Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hard to be a Working Mom

Photographed by Beth Caldwell, bethcaldwell.blogspot.com 

Everyone acknowledges that it’s hard to be a working mom. In fact, just the title mom clearly states that you are a hard worker…whether you get paid for it or not. I happen to be one of those moms who is now starting to transition back to office work as well as home work. And everyone acknowledges how hard this transition is…having to juggle so many hats and responsibilities and breast pumps all at once.

It is one of my first days in my soon to be new full-time job. I am sitting on the metro train, finally out of the house after a grueling 3 hour tour of getting both me and baby girl ready, and let me just say this: I…Am…Tired. My back hurts. My neck hurts. My big toe which I cut the other day is sore, my knee and shoulder are sore and loosy goosy, I’m guessing from relaxin hormones that haven’t gotten the memo that we’re no longer pregnant. I’m hauling around this huge backpack with my computer and lunch and a multitude of documents that I should have read already. I’m also transporting back and forth my portable breast pump and pumping supplies. And don’t get me wrong. I am sooooo thankful to have this job, this baby, and this breast pump. All three are top of the line! I could just really use a nap…and a vacation…and a massage. And did I mention a nap would be nice?

This is a critical crossroads in my life. You see, I’ve just gotten my dream job: Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs at Women Thrive Worldwide, a women’s international development and human rights policy organization here in Washington, DC. And the women who work there are amazing…intelligent, thoughtful, funny, eloquent, practical, visionary. Yet, I feel torn in two…my heart staying with Baby Girl when I have to leave her…my mind staying with the job when I have to leave it. Train rides to and from work can therefore be very confusing! Should I maximize potential work time? Should I go through my home to do list of all the things I need to get ready for Eliana for tomorrow? Should I pray? Breathe? Meditate? 

Today, I chose to write, hoping that the process would be cathartic and remind me yet again of how blessed I am to have so many choices. This is the difference between the haves and the have nots, isn’t it? Life is hard all around…for every woman out there. But the haves have a choice as to how hard to work and where to work and who to leave their child with and where and how to live. The have nots do not. It is indeed hard to be a working mom…whether this means that you’re working to get your family out of a tent camp in Haiti…working to sell your goods at the market place in Benin…working to feed and clothe your family in Philly…or working to balance office life and home life here in DC. So, here is a prayer for every mother out there worldwide: never ever forget that you are a valuable asset who deserves to have choice. You have worked too damn hard for it.