all my life and we have a great relationship, but I still can’t help but to feel guilty.

    • Shannnon
      May 17, 2017 / 10:26 pm

      Aww! Well hopefully you won’t miss them! It can be so hard but you’re doing your best and your little one will learn so much from you, just like you did with your mom. I wish I had words to take the guilt away but I don’t think they exist – it’s like mom-guilt is innate. But, you’ve got this, girl! Thanks for reading!

  5. Raquel
    September 6, 2016 / 10:12 am

    You’ve summed up the working mom perfectly!! I don’t necessarily have to work outside the home, but it’s a choice I’ve made for my own sanity. I struggle with the guilt, but I also really enjoy working. I’ve never heard anyone describe the struggle/joy of it so well. It truly brought tears to my eyes. Thank you! 🙂 I read the SAHM mom letter and thought it was just as perfect. You have a gift!!

    • September 6, 2016 / 10:29 am

      Oh my word! Thank you so much Raquel! It’s such an internal struggle to balance your needs, the needs of your family, and your time all at once! Keep it up, Mama! We’ve got this!

  6. August 5, 2016 / 4:50 pm

    it’s like you took the words right out of my head…Thank you for this!

    • August 6, 2016 / 9:58 pm

      Thank you so much! We’ve got this, Mama!

  7. Cristina
    July 22, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    Shannon,

    This is point on for me as I prepare to go back to work after having the summer partly off as a teacher. My heart is guilt ridden. This year I thought It would be easier than last after maternity leave (My little one just turned 1, so it’s a fun age), but it’s just as hard if not harder… Thank you for your blog and your transparency.

    Blessings,
    Cristina

    • July 24, 2016 / 8:10 pm

      Aw, Cristina! It doesn’t get “easier” – I find that I just get more used to it. I agree that the longer you spend with them the harder it is to leave them. Your work as a teacher is so valuable, though! Good luck, Mama! xo

  8. July 20, 2016 / 11:09 am

    Thank you for this post. We working moms need to support each other because the guilt is real no matter what type of mom we are (working, wah, sah, or anywhere in between).

    • July 20, 2016 / 11:10 am

      Yes, girl! Yes! Thanks for reading and for your kind words!

  9. Brittney
    June 5, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    This post is everything! I relate to every single word. I feel so envious of the stay at home moms in my insta feed. The worst for me is having expectations for your days off, and the day doesn’t go as planned. I swear my little one is Always in a crabby mood on our days together.

    • June 5, 2016 / 8:36 pm

      Yes! It never goes as planned! And, don’t compare your real reel to someone else’s highlight reel… insta is highly curated to look like perfection when the SAHM struggle is messy and real, too. We’re all doing the best we can, Mama! Keep it up!

  10. Amanda
    May 24, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    The part about getting home and wanting to spend time with them while simultaneously being ready for bedtime so you can prep for the next day, and the part about scrolling through iPhone pics from the weekend really hit home. I have a 7 month old and work in corporate America with an over an hour commute one way. Many days I feel alone and sad in the working mom journey but I know I’m not. There are people at my workplace and people like you that help me to feel “normal” and give me motivation to keep it up. There are days im “into” work and loving it and understand my decision to be a working mom, like im in my place living my purpose, but then there are days I worry and feel sad all day knowing my baby girl is at daycare and I want to be the one taking care of her. Oh the struggle. I’m glad I found you. Keep it up!

    • May 24, 2016 / 3:17 pm

      Thank you, Amanda! I work in Corporate America, too, and my commute is 1:15 in the mornings and 1:30 on the way home (minimum) every single day. The emotions are conflicting and the struggle is real so we have to band together to hold one another up along the way! Your baby girl will look at you one day and see that her mommy is a superhero and can do anything. You’re her best teacher. We’ve got this, girl! xo

  11. May 21, 2016 / 4:22 pm

    Hi there! Found you on Instagram… This is such a great post! I’m actually a SAHM, but I question myself and my choices the same as everyone. Am I doing enough, being enough, etc. truth is, I’m just doing the best I can and sounds like you are too! Happy to have found you 🙂

    • May 21, 2016 / 4:31 pm

      Thank you, Sheena! I think doubt and guilt is something all moms share! My next post will actually be an open letter to SAHM’s. I hope you read it when it’s up! xo

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