I was at a Halloween party chatting with a neighbor. We were drinking blood red cocktails with plastic vampire teeth floating in them standing around a firepit making conversation. I knew she worked full-time but never knew what she did. Turns out she's a forensic psychologist -- she counsels criminals; and the way she talked about her work I could tell she loved it as much as I love mine as an editor here at Parents. Another neighborhood mom I'd never met before walked up. Somehow she steered the convo toward the rowing team that she belongs to. Every weekday after she drops the kids off at school, she told us, she'd meet up with this group of moms who row along the Long Island Sound. She asked me and my neighbor what ages our kids were; if they were school-age she ventured, we should come rowing too. It was a kind offer. But when we both replied we worked and couldn't make a 9 a.m. row session we got "Oh that's too bad" and that look. It's the one that says You poor thing. You have to work. Eventually it got awkward and she moved on. My neighbor and I shared a knowing glance that we were being collectively pitied. Why is it that everyone assumes being a working mom sucks so much? Or does it suck that much and my friend and I are just in the blissful minority?
According to a recent survey from Care.com, the sitter-matching website we are. They asked working moms a bunch of questions about work-life balance. Based on this summary of the survey in their press release, we are one miserable bunch:
- One in four working moms say they cry alone at least once a week due to household-related stress and 29% won't hire outside help because they feel guilty about not being able to do it all themselves.· At least once a week, a third fight with their partner and kids.· Working moms say they spend six hours alone with their partner each week, and one in four cancel activities for themselves on a weekly basis. · Approximately one in ten (11 percent) say they're afraid they're not making lasting connections with their children thanks to their hectic schedules. More than half (52 percent) are afraid they're missing out on being present in their family's everyday lives.
Whoa. While it certainly isn't easy to work full-time and raise kids (far from it), this is hard-core. Are working moms really this bugged out? (btw: Care.com defined "working mom" as any mother who was employed part-time or full-time which hello, covers a big chunk of our population.) Should we indeed be pitied? Should we quit our jobs and join the rowing team after all? (As if that were even an option!) Seriously, are my party friend and I the only ones out there loving this journey as crazy and f----ed as it can be sometimes? Are we the only ones who love our jobs as much as we love our families? Please tell me it isn't so. Please tell me that we're not all about to put our heads in the oven.
There have to be moms out there who love their crazy busy work, crazy busy life, and crazy busy family. And if you're one of them, please reach out -- I'd love to share a blood red cocktail with you.