“How does she do it? How does she do it ALL?”
I often find myself wondering about this. In conversations with friends who are flourishing in new hobbies and soaring in their careers. Or, when I spy an Instagram post from a mom with a job, a side hustle, a hobby, and a minivan full of kids, but she’s baking fresh breads and pies. I think, “What the heck?! How many hours are in HER day?” Followed by, “Is there something wrong with me?”
Then I try to remind myself gently, that I’m doing my best. I’m making whatever progress I can, at whatever pace I can, everyday…with two little ones right behind me. No, literally, ALWAYS right behind me. I am a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom, whose husband works out of town for weeks at a time. You’re about as likely to spot me kid-free as you are to spot a unicorn prancing down 281, or no traffic on 1604.
In some ways, or at least on some days, I’d like to think that I have appeared like the mom that’s “doing it all,” but more likely I’m the hot mess mom. At any given moment I’m distracted by what my 14-month-old boy is about to fall off of or tear down. And I’ve grown so used to being constantly interrupted by my inquisitive seven-year-old, that now it seems my brain just gives up halfway through a conversation.
Every day, I am so grateful that I have the blessing of being with my children all day. I know I’m a lucky one, and I do cherish the moments we have together. But I won’t lie and tell you I haven’t wondered (er, fantasized?) how it would feel to get myself ready for a day job, retreat to a child-free space for a few hours and have adult conversations. Sounds almost relaxing to me, but it’s not really like that, is it working mommas? Your kids are still there, in the back of your mind. If I know moms like I think I do, I know there is no place you go to have a break. When you’re driving to work, you’re planning dinner. When you’re in a meeting, you’re trying to remember if you invited the grandparents to your kid’s recital.
Maybe you have thought before that me, or other stay at home moms like me, judge working moms for not being with their kids 24/7. Let me be clear…I don’t. I admire you for juggling more balls than I ever have at one time.
I know so well the challenges and rewards of my position in parenting, but I really wonder what it’s like to be in another mom’s shoes for even a week. The working mom, the moms who work from home, moms who both stay home and run a business in all the tiny cracks in between mom life.
I wonder if perhaps even those of us who have the number of kids we always wanted, and the job we dream about, still wonder what it would be like, to walk in HER shoes, to be a different mom for a day. While I fantasize about putting on snot-free, nice clothes, and driving to work, someone else may be fantasizing about staying in their pajamas until 11:00 on a Wednesday, and spending the morning catching up on laundry, dishes, baking, and organizing. So I asked the other contributors on our team, what do you love most about your job? What’s the hardest part? How do you find balance?
Do you wonder about that, too? What do you wish other moms could know about what you do on the front lines and behind the scenes. What do you wish you knew about how moms with different routines juggle life? I’d like to invite you to join the conversation and share your perspective, while we share ours in part two, “Dear Stay at Home Moms”, and part three, “Dear Working Moms.”
*Many thanks to all the writers on our team who contributed to this series. Shanti Day, Emily Ferguson, Danielle Edwards , Lizzie O’Connel Perez, Anastasia Huffman and Kimberley Maldonado.