Working Mamas deserve a gold medal. And free Starbucks for life.
My alarm used to go off at 4:30 am Monday-Friday. I would carefully peel myself out of bed, trying not to wake my almost 12 week old daughter + husband (yes we are co-sleepers) and I would stumble to the bathroom to get ready for the day. I would turn the shower on, get in, and just start crying. The guilt I felt as a working mom was almost unbearable, and I tried so hard to cover it up.
It was my first year as a legit teacher. My dream was coming true – I finally had my own classroom; my own set of students to love and teach; a place where I could make a difference. I was putting my college degree to use.
It was also my first year as a legit Mama. I had spent 9 months growing this precious child in my womb and I only got 2 months with her at home – one of those months was spent in the pit of postpartum depression. It wasn’t enough time. I wasn’t ready. But we had bills to pay and A BABY – I had to work.
I had the same routine every morning: get my tired butt ready, fish around in the laundry baskets for some type of clothing for my daughter to wear that day – almost always settling for pjs – wake her up, get her ready, feed her, grab my coffee, then get everything packed and loaded into the car. We were always out the door no later than 6:15 am (I was psycho about being early for work). Oh and did I mention I had a 30-45 min commute?
And, yep, you guessed it – I was sweating 98% of the time.
I am not kidding when I say this: every day was a miracle that we made it out the door with our heads on straight. I would turn to my daughter and say “we did it Maddie! We made it!” And she would smile and off we would go – her to daycare and me to work.
I plan on writing a whole separate post on what it’s like to send your brand new baby to daycare because I have A LOT to say about it. So for now let me just say this: daycare was scary for me. I didn’t trust anyone, but at the same time I had to trust everyone. Because, like, they had my kid. It was weird.
I would carry her in, reluctantly hand her to Ms. Amanda and then I would cry. I would cry as I walked out and I would cry as I drove to work. Almost every day. And some days I would yell. I would yell at God. I would yell at my husband. Or sometimes I would call my mom and yell at her. I was so mad that I had to go to work. I wanted to take care of my baby, not Ms. Amanda.
It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. But, thank goodness for cellphones because the pictures I would get throughout the day helped my Mama heart, a lot.
Next to being a Mama, being a teacher is daggum HARD. We don’t get paid enough to survive. We have 18+ kids that we have to make sure learn all the things and pass all the tests. We have MOUNDS of never ending paper work that are most of the time completely pointless. And don’t even get me started on the parents. Oh sweet Jesus the parents. It’s a hard, thank-less job – just like being a mother.
So basically I spent my entire day teaching + caring for SOMEONE ELSES KID, while someone else spent their entire day teaching + caring for MY kid. Dang. I felt SO bad about that. It took me a whole year to rid myself of that guilt. Someone else saw my baby more than I did. (I know that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s how it feels when you’re a working mom – for me at least)
What people don’t realize is that working mothers never get a break. From 4:30 am to 4:30 pm my mind was in work mode. Then I would pick my daughter up from daycare and head home to start my other job: being a wife + mother. I had dinner to cook, lunches to prep, bags to pack, a baby to feed, a husband to love (or in my case some type of fight to start, ugh) and wine to drink. LOTS OF WINE.
And then I would to go to sleep and do it all over again the next day. Sometimes with a wine hangover.
Sweet Mama, I’ve been where you are. I see you. God sees you. I want you to KNOW and BELIEVE that you are making the best choice for your family right now. Please hear me when I say that you are doing Kingdom work and you are doing a GREAT JOB. Please hear me when I say Thank You; thank you for your hard work + dedication to your job and to your family. Please hear me when I say that you are not alone in this season. Your struggles were my struggles. Your pain was my pain. It’s okay to feel the guilt. It’s okay to feel defeated. It’s okay to feel just plain mad.
God is bigger than your pain. He WILL see you through this and He WILL give you the strength you need to keep going. He did it for me and I BELIEVE He will do it for you.
So, I want you to cry. I want you to cry as you’re getting ready for work. I want you to cry as you’re dropping your sweet baby off in the arms of another. I want you to cry in the car. I want you to cry at your desk. I want you to cry when you pick your baby up at the end of the day. And I want you to pour yourself a glass of wine, take a bubble bath and cry some more.
And then give that guilt to Jesus. Let him carry it for you.
The MOMENT I decided to lay it all down at the feet of Jesus and accept His grace about having to work, instead of staying home with my girl, I was free. My chains were broken. I didn’t feel alone. I didn’t feel like a complete failure. I felt strong. I felt unbreakable. I KNEW and BELIEVED that the work I was doing was for His Kingdom.
Working Mama, you’ve got that whole purpose-driven, world changer, warrior princess, super mom thing going on. Don’t ever feel guilty about being a working mother. At the end of the day your child still loves you no matter how long you were gone and that’s all that matters. You’re a powerful woman and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’ve got the hardest job(s) in the world. And you’re killin’ it.
I was proud to be a working Mama, and you should be too.