How big is my love? A Letter From Your Working Mom. Part One
Amazing that when I started a personal blog, I somehow thought it would be super easy to post two or even three posts per month, while working full time, mothering, wife-ing, daughtering, etc. So yes, it’s two weeks before Christmas, and I haven’t posted in over a month. But little by little I’ve been working on this post. And in spite of not knowing if anyone out there will read it, or even cares to hear my emotionally charged story, the following letter is written from the heart. It’s about the daily struggles I encounter as a full time working mom, and if nothing else, I hope it helps at least one reader to feel less guilt, more pride, and more acceptance of themselves as a working parent. xoxo EM 💜
Dear, kiddos who I love with all my heart. This is an open letter about all the things I want you to know about being your mom, and working 40 hours a week. Before I gave birth to each of you, I was self-centered. Not in the spoiled-silver-spoon kind of way. I’ve been working since I was thirteen years old, and have known the value of effort and hard work since I was a kid--like you are now! But in the more egocentric, my way-or-the-highway kind of way. That comes with being an independent, working 20th Century woman. Carrying both of you for nine-plus months, and then giving birth to each of you was like going through a rebirth (and each time was a little more eye-opening). It was a rebirth in which I realized that I would never in a million years, EVER, love anything more than I love each of you, and simultaneously realizing that I had NEVER, EVER done anything as difficult than giving birth, swaddling, nursing, changing diapers, rocking to sleep, waking up multiple times a night and beginning the journey of raising two tiny little humans. It’s mind-boggling at first to come to terms with the fact that a little person, so beautiful and fragile, which you were when you were born, is completely and utterly dependent on me, and your daddy—and would be dependent on us for a long, long time! It’s like graduating from high school and going to college. You know it’s going to be completely different, and life-changing, but no one can really prepare you for the beautiful, challenging, humbling and amazing experience of becoming a parent. You have to experience yourself to really know.
Your births were new beginnings. Now here we are, and you two are growing faster than I could have imagined. I was reminded of the fact that time keeps slipping past us at light speed this month when you both started a new school year. The first day of first grade and pre-school came and went, and as is the case with all families at this stage, we’re doing all the things that make us an active family with two kiddos. From ballet, to swim lessons, and more! And although I am a full time working mom, I still want to be there for you through it all. But sometimes I can’t be there...in fact, more times than I’d like to admit, and the guilt and regret I feel for the things I AM missing crushes me. Especially on the days where one of you wants me just to stay home and cuddle you, or take you to an activity, and I can’t because I must be an adult and go to work instead. Those days I wish I could clone myself and be in two places at once, but I can’t. So without pretense or the need for approval and forgiveness, here are the things I want you to know about being your working mom, and your place in my life and heart.
Please note: We are such a fortunate family. While I do feel that I miss out on a lot, your dad is a superstar and takes you both to so many things, stays home when you are sick, and picks up the slack in more places than I can count. I cannot imagine how much harder, and more strained our world would be without his support. And my heart goes out the all the single-parent families out there, doing it all with one parent, and the families where both parents work full time with zero flexibility.
I love you in the morning, and in the afternoon, I love you in the evening and underneath the moon.
When I leave you, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. One of the hardest parts of being a mom who works is leaving my kids to go to work each morning, or leaving to go to an event when it feels like we haven’t spent enough time together. Even though your dad and I make double-triple-quadruple sure that you are in a safe environment when we are at work or elsewhere, it is always heart-wrenching to say goodbye--especially when you want me to stay. It’s like there is a vital part of every mom that gets sick-to-their-stomach when they have to leave their kids. When you don’t want me to go, or there are tears around my departure, it’s absolutely the worst. In fact, in those moments I find it hard to think about anything else. All. Day. Long. My heart wants to be with you, but responsibility makes that impossible at times.
The reality is that there are times when I have to leave you, tears and all. And from the bottom of my heart, I want you to know that I feel just as horrible about the situation as you do. I’m the parent that texts or emails your teacher five minutes after I have gone to make sure you are okay. And, then every hour after. Because I can’t help myself. The biggest part of me wishes I was there with you. I need you to know this and how much you are loved. You are loved so much by me that it makes my heart hurt. I would literally do anything for you, and in fact, that’s one of the reasons I do work full time. So that you and our family can have the security, stability, and access to the life we want!
You are brave, you are strong, and you are capable.
I want you to know that you’ve got this. From day-to-day, the ‘this’ might be different things. Sometimes it may be that you’re struggling with a friend at school, other times it might be that you’re not feeling excited about a class assignment, or an activity we’ve signed you up to do—that PS you wanted to do before it got hard. Whatever the daily struggle is, and whether I’m there for it or another family member, friend or mentor in your life is the person there at that moment to support you, I really, truly and unequivocally know that you are a capable, smart, trustworthy, and an amazingly talented little human. You are capable of so many things—large and small, and I will be there to support you with your successes and failures no matter what. I just might not physically be there at every moment, but I’m there.
I’m thinking of all the scenarios too. I’m roleplaying in my head what you could do, say and how you will succeed. And then, I’m sitting back and letting you, well, be you! If I was there all the time to fight your battles for you, you might not have the opportunity to figure it out on your own. And while I want to be there with you in person for every single crucial, or impactful moment, the logical side of me knows that being there would not necessarily be better for you, it would be better for me. So get out there and be the wonderful, weird, scrappy, fun, smart, kind and amazing person you are! Then PLEASE, for the love of God, tell me ALL ABOUT IT later, so I don’t miss a thing. 😉
Hey, friends! I had so much to say on the topic of being a working mom that I’ve split this blog into two posts. 😬Read the second half here.
Hey, friends! 🙋Did this post help you in some way to make a decision? Tell us in the comments!
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