The Dualities Of The Working Mom

I am a mom. I also work full-time as a nurse. This week, I’m struggling in dealing with both of these realities of my life.

I need to be re-certified for a test at work. A test I have been taking every 2 years for the past 9 years. I cannot pass this test to save my life right now. I have a hard time focusing on the studying part and an even harder time answering the questions properly. I don’t think I’m an idiot, but failing this test over and over again sure makes me feel like one and it’s making me doubt my qualifications as a nurse. I have some tremendous co-workers helping me deal with it and it is nice to feel like I am part of a team that wants to see me succeed. I am lucky to be able to get help and encouragements from these co-workers. I don’t need to name you, you know who you are and I am thankful you were there to show your support.

This week, both my daughters are sick. They both have a terrible cold and Rina was coughing so much she vomited today. The Nanny called me at work just to give me a quick update. I don’t have my cell phone on at work while I’m on “the floor” and I usually call the Nanny on my breaks, but she wanted to keep me in the loop and she called me at work. Well, I got some negative feedback from a co-worker about receiving this short personal phone call while I was on duty. At first, I was furious, then I felt sad. Obviously, this person doesn’t know about the struggles of the working mother. She doesn’t know about the guilt one can feel for not seeing their babies for a full 48hrs. She doesn’t know about the constant worry in the back of your head while you are trying to give your 100% at work. She doesn’t know about how wrong it feels to not be the one cuddling your babies when they are sick. She doesn’t know that your day is much longer than the 12-hrs you put in at work. She doesn’t know about the mountains of snot you had to wipe before you left home in the morning and she sure as heck doesn’t know about the pang you feel when you walk in the door after your hard and busy day at work only to hear your baby cry through the front door. She doesn’t know about how you barely take time to put your bags down before picking up the crying baby and cuddling her in the dark to try to put her to sleep. She doesn’t know that, even though these moments are stolen moments (because your child should be sound asleep already), you are tremendously grateful to get to be the one to calm her down and help her back to a peaceful sleep.

I understand that she doesn’t get a “free pass” because she doesn’t have kids and I am not asking for one because I DO have kids. Having children is a choice I made and fully assume. I am not angry at that co-worker. I understand that she wants me to be focused and “in the moment” at work. I work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and you need to be on your A-Game and I get it. She doesn’t know that I got tremendous positive feedback for my work with my patients’ family today and how it helped me not feel like such a big failure for not being able to pass that silly test. I also know that she gets to go home to a quiet childless house at night and I wouldn’t trade places with her for anything in the world. 

I don’t quite know where I’m going with this post. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard, I know, I’ve done it twice for over 13 months both times. Being a working mother is hard. No matter what you do, you are always pulled in a million directions at once and I don’t think you ever feel like you’ve given your 100% at anything you do, but I am doing the best I can and that’s all I can ask of myself. I consider myself lucky to be able to work AND come home to cuddle and smell my babies’ hair while I kiss them in their sleep. Most of my co-workers are living a similar reality and are supportive. I just wish that working moms wouldn’t be made to feel guilty about being working moms. We are, after all, in the 21st century…

One thought on “The Dualities Of The Working Mom

  1. I am a working momma too ! You gotta keep going . Your kids will look up to you when they are older and say my mom did what it took to get us by . ( at least I hope my kids do) you keep at it !!!

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