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To the SAHM who is ALWAYS working—I see you

Around this time last year, I accompanied my husband to a dinner hosted by one of his colleagues. I sat amongst a number of highly successful and intelligent women who introduced themselves and talked about their jobs. When it came to my turn, I said, “Oh, I'm just a stay-at-home mom."

As in––I don't have a job.

As in––I don't work.

I'm just a stay-at-home mom.

That statement, and the way I said it, has haunted me ever since. I didn't like the way I shied away from it, like it was something to be embarrassed about.

Because if you're a stay-at-home mom, sometimes it's hard to explain, even to yourself, how it's an incredibly demanding and, at times, difficult occupation. Even though it's not a typical, paid, report-producing, tangible-outcome-providing job.

Mama, I want you to know that it's not just you.

If you've ever gotten to the end of the day feeling sapped of every last ounce of energy, and then looked around and struggled to identify what you actually accomplished that day––it's not just you.

If you've ever felt like any time you have to yourself is colored with the anxiety of a child who might wake up or a task that you still haven't gotten around to completing ––it's not just you.

If you've ever sat on the floor, building blocks or having tea parties with your little ones, and shocked yourself by entertaining thoughts like: "Is this it? Is this my life and all I'm doing with it? Have I wasted my education, my experience, everything I worked towards before I had kids?"––it's not just you.

If you've ever wished that you could, for once, get some kind of report card, performance review, any kind of praise, or even just acknowledgement, for how well you're doing your job––it's not just you.

If you've ever run into an old colleague while you're in less-than-professional attire, with a child hanging off your hip and one in a stroller, and gotten annoyed at yourself for the unexpected embarrassment you felt––it's not just you.

If you've ever craved an intellectual conversation on a topic unrelated to children with another adult, or dressing up in a tailored suit, heels and lipstick––it's not just you.

If you've ever worried about whether you'll truly be able to re-enter the workforce one day, because you're quite certain you've lost everything you once had in your professional arsenal––it's not just you.

If you've ever greeted your husband at the end of the day by immediately handing him a crying baby, or a shrieking toddler, or both, and given him crazy eyes that said, "I'm tapping out for the rest of the evening otherwise I'm going to combust"––it's not just you.

If you've ever just wanted quiet, space, no one touching you, and no one asking you for anything, and then as soon as they're asleep, instantly regretted ever feeling that way ––it's not just you.

And, mama? If you've ever felt like this is absolutely everything you've ever wanted, and you wouldn't trade it for the world ––it's not just you.

If you've never felt more comfortable and content with your place in this season of life than you are right now, knowing that it's a season that will pass you by all too quickly ––it's not just you.

If you've ever had someone react dismissively or awkwardly when you mention that you're a stay-at-home mom, but then you've shrugged it off confidently because you know that this is some of the most valuable work you will ever do ––and yes, it is work––it's not just you.

And you know, truthfully, these thoughts and feelings don't only apply to stay-at-home moms. Whether we stay at home with our kids, work from home, or work outside the home, all of it ––all of it–– is work.

We are all working.

Our roles, in some ways, are different. Our days look different. But while our pressures come from different sources, I guarantee you that some of them will overlap.

We are all working.

We all stay up well past a sensible bedtime because we're trying to catch up on what we couldn't get to during the day. We all lay awake at night because there's always that thing you still need to organize for your child. We all experience the baby who cries out on the crackling monitor at unpredictable times, the toddler who creeps into your room at two in the morning, the fever that has been worrying you because it still hasn't broken, or that developmental or social issue that's been weighing on your mind and heart.

And when you hear the questions that seem to constantly echo in your head: Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough? Am I a good mother?

It's not just you.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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