Image: The Weinstein Company / St Vincent
There are certain things that only certain types of moms will understand. For instance, stay-at-home-moms have a unique grasp on what it's like to spend every waking hour with your kids. Work-from-home moms get what it's like to try to have a conference call when the toddler is melting down over their snack. And working moms get that it can feel like you're living two different lives and struggling with both of them. Moms of all kinds can relate to each other in a lot of ways. But some experiences are unique to their particular lifestyle and responsibilities.
Working moms deal with so much on a daily basis. They are mom all of the time, but then part of the time, they have to split themselves in two in order to perform at their jobs. Just because you leave the house to go to work, doesn't mean you stop being mom in those hours, you know? We balance our jobs (which are vital to being able to support our families and fulfill our dreams) and our motherhood, with varying degrees of success. We live on a tight rope, and one small misstep can spell disaster. So it's no wonder than some experiences that others would find mundane or acceptable annoy working moms to no end! If you're a working mom, you'll read some of these and nod to yourself.
In-service days, winter and spring breaks, even minimum days - these are all major kinks in a working mom's best-laid plans. No school means you have to find somewhere for your kids to go, or someone to watch them. It's fine when it's a holiday and you're off work too. But when you have to work and your kids can't go to school, it can be a hassle and a major expense. Babysitters aren't cheap! It's always a little depressing when you get that school calendar at the beginning of the year and see all the days you're going to have to cover with childcare.
In some parts of the country, kids miss a lot of school days because of snow. Which we get! When the weather is that bad out, obviously it's in the best interest of our kids that we don't send them off to school for the day. But you know who usually doesn't give a crap about how bad the weather is? Employers. Unless an avalanche has covered your home and car, you're expected to head into the office. So when school is cancelled at the last minute, but work is not? Working moms scramble to figure out what the hell they're going to do. They can pay out the nose for a sitter, or use up valuable PTO to call in sick that day. It sucks.
Sure, we want to be as involved as possible in our kids' education. We go to as many PTA meetings as possible, we try to make it to at least one performance or assembly a year, we donate money and store-bought baked goods. Working moms try our best! So it would be great if teachers understood that not every family has the time to be able to work on a school project ... together. We're lucky if we all eat a meal together twice a week. But suddenly we have to sit down for a couple of hours and research our family crest, or whatever. So annoying.
And of course, your kid tells you this as they're getting ready for bed. Like an afterthought they'd "forgotten" to mention for two goddamn weeks. It's never some easy project, either. It's always a diorama or huge poster board or research project that will take hours. You can't keep your kid up until 2 a.m. and then send them to school, so what ends up happening? That's right: mom stays up until 2 a.m., but of course still has to go to work in the morning. When that project comes back with an awesome grade and note about all the hard work your kid did on it, a little part of your soul dies.
How does that saying go? The road to hell is paved with good intentions? More like the road to hell is congested with cars that are going 5 miles an hour, tops. Working moms have their commute scheduled down to the very last second. They know that leaving the office even two minutes late can bork their entire routine. So it's especially annoying when they manage to get out of the office on time, and some jackass decided that was the day they'd steal a car and lead police on a high-speed chase. You'll get to daycare eventually, but you'll have a late fine waiting for you when you arrive.
Like we WANT to go pickup patient zero and have them cough and sneeze all over us for the rest of the day? Trust us, working moms would much rather not be exposed to whatever plague our kids have managed to bring home this time. And we get that it can seem unfair when we leave in the middle of the day or take a sick day. But just remember that the next time we come to work sick because we used up all of our sick days on our kids. Trust us, we don't like it anymore than some of you do.
Image: Fast Company
In reality, most meetings can be emails or conference calls. But some bosses like to have some face-to-face time with their employees. We get that! We are down with that. But like, could you not schedule it for the very end of the day? Because here's how this will go: the meeting will not start on time, it will be the one meeting everyone decides they want to contribute, and what should have been a quick team-building check-in will turn into an hour and a half of grievance-airing. And now you're late and out $45 in daycare late pick-up fees. Thanks.
Image: Comedy Central
Working moms LOVE the PTA and all they do for our kids' schools. They make some pretty cool stuff happen, and take a lot of the workload off our shoulders. We also want to be involved as much as we can, so we'll join the PTA! With every intention of going to the meetings and donating stuff to the activities. But then we get the meeting schedule, and every single meeting is in the morning on a weekday. We can barely get out of work to take our barfing kid to urgent care. There's no way we're going to get out of work once or twice a month to have a coffee meeting with the PTA and talk about fundraisers.
