Why can’t we talk about what it’s really like?
I’m lucky enough to have a few people at the office I can truly commiserate with about the day to day struggles of being a mom. I have cried to them after a terrible morning and they have to me as well. This has been a tremendous source of support and strength in my life.
So, it got me thinking—Why isn’t there more of this?
I can’t help but look around at my colleagues and imagine what their mornings are like. I wonder if they’re like mine.
But of course, I picture impeccably groomed and dressed children walking out of their polished homes in a neat and orderly fashion. They give their mother ample time to get to the office, maybe even with time to spare.
Maybe she even stops for a latte. She looks fantastic. She hasn’t spilled anything on herself and she probably worked out before her kids even got out of bed.
Now, let’s talk about what I look like at 6am.
I am usually half-dressed, chasing an even less dressed 3-year-old through the kitchen. Trying to drink my coffee and pack lunches at the same time.
I am likely trying to decide which part of my morning routine I can do without because I don’t have time for it all.
Maybe I will decide to give up styling my hair and just pull it into a damp ponytail.
Or perhaps I will pass on eating breakfast, even though I’m not one of those people who can go without food (I get hangry).
I’m usually having several conversations simultaneously, trying to convince my 7-year old not to wear leopard print and polka dots in the same outfit without hurting her feelings, while reminding my 9-year old that she has clarinet practice.
I am refereeing, breaking up brawls over the coveted Elsa juice glass or the headband that they all like to wear.
I am shoving permission slips or lunch money into folders (hopefully the right folders) and french braiding as fast as my fingers will go.
Sometimes there’s yelling, or crying or sulking. And sometimes I need to remind myself to stop and take a deep breath.
I get to work, usually having done an okay job of pulling myself together. My shirt is basically clean and I even have mascara on—sometimes.
So, why can’t we talk about what it’s really like to raise a family and have a full time career? Why can’t we admit that sometimes it is just so hard?
Maybe it is pure self-preservation that makes us do this to ourselves. If it looks like we have it all together, then maybe it will feel that way too.
Or maybe it’s just plain pride—not wanting others to think we can’t handle things.
I point no fingers because I am guilty of it too. I sometimes wear the façade that says I am cool, calm, collected and ready to take on anything today. I am trying to make this all look easy, and, frankly, it’s just not.
Working in a female-dominated profession, I can’t help but imagine the possibilities if our mom worlds were open books to our work worlds.
Can you imagine if we all went around saying things like, “I was late today because I couldn’t find my daughter’s shoe. Literally, it took 30 minutes to find the shoe and I had to rip half the house apart”?
I have lived that one on more occasions than I would like to admit.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that my 14-year old son isn’t the only one sending his mother ridiculous texts during her meeting like, “Did you buy Salami?” or ”Can you take me to Best Buy?” Or texts saying, “I forgot my soccer cleats” followed by a series of repeat texts that just read “Mommy?” “Mommy?” “Mommy?”
So, I have decided to make a real effort towards this. I am telling myself that it’s okay for people to know what my 6am looks like and I welcome them to tell me about theirs.
As human beings, we often seek a sense of community and commonality. If we could talk about the day to day struggles rather than hide them, imagine what that could feel like. The more years I spend as a working mom, the more I find myself thirsting for this sort of camaraderie.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could be each other’s community, each other’s sounding boards, without fear of judgment or criticism?