Overcoming Working Mom Struggles

Parenting, no matter how you do it, is a hard job. Whether you’re a mom at home or a mom at work, each day is a challenge. Each day has a bunch of moving parts that we manage to hold together, even if just barely. Moms, we’re pretty much super heroes.

As a working mom, some months out of the year are exceptionally hard on our family, and no matter how much we prepare for it, it never gets any easier. I still question my sanity, I still feel like I’m missing everything important at home, and I still feel guilty.

That’s when the working mom struggles get real.

working mom struggles

The other day I brought pen to paper just to work out my frustrations. Sometimes journaling helps me through a bit of breakdown. Since I’m trying to be more real and open here on my blog, I’m going to share that with you. Let me just say I’m not trying to fish for you to tell me I’m the best mom ever and I apologize if I am a complete Debbie Downer. The good news is life has slowed down a bit and I am enjoying having some sort of normalcy again.

So, with that being said…

I know that working mom struggle is real when:

  • Seeing all of the stay at home moms picking up their kids at MDO and feeling like I stick out.
  • I have zero amount of time for exercise, or any other sort of self care.
  • A sleep regressed baby doesn’t care that your day is from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
  • The baby has to come to a dress rehearsal past her bedtime.
  • I’m always having to plan every single detail for two young children.
  • My life motto is: divide and conquer. (The kids go to two different MDOs, it’s the nature of the game.)
  • I feel like I don’t get to see Kennedy because Greg is in charge of her.
  • I’m constantly feeling attached to my pump.
  • I have to text my husband to ask when the baby eats so I know when to pump after school.
  • I have to hide behind a costume rack backstage to pump during a performance.
  • My deep freezer also serves as a personal breastmilk bank.
  • I have to rely on family and friends to help with drop off, pick up, and watch the girls when Greg and I can’t.
  • I get home late and 3-year-old cries into my arms without explanation – although I know it’s because she misses me.
  • I forget to bathe (!!!) my children because I get home too late.
  • I’m constantly worried that I’m missing something.
  • I start to become bitter and angry when moms complain that they need time away from their kids.
  • My kid is the only one who didn’t bring Valentines to pass out at the ice cream social.
  • I’m counting down the seconds ’til spring break and summer.

Working Mom Struggles

But…

I’m proud of my family. I’m proud of my beautiful girls and my amazingly supportive husband. We have a nice home, nice things, live within our means, and can afford to treat ourselves if we want. I have a great support system of family.  Thank you, Mom, for always working your schedule around if I need your help. Thank you, Katie, for helping me with Caroline these past couple of months.

Overcoming these struggles are something I work on daily. Some things that do help when the going gets tough:

  • Remember that everyone else has valid struggles. My life isn’t harder because I’m a working mom, my day was hard today. I can’t let my frustration turn into bitterness or a competition with others.
  • I try to enjoy an extra five or ten minutes rocking my baby to sleep and really, really focus on her.
  • Make sure to give Kennedy extra cuddles. She’s been wanting to sit in my lap a lot lately, and I am living up the cuddles. Going to bed 15 minutes past bedtime to sing a few more songs or read an extra book is totally acceptable, too.
  • I will bring some take out home for Greg and me. Nobody needs to worry about cooking on those rough, late nights.
  • Planning way in advance also helps. I pack lunch and bags for the next day right when I get home so that I get some relaxation in the evening.

Most of all, the biggest thing is to always remember, “this too shall pass.” This is all about perspective. It’s hard when I feel like I blink and my kids are huge, but the days that I am upset about how busy I am are the days I feel the worst. Accepting it for what it is and making the most of my day helps tremendously.

One day, these struggles will turn into different struggles, and I know what I’m going through now will help shape me into what I’ll need to be.

35 Comments

  • Reply
    Angela
    February 12, 2015 at 7:39 am

    We must live the same life!! I struggle so much with being away long hours at the hospital and away from our little guy. The separation anxiety phase has set in and that’s making it even harder but like you said,”this too shall pass!” Hang tough mama 🙂

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 8:35 pm

      It’s really hard. I’m not going to say that it will get easier, but it does get more predictable and bearable. It makes the good moments feel even better at home. You appreciate much more. Glad to hear that I am not alone in my struggles. You hang tough, too!! xoxo

  • Reply
    Kerri
    February 12, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Thanks for this. You aren’t alone. And it sucks. I work 12 hour shifts, and rotate from nights to days every 2 months. My husband is a firefighter and is gone 48 hours at a time. So, not only do we have to pawn our 6 year old off on grandparents often, depending on how our schedules fall, we might got 6 days before we are together as a family. It was easy when our son was a baby, because he didn’t know any different. Now that he’s older, he’s much more aware of time. And now that he’s involved in more things, the responsibility often lies with grandparents to get him there.
    But…..I am so thankful for the life we have. And I remind myself, that it’s a season. It will change. And when it does, I’ll Probably miss this hectic time in our lives. All we can do is our best, right?