You loved those occasional work-from-home days. You looked forward to them. Those days were necessary! And now they're gone because your new supervisor doesn't understand that most people can work just fine from home a few days a month. They want their team in the office, everyday! They want to see their faces and be able to pat them on the back for a job well-done! Also they probably also want to micromanage them and work them for every minute of every work day. Ugggggggh. With the technology we have available to us, and being to connect with someone instantly over various channels, it's annoying that some employers still won't give their employers the gift of work-from-home days.
What the hell is wrong with team-building during lunchtime?! You're all already there, order some sandwiches and snacks and meet up in the conference room. But no, they want the team to spend time together outside of work. And you work with a bunch of 20-something singles who would be hitting up happy hour after they clock out anyway. So you either have to miss the work function, or you have to figure out a way to get your kid from daycare to soccer practice with all of their gear. Working moms get that this is actually an inconvenience, and not at all fun.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to be able to fit it all in?! Working moms know. Oh, WE KNOW. So maybe we have a rotating schedule with our partner. We take M/Th practice, they take Tu/F, and we switch off for weekend games. As long as the kid is OK with it, what the hell does it matter to anyone else? As much as we'd love to be able to make it every single thing our kid does, for a lot of working moms, it's just not possible. So we do the best we can, and we certainly don't need anyone to make some snide remark about our involvement.
Cold and flu season is the bane of every parent's existence. But it can be especially difficult for working moms. See, your kids are going to get sick. Then they're going to get sick again. Guess what? You're going to get sick too! Your partner will get sick, probably at the same time as your kid, rendering both of them useless. You'll need sick days left and right, but they're not unlimited. Working moms have to figure out how to best use their allotted time off, so they don't end up short when their kid spikes a fever of 104 at daycare.
"You know, if you just cut back on your expenses and budgeted better, you probably wouldn't even need to work!" Wow, thanks for that completely rude and totally wrong assessment of a situation you know nothing about! Working moms work for a lot of reasons - maybe their families couldn't manage without their income, or maybe they happen to really love their jobs. And given how hard this can be, only an idiot would assume working moms do what they do because their are no other viable options. We'll worry about our family and finances, you worry about yours, thanks so much.
Image: Giphy Studios Originals
The universe has a funny way of screwing you over more when you're already screwed, you know? Most mornings are a disaster when you're w working mom, but nothing is more annoying than when your kids add to the stress by forgetting something, throwing a tantrum over socks, or missing the bus. And of course, their school is on the other side of town, so the simple act of driving them to school or dropping off their lunch adds a solid 30 minutes to your already long commute. They're kids, they forget stuff, but man it'd be nice if they could do it on the weekends and not when you're rushing to get to work.
Image: Dimension Films
Listen, when you're a working mom, you rely on every member of your family doing their part to keep the train on the tracks! This means handling simple after-school chores like emptying backpacks and putting away their dirty laundry. But Friday rolls around, kids are excited for the weekend, and they forget. And you forget! Until it's time to pack lunch on Monday morning. No one has time to deal with that biohazard when you're trying to get out the door on time, so it's hot lunch for you today, kiddo! And now you've got to find the time to wash 3-day old mac and cheese out of a Yumbox. Awesome.
Image: The Hills
Ugh, school hours and work hours just don't mix! When you're trying to be an involved parent but everything happens between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on a weekday, it's hard. Assemblies and class parties and parent-teacher conferences and so much more you have to somehow find the time to attend. You can only take so many "long lunches", you know? We appreciate a teacher who understand that working moms want to be there, and makes it easier for us to be there. Whether it's doing phone conferences, checking in weekly via email so you don't have to have the after-school chats, or trying to keep class activities to a minimum and scheduled toward the end of the day, we appreciate the help.
Image: Carnival Film & Television
There are not nearly enough hours in the day during the week to get it all done. Between work, the kids and all their crap, and trying to get at least a few hours of sleep every night, plenty of stuff is going to fall by the wayside. And chances are, you've got plenty of work to catch up on that you put off during the week so you could watch your kid in the school play or take them to the doctor. So while some people do weekend stuff on the weekend, they're basically just an extension of the work week for working moms.
Bonus points if they're texting you from home, where they could easily ALREADY BE MAKING DINNER. See, this is what we mean when we say working moms are doing everything all the time. In order to be successful as a working mom, you need a great support system. People who will pick up the slack and carry their weight and some of yours in order to make it all happen. Hopefully, if you're a working mom, you have a partner or support system who does this for you! And hopefully they know that a text like this at the end of your day is enough to make you drive straight to Target and Starbucks because you're "working late."