Sometimes being a working mom is just plain hard.

Yesterday was a hard day.  Like really hard.  A “how am I going to keep doing this day in and day out?” kind of day.

See, I’m a full-time working mom with 2 kids under 3. My husband and I both work and yesterday was a day when both of us just wanted to throw our hands up and sell all of our belongings and live in a trailer by the beach. (Is that an option?)

We both work with international counterparts and the challenge of getting the kids to daycare in time to make all of our global calls both AM and PM pushed us to our limits.  Our kids were some of the 1st to be dropped off which threw my daughter for a loop.  My husband dropped her off and told me she was the saddest he’s seen in a really long time.  And if that wasn’t enough to break my heart, when I went to pick my 7-month-old son up after work (at 5pm so not even that late), he was the last baby in class.  Just hanging out on the floor all by himself.


And when he burst into tears in the car from being over tired (because he doesn’t nap at daycare but that’s another story for another day), I lost it.  This is not the life I planned.

But this is the life I have.  I’m a working mom.  And it is hard.

There’s the bottles and the backpacks and the blankets and the work bag and the pump bag and the diapers. And then you add on the commute and the parking and the shuttles and the walking.

It’s just so much.

I sit down at my desk in the morning and I feel like I’ve run a marathon. I’m also still nursing so beyond all the other challenges of life, I have to find time to carve out two 20 minute pump breaks from my schedule while also hoping those times work with the 4 other pumping mamas I share the room with.

And when I finally get through my work day and then tackle the commute home, and the evening routine. And the toddler-wrestling of bath time and bedtime.

And then when the kids finally get to bed, you cram as much as you can into those last few hours—washing bottle parts, prepping meals for the next day, answering the some work emails, and maybe if you’re lucky getting 30 minutes to sit down with your husband to watch a show.

This life is not for the faint of heart.

And my heart was pushed over the edge last night.

But you know what?  I woke up today and started it all over again.

Because even though this is all so hard right now, I remind myself to look at the bigger picture.

My husband and I work so that we can take our kids on trips around the world.  We work so that both our children can attend whatever college they want without having to worry about cost.  We work so that we can pay for the mortgage on the house that our children will love as teenagers when they get to hang out and have sleep-overs in our big bonus room with all their friends.

We work so that both our children—my son and my daughter— get to see what an equal opportunity household looks like. We work so that our kids understand that we don’t always get to do what we want.  That sometimes life is hard.  That sometimes you will face challenges and have to be brave when you don’t want to.

And most importantly, I work to show my daughter that she can be and do anything she wants to.  I work just like my mom worked to show me that I could be anything I wanted to.

So on days like yesterday, when life is just so, so hard I remind myself that this is a marathon.

I remind myself that this is one day in a long journey.

I remind myself it will get better.

I remind myself that things will get easier as the kids get older.

I remind myself that I won’t always have 47 bags to lug around to work.

I remind myself to take a deep breath and realize that one day my kids will make dinner for me and probably sooner than I want, my husband and I will actually be enjoying our wine together while our kids run around upstairs without us.

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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