I feel like I could just end this post right there and so many of you would be shaking your head in agreement, confirming the sentiment.
But allow me to elaborate.
Being a working mother has its perks, certainly. I'm able to leave the house each day, I spend a good 9 hours each day without anyone else's spit up or food, or drool on me, I can converse with other adults, and because of our second income, my husband and I are able to have little luxuries and live in a way that we've always been accustomed to.
But you know what? It still really fucking sucks.
My husband and I made this decision for me to continue to work because 1) I thought it was what I wanted and 2) I have a pile of student loans that are going to take until 2032 to pay off (seriously, I looked it up). And there are some days when I can recognize that it's the best thing for our family right now. And there are days where I remember how much I enjoy my job, and remind myself that it's okay to feel that way. And other days (most days) I just want to hang my head and cry at the thought of missing out on this time with Henry.
I've been asked in the past, "Don't you miss him while you're at work?" Yes. Obviously. They say there is no such thing as a stupid question, but.... Of course I miss my child. I miss his laughter and his kisses. I miss his tiny body laying on mine while he naps so peacefully. I miss playing on the floor and chasing him around the house. I even miss things like fighting with him while we change his diaper, and his mini-meltdowns. I miss him. Every single part of my soul misses him. I miss him in a way that I didn't even know I could miss someone.
And I can also admit that if I was at home with him, maybe I would miss the opportunity to miss him. That I would occasionally need that distance from him so that I could remember who I am aside from being a mother. But if you'll notice, I said occasionally. I know that staying home with your kids is hard. I have several friends that stay home with the kids and I've heard the stories, and the plight in their voices when they JUST NEED A MINUTE, but don't get one. But I also know of the good side of that. Of getting to spend the days watching them grow and learn and being the one to teach them. And that's the part that I am missing out on.
So, please, I beg of you- next time you see a woman who has just dropped her child off at daycare and she looks on the verge of tears, just give her a minute to compose herself. Let her realign her features into those of someone who is ready to conquer the working world, even if inside she feels completely deflated. Give her a second to put on that face that she puts on every day. The one that masks her real feelings and lets her pretend for 9 hours every day that being at her desk is exactly where she wants to be. Don't ask her if she misses her kid while she's gone for the day. Because she does. If you need to say something, just say "I get it. And it fucking sucks."