What It’s Really Like Being a Working Mom


Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

I have now been a working mom for a little over a month. I have woken up and showed up for work for 33 days. And I have gone into work not seeing my daughter beforehand every single day (well, minus two weeks when my husband was out of town). I have also gone 48 hours without seeing her at all, due to meetings I had after work.

And I’m exhausted. Mentally, physically, and emotionally.

And honestly this has nothing to do with my place of work. I work at a wonderful school with a great administrative team and an amazing fourth grade team and classroom team. I absolutely love my class. But being a working mom is harder than I ever thought it would be.

Being a working mom is heartbreaking. You are missing hours and hours of time that you’ll never get back. You are missing first’s. You are missing smiles, laughs, and snuggles.

Being a working mom is someone else taking care of your sick baby.

It’s your kid looking you in the eye and saying, “don’t go,” as you walk out the door.

It’s not knowing what to say when a stay-at-home mom friends complains about her child not napping or throwing a tantrum in Target because it makes you realize you don’t know whether your child took a nap today or whether they threw a tantrum.

Being a working mom is anxiety. It is anxiety that creeps in randomly or comes as expected. It is anxiety on weekends when I literally can not make a decision as to whether we should run out the front door and do tons and tons of fun things or sit in the house and just spend quality time together. It is anxiety as our hours together in the evening or on weekends dwindles down.

Being is working mom is physically demanding.

It is late nights and early mornings.

It is lack of control.

It is tears.

Big, ugly tears.

Being a working mom is forgetfulness. Forgetfulness that is silly, but most often that is frustrating. Important items left behind, keys locked in the car, deadlines missed.

It is regret.

I chose this, yet find it hard to explain “why,” like I was easily able to do before it even started.

Being a working mom is count downs. Counting down days until holidays, hours to the end of the day, minutes on the ride home.

It is the Sunday blues.

It is finding their toys in your purse and immediately crying, even though you’re in the middle of the grocery store.

It is having little to no patience with your sweet child in the evenings because things at work have already pushed your buttons all day long.

And being a working mom is fear. All kinds of fear. Is she okay? Is she happy? Is our relationship going to change? Are we going to be as close? Am I adequate enough for this job? Am I adequate enough to be a mother? Am I adequate enough to do BOTH?

My house is never clean enough, my work is never complete enough, and my time with my family is never long enough. Nothing seems like enough anymore. And it’s discouraging.

But being a working mom is also strength and grit.

It is going to bed late and waking up early.

And getting stuff done!

Procrastination isn’t an option.

People are relying on you. Your coworkers, your boss, and your family!

And you know what, even though it’s so hard, next to natural childbirth this is the honestly the most empowered I’ve ever felt. Even though this Wonder Woman normally has dirty hair and has lost her to-do list somewhere, I still feel like Wonder Woman!

Leaving your child more days of the week than not, is not for the weary. But damn, if that’s not exactly what I feel like.

And at the end of the day, maybe I really am not built for this. Maybe I don’t possess that last bit of strength I need to power through. And that’s okay. 

This is just the beginning though. I realize there is lots of growing, changing, and learning that still needs to take place. I hope I’m not alone in this struggle. And if not, and you’re the one struggling along with me, give it time. I’m trying my hardest to do the same!

Just bare with me, because while I am so, so grateful for the two years that I was home, I am just really missing it right now.





12 thoughts on “What It’s Really Like Being a Working Mom

  1. Stephanie Gilbert says:

    Oh, Chels, my heart is sad for you. But sometimes doing what’s best for your family isn’t easy. You are such a rockstar mom though… the fact that you care so much and miss that sweet baby so much tells me you are nothing less! I know your raw words will be an encouragement to someone else going through the same thing. Love you, friend!


  2. Kendall says:

    So very true! Every word of it! I’ve been a working mom since my child was born, and, honestly, I don’t know if it ever gets easier. You just get more used to it. Hoping and praying I am able to stay home with the next one. Praying for you! I know the struggle, and I’ve cried all the tears! Trust in the Lord and enjoy the precious moments you get. And don’t worry….summer will come! At least we can look forward to that! 😊


    • Chelsea McKinney says:

      I’ve heard so many times that it doesn’t get easier, you just get used to it. Not wanting that and wanting that so I can make it through! Thank you for the prayers! Praying for you guys for so many reasons lately. Glad we’ve stayed in touch. And yes!!!! Holidays, weekends, and summer vacation make it a heck of a lot easier, that’s for sure!


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