Working mom and baby

These Stock Photos Are A Sham

This is not what being a working mom looks like. This is garbage.

It’s almost offensive to suggest that it could look anything like this for me. A white home, a white lady, a white baby, wearing white clothes, on a white table, everything just absolutely white and immaculate. HOW? Everything is white, except the two thriving plants in the background. Oh! Mother and child, both smiling. Again, how?! What time of the day is this supposed to be? Is the baby helping her mom create a pivot table, or are they reading the latest post in Suri’s Burn Book? Anyway, I cannot shake the feeling I get when I look at photos like these. This is just not how my life looks.

I’ll tell you what it looks like for me. A messy home, a messy lady, a super messy baby, socks everywhere, the rug that was previously white is now discolored by mud and the fur of two very dirty dogs, and really? Nobody can wear white because that shows the spit-up, the dog hair, and the coffee that was spilled on my way into the office. (And oh yeah, all my plants are dying because I can barely get it together to feed myself, let alone a plant.)

Being a working mom looks like lumpy breast pads under all my shirts. It looks like running to the bathroom to discover it’s closed, and running to the next bathroom only to find I can barely pee despite being about to wet myself four seconds ago. (What is that about, anyway?) It looks like taking calls, answering emails, and dreading server connection issues from the “Privacy Lounge.” It looks like being hooked up to a pump, hoping to finally produce more milk than my baby will consume in a day. It looks like “productivity hacks,” to-do lists, and carrying twelve thousand bags a day.

I rush out the door every morning, somehow perpetually late no matter how early I think I’m leaving. I wonder if my baby has more fun with her sitter than with me. (Probably.) I get to work and am constantly asked if I miss my baby, if I can’t wait to rush home to get to her. I try not to feel guilty telling the truth. The truth is, I love being at work. It gives me a chance to escape the 24/7 thrill ride that is raising a child. In my case, it is an incredible opportunity at balance. I feel like, for the first time in 6 years, I’m able to separate work and life. I work when I am at work, and when I come home, well, I guess I’m still working, but… you get the idea. If the baby cries all night, I don’t (always) completely lose my shit because I just had the amazing gift of 8 hours off. It allows me to fully concentrate on my 8 hours of work, and then go home and try to cobble together 6 hours of sleep in between the feeding, barfing, and crying (mostly the baby’s).

It’s not easy, but it is wonderful. It works for me, and I love that it does. I’m sure there are moms out there who can make the “all-white stock photo” world a reality, and more power to them. In the end, it all comes down to what works best for you and your family. Of course, I have my doubts, and that will probably always be the case, but I am so thankful for the freedom and ability to go to work outside my home, doing something that I love, while my baby gets to chill at home in her space… and someone else changes the diapers.

I guess you really can have it all.

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