I went to get a manicure and pedicure Friday afternoon, an extremely rare occurrence for me lately. I used to love something as simple as a mani/pedi to make me feel human again, but the busy schedule of a working mom has all too frequently put luxuries such as this very, very low on the priority list.
Like most people, I am listening to the conversations going on around me in the nail salon; these are people who seemingly see each other on a regular, bi-monthly basis for their nail touch-ups. Moments later I overheard a woman say, “Oh, no, not me. I’m a full-time mom.” I’m sure I was missing some context, but as I’m sitting in my chair, switching between available hands while sending LinkedIn messages to MSLs and aspiring MSLs about some amazing new positions we are partnering on, I felt my heart drop.
FULL. TIME. MOM.
Working-mom guilt is a real thing. And it hits me every day. Lately, I’ve been wistful, wishing my kids were tiny again. There are so many things I would do differently. Differently? No. I mean BETTER. And hearing someone refer to herself as a “full-time mom” left me absolutely gutted. So, what does that make me? A PART-TIME mom?
Most of my tribe of women are working moms, too. And I think we all struggle with this emotion, the fear that we are doing our most important job on this earth ONLY halfway.
I’m eternally blessed to know so many inspiring and wildly successful working moms, and fortunately, we are all there to lift each other up when we second-guess our decisions to become working moms. Juliana Puckett, Vice President of US Field Medical Affairs with BMS, always knows the right thing to say. Jules said “Motherhood has stretched my heart and mind in ways that have changed my perspectives on success, hardship, happiness, and fulfillment. It’s been challenging and messy at times, especially as an ‘intense’ working mom, but every single piece of it has made me a better human. I’m a working mama and that is my superpower!“ And now, with a little more clarity and perspective, I couldn’t agree with Jules more. I’m setting an example for my 21-year-old daughter Paige, who regularly calls me a “badass.” I’m also showing my 14-year-old son, Liam, that traditional gender roles aren’t set in stone, and that girls can do anything boys can do!
I reject the notion that I’m a part-time mom, that any of us working moms are “part-time” moms. Because even when at work, I am demonstrating to my children the importance of responsibility, accountability, a solid work ethic, professionalism, and interpersonal skills that will one day lead to a successful “grown-up” career for each of them, too.
And if any of you moms out there are suffering from working mom guilt, make sure that you have a tribe of working moms to lean on (and to be leaned on!). As my daughter Paige says, YOU ARE A BAD-ASS!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas of the world!
Author: Mary C. Morton