working mom

This time of year I think a lot about what it means to be a working woman, and now I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a working mom.

I'm pleased to see more and more women at breakfast in the Hampton Inn, but there are some mornings where I am definitely a minority and it's a weird thing. Not uncomfortable, just weird. Now that I'm a mom, I realize why such is the case: it is hard to leave your baby. It's hard enough to juggle work and family, but add travel in the mix and there are days when I question my sanity. But I like working. I like starting and finishing projects. I like interacting with my fellow higher education professionals, and meeting cool kids who want to go out and change the world. I like the challenge of meeting enrollment goals, yet counseling students on their college search . And I like being a trailblazer (it's sad that in 2012 being a working mom who travels is still a novel concept).

But it's the guilt that is getting to me. Working moms, especially my fellow road warriors, understand what I mean.  One thing that stay at home moms will never have to deal with is guilt. I will not deny that being a stay at home mom is a hard job (and I will admit that before having kids I balked at the whining from my stay at home mom friends on Facebook). It's hard to get things done with a crying baby (although trying to do stuff around the house when you've been gone for 10 hours AND you have a crying baby is equally challenging). But man do I give those moms credit, and I am incredibly jealous of the moms with jogging strollers that I see at Starbucks when I'm out traveling.

But back to the guilt. I feel bad that I don't always feel bad. I've missed some firsts because they've happened at daycare, or they've happened when I've been out of town. That is so hard. My son's first words were, in this order: ball, dog, dada and mama. I know where I stand. And that sucks. But should it? Is it such a bad thing that my son loves his dada (or as he says now, dadden)? Why can't the mom be the breadwinner? Why can't the mom be the role model? Sure, I believe biologically moms have a connection with their kids that just can't always be replicated by dad. Although, those who know me will validate that I'm maybe not the best nurturer. That doesn't mean I don't love my son unconditionally. I'm so proud to be Graham's mom and I can (and do) talk about my crazy little boy whenever I can.

I'm just so sick of the disapproving looks from others when they hear I have a kid and I'm out on the road. I'm so tired of people asking, "Who is watching him while you're gone?" Which, by the way, is equally insulting to Jeff, who is an amazing dad, fully capable of caring for our son. I'm tired of comments like, "I could never leave my baby." Working traveling men don't have to deal with this. Stay at home moms never have to deal with this. And so, I feel guilty because society is telling me I'm a bad mother. While there are times I enjoy my solitary, peaceful meals, and mornings when I can get up at a reasonable hour to exercise, I miss my son, and I many times legitimately feel like a terrible mother. And I miss my husband. And life on the road is just plain tiring.

I'm not sure I would change it though. Partly because I like it. Partly because I just don't want to quit; I don't want to give into societal pressure. I also like the double income and am so grateful that I can provide for my family. I am also so grateful that I work because I CAN work and not because I HAVE to. And I do like work clothes - sometimes.

Anyways, this post is clearly being fueled by a state of road-weariness, but represents thoughts I have throughout the year.


  1. Although I don't travel for work and haven't started back yet, I'm already thinking about how to find balance when I do. Thanks for sharing a sentiment I think a lot of working women relate to.

  2. I work from home, and I still have guilt. I have to brush my daughter to the side during the day so I can be on the computer instead of spend time with her. I've been considering sending her to a sitter one or two mornings a week, and I feel guilty about that too. Shouldn't she stay at home with me if I am at home? Even if I'm working? Isn't that part of why I do this?

    I think that guilt is just an unescapable part of being a mom. We love our children so much that we always want to do a little more for them, but there are always limits to what each of us can do.


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