When I was a young, single working woman who always wore heels and a pencil skirt to traverse downtown Indianapolis, and who was always on time to work. Always. I was very judgmental of moms in the office who were perpetually late to work because of kids or leaving early because of kids. “Get it together ladies” I thought with my nose in the air. And to professionals without kids I totally get that it seems (and probably is true) that some rules are bent for parents. Many of the moms in my office at the time got to leave earlier than everyone else to pick up their kids. They ended up being gone all of the time unexpectedly with their workload sometimes getting dumped on others because they were called off to pick up sick children at school or another unforeseen situation.
To all of those women I judged, let me say this with my tail between my legs. I am sorry.
Because, I see how it is now – how really freaking hard it is to be a working mom. Most days it seems physically and mentally impossible to succeed at both motherhood and in the professional arena. You are late to work because of your kids. You are late to get your kids because of work. When you are at work, you are thinking of your kids or getting calls from school, and trying to balance pickup, doctor’s appointments and extracurricular schedules in your head like some sort of human computer. When you are at home, you are checking work emails, or thinking about things you need to do in the office. You feel bound to fail in one way or another most days. When you do your best to leave for work, your kid craps her pants, or he spills his cereal, or you forget something you need for school or work and have to make a u-turn in the family car while answering 5,683 questions from a preschooler that doesn’t stop talking.
Your brain is fried. You often have unidentified substances on your clothes. You are a one-woman paycheck-earning, bottom-wiping, lunch-packing, quarterly report-writing, superpower. You aren’t failing. You may just be surviving, but girl, you got this.