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Oh that sounds awful! And you’re right – one of the hardest parts is probably that your son is 6 and really understands that he is missing his mom and dad. My 3 year old had a really rough month when I was away directing the musical – she regressed big time, was getting in trouble at preschool, refused to use the potty. Now that it’s over, we have a completely different kid. You are right… all we can do is our best and seasons change! Hang in there, mama! You are doing great!!!

  • Reply
    Kristy
    February 12, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Love your last sentence!!! So, so true. We each have our struggles no matter how we parent. Know that the good mamas are cheering you on, admiring what you do! Not that what other mamas think really matters, but I like to see it as a sisterhood of cheering one another on. Your daughters look happy and healthy, and I’m sure they will have the best memories. That’s such a blessing. This mama thing is tough no matter which way you slice it. But you, you are so good at it. Rock on, mama! You are amazing!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      I love it – “a sisterhood of cheering one another on.” That’s a great way to put it! I can’t stand the mommy wars in who is the most important kind of mom. We are all important and we all have real, valid struggles. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! Means a lot to me!

  • Reply
    julie
    February 12, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Oh honey, I hear you ! Thank you for this post! You are such an amazing mom!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you so much!! That means a lot to me. That working mom life can get the best of us sometimes, but we are doing the best we can!! xoxo

  • Reply
    Tiffany @ A Touch of Grace
    February 12, 2015 at 9:56 am

    This is great Meg. No matter what our situation we all struggle. I work 2 PT jobs and still don’t feel like I get to see my daughter enough. Having family support is a must! Just remember your girls love you no matter what.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      I can imagine that 2 part-time jobs is just as difficult as one full time! Lots of shuffling I bet. You’re right with the family support! I seriously have no idea what we’d do without my family!! Thank you so much for your sweet comment 🙂

  • Reply
    Chas @ Haute Mommy Blog
    February 12, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Great post! While it is true that everyone has struggles, I’m personally amazed when a family is able to successfully manage with two little bitty girls. It can’t be easy….I feel like I sometimes barely have my head above water and I only have one to take care of.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      It certainly isn’t easy but it becomes more predictable and manageable over time. Thank you so much for your sweet comment here and on facebook!!! xoxo

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    February 12, 2015 at 10:11 am

    In the midst of lesson planning and grading, I’m going to be putting Valentines together at 8pm tonight. I feel you. As much as I’m sick of this snow, I was reminded on Monday how great it is to be granted an extra day to snuggle and run around with my little man. You are a GREAT mom, and your girls are lucky to have you!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      You have snow days, I took some sick days!! Haha. The snuggles were great, nonetheless! 🙂 Thank you so much for your sweet comment, dear friend.

  • Reply
    Tawnya Faust
    February 12, 2015 at 10:21 am

    “This too shall pass” how true is that statement? I feel as though I’m constantly reminding myself of this one… I would be such a negative nancy if I didn’t!

    First of all, I commend you for being a full time working Mom with two little one’s at home, I can not imagine how hard it is. I love how you put it all into perspective in the end though, you have a great attitude and I think a lot of working moms with not only relate to this but feel a sense of relief knowing they’re not alone 🙂 xo

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! It certainly isn’t easy but it becomes predictable and more of a routine over time. Us moms have it tough – we are just trying to do the best we can no matter what!! That’s all that matters!

  • Reply
    Amy
    February 12, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Agreed – that last sentence is so good! I feel like this post must have been so cathartic for you. Sometimes just writing it all out can be so healing and help you say, “Okay I got this. I can do this.”

    I am so happy things are slowing down, and you that in the future your babies will remember how hard you worked for them to have the life they have, and the love that was always present and full in your home. Don’t be too hard on yourself!!

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you so much, friend!!! It was cathartic. I struggle so much with being open because I want to seem like I have it all together, but the more I’m vulnerable, the easier it is for me to really accept it and get through it!! You’re the best. Thank you so much for your sweet comment.

  • Reply
    Anne
    February 12, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Divide and concur is a must. I’ve been re-listening to “Lean In,” and Sandberg is right. We have to divide house and childcare 50/50. Luckily we have amazing partners who take that on. I hate hearing, “she can do it all” or “super mom” cliches. They are simplifications of lives and set up unrealistic expectations. The stress of trying to balance our lives with little ones is hard (read that in italics), but it’s also amazing and beautiful and real. When I was scrubbing kitchen floors at 10:00 pm the other night when I really wanted to be in bed painting my nails, I had to stop and think…my life is blessed.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      I need to look up Lean In! But divide and conquer is our life. Everything is 50/50 around here, too. Go us and our awesome men. I was also thinking about this the other day…. if Greg showed up with Kennedy to MDO and she looks like a hot mess with mismatched clothes and unbrushed hair, people think “Awww… go dad. A for effort.” If I did that, it would be “whoa, what is wrong with that mom???” There is a lot of pressure for women to be that super mom, even if we have households that are 50/50. A lot of it is a reflection on ME. And it shouldn’t be. So I guess sometimes that adds to the pressure and the stress.

