The Career and Motherhood Seesaw

Being a working mother is hard work. I didn’t truly understand the obstacles of being a working mother until…I was a working mother. How would I manage this transition? My story isn’t like most because my daughter arrived at 25 weeks. How can I work when my child is fighting for her life?

I was very fortunate to work for a company that is big on work/life balance. I talked to the Vice Presidents I supported and had their full support to work remote. So for 18 weeks, I worked from the hospital. I was able to be there for “touch times”, rounds from the doctor and to ask 50 million questions to better understand what was going on.

Most women don’t have that option. You return to work torn about your decision to come back to work and leave your child. You need to work AND your child needs you.

What can you do? Well here are some tips:

a. Sleep when you can

This one is still hard for me because things need to be done. Bottles need to be cleaned, you have to pump, laundry needs to be done, dishes piled up in the sink…I could go on but you get the point. Sleep deprivation drains all your energy. You feel like a zombie but even cat naps can help!

b. Don’t be so hard on yourself

You. Will. Feel. Guilty. If you choose work you feel guilty and if you choose to stay home your feel guilty. Mom guilt is a biiiii. I’m a single mom, so staying home wasn’t an option for me. In my situation, I would have preferred to not have to worry about working and taking care of the bills.

McKenzie has special needs, so continuing to work made me feel guilty that I wasn’t giving her the one-on- one that she needs. I couldn’t walk away from my career either because how else would I be able to take care of her? Some days you feel like a horrible mother, a horrible employee and other days you feel like a damn superstar! Don’t beat yourself up THAT bad. You’re doing the best you can.

c. Separate Work and Mommy

No matter if you work from home or in an office, you have to compartmentalize. While you’re working…focus on work. When the work day is over…focus on your baby.

d. It can wait

You can’t do everything! It’s ok to let the dishes sit in the sink until the next day. You won’t cook dinner every night. Hell it was 6 months before I made one meal for myself! I hate admitting that but it’s the truth. I’m a clean freak so to have my place a mess made me uncomfortable until the day I just let it go. I keep the common areas and guest bathroom as clean as I can but everything else…I will get to it when I get to it.

e. Take care of you

There will never be enough time in the day to get everything done. The sooner you accept that, the better off you will be. One hard truth I’ve had to learn is that: You can’t can’t care of your family, work or home until you take care of you.

Sonni Hughes