  • Reply
    Becky
    February 12, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I totally feel the working mom struggle. I am a fifth grade teacher and I have a 14- month old daughter. I am always counting down to our breaks or long weekends. I feel guilty dropping her off and saying good-bye in the morning. I feel sad that I can’t take her to the baby story hour at my library and baby music class at church, because they are on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Once I am home from work to bedtime, my time is just devoted to the baby.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 12, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Oh I know how hard this is!! The guilt is terrible, isn’t it? Luckily teaching is a really good job to have because you have all the breaks and summer off. It also gets easier as they get older. When they’re so little, it’s so hard. What’s terrible with my job is I teach all day and then I direct after school, so it’s like having two jobs. Work-life balance can be super hard when we’re in the thick of a show! But we’re doing the best we can, right? That’s all that matters!!

  • Reply
    Jessica DImas
    February 12, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    I love your perspective on this, and I’m sure all working moms appreciate hearing another working mom share her experience and tips. Moms are pulled in so many directions. Even though I’m a SAHM, reading through some of your struggles made my heart hurt and gave me a different perspective as well. You are an amazing mom and I commend you for working so hard for your family. It would not be easy to be a working mom, I have a lot of respect for them!

  • Reply
    Alycia L
    February 12, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    I totally agree!!! Working fulltime outside the home can be difficult!! I have to, and want to, work. It’s hard though, seeing the SAHM’s sometimes, getting to enjoy so much time with their kiddos!! Life is a balance though!

    • Reply
      Alycia L
      February 12, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      Oops, didn’t finish my comment.

      I love how you add extra time for cuddles or snuggle a little longer at bedtime. So important!!

  • Reply
    Justina
    February 13, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    I totally understand how much work goes into being into theater- I was a music teacher when I was working. I loved actually teaching music, but all the details really got to me and became so much bullshit. I loved my students and I loved teaching, but I hated that there was no budget for the program, I had to put my own money into it, which was less money for me and my family that I was taking home per paycheck. My health suffered, I didn’t get paid overtime, I found myself unable to break away from my job ever. When I found out I was pregnant, we moved to another state for a couple years so I had to move away from the job anyway, but looking back I don’t think I could ever go into teaching again. I thought I was passionate about it and that’s why I lived and breathed my job, and I really did love it, but in reality it dragged me down. The turning point for me was when my husband worked 80 hours in one week and we used his overtime paycheck for a new 60″ tv. It made me think, why the hell did I ever work that many hours basically for free for my job? Doesn’t seem fair. I may go back when my kids are school aged, but we’ll see.

    Have you ever thought about asking your boss to take your position down to part time? Maybe you could work a couple days a week and send your kids to daycare a couple days. Might be the best of both worlds.

    • Reply
      Meg O.
      February 16, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Glad to hear I’m not alone! A lot of my struggles are the overworked and underpaid aspect of it, but I do love my job. I am trying my best to find balance!! Thank you so much for your sweet comment – it really is refreshing to hear that I am not alone. Us fine arts teachers have the hardest jobs! We are overlooked a lot but we are there with the kids more than most core teachers will ever be. We are their second family! Oh, and side note… I also have a question for you… I am going to email you!

  • Reply
    Darby Hawley
    February 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Yes yes yes! Amen to allllll of this! I know you’re not “fishing” but can I tell you anyways? You’re an awesome mama and those girlies are so blessed to have you as their mama!

  • Reply
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    Amber
    March 23, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I love knowing I’m not the only one that has breakdowns! I work full time and my husband farms so he’s basically never home and we have 4 beautiful kiddos. It’s definitely like the skit whose on first but add in 4 kids running the bases while the skit is going on lol but somehow it all works. It’s just when I sit down long enough to let it soak in and how much I miss them and wish I could be home that the water works start. Usually around their birthdays and my husband knows it so he prepares lol. But then I realize how blessed we are for our opportunities and that my children are not lacking for love and attention. The support system of working moms in small but ever so powerful, thank you for bringing them together, keep it up super mom!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Ashley
    August 23, 2016 at 8:15 am

    I hear you! Working and parenting is so hard. Trying to be #1 in every walk of life is tiring and I never have time to take care of myself. There also aren’t enough hours in the day to work on all of it.

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  • Reply
    Mal
    March 9, 2017 at 10:15 am

    I don’t usually don’t read blog posts or comment – but I have to today. I read this post (while I am pumping at work) and thought to myself holycrap – I am not alone on the daily struggle of working, life, baby, family and whatever else gets thrown at me. Thank you for being real and sharing. I see you wrote this a while ago, but I just became a first time mom this past September 2016. Every day I take my babe to daycare is a struggle with myself to be a stay at home momma – but I enjoy work – want to be fully present in my baby girls life & don’t really want to do network marketing to make money to stay at home, but still want to work & need income. Anyways – thank you again! I look forward to more of you posts!

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