Wednesday, June 1, 2016

To the Female Breadwinner and Mom

You have my heart.  I respect you.  I admire you.  I want you to know that you matter and I know this is hard. 

I know your day does not begin at 9:00 a.m. or when you clock in.  I know that your day begins the night before when you set your alarm and think, how much do I need to get accomplished before my kids even wake up?  I know you wake up in the wee small hours just so you can get something done, i.e. shower and get ready, before you start the morning circus of waking, dressing, feeding and hauling the kids.  I know that daycare drop off is a crapshoot and provides new stories and "entertainment" every morning.  I know that the first 60 seconds that you are in the car after drop off are spent thinking, did I forget anything?  If so, will my child survive without it?  Would we be better off if I could just stay home? NO - Don't go there, not possible, don't even enter that crazytown of thinking! 

I know that the hours spent at the office or on shift require focus and a conscious effort to shake the feeling of, I really think I forgot something or is child A surviving without forgotten item?  What is on the family schedule tonight? What is for dinner? I should have pulled something out to defrost.  Maybe I need to jump on the crock pot bandwagon. Dang, we are out of milk! Seriously, I have to stop at the grocery store just for milk, again?!  I hate having to stop at the store with all the kids just for one item!  Can we go without it? 

I also know that feeling you get when your boss gives you an atta' girl or you rock that task, presentation or business trip.  I know what an amazing feeling it is to be recognized by a group of your peers for good work or win an award.  I also know that slight feeling of guilt that can creep in when you think, now THIS is what I'm meant to do.  Boo ya!  Yet, the feeling of slight guilt when you think, shoot, being a mom is supposed to be what I consider my best but yet, you know that you are meant to be a working mom, breadwinner or not.      

I know that your day does not end when the clock strikes 5:00 p.m. or at the end of your shift.   I know that sometimes you feel like going to the office is a vacation compared to staying at home with your children.  I know that each one of us realizes what a tough job it is to be a stay at home mom but that we know that us staying home is not necessarily in the best interest of our family.  I also know that for a lot of us we realize that staying home is not a reality for our family at this point in time or maybe ever.

I know what it is like to come back from maternity leave and wonder if breastfeeding is still the best option even though it takes such commitment at all times and cuts into our precious sleeping hours and can cause friction when pumping in the workplace.  I know what it is like to wonder whether or not my workplace policies or standards on breastfeeding should trump my child's best interests and our bonding.  I know that emotional roller coaster.  I know what it is like to think, if I let them dictate my position on this family issue, am I letting my job dictate the best interests of my family?  Where do I draw the line?  Is this a domino effect?

We appreciate and love our childrens' daycare teachers.  We feel guilty passing our kids off when we realize they have woken up on the wrong side of the bed but we are also thrilled at the thought that we don't have to handle kid crazy all day.  We love to hear the end of the day reports of our child thriving and that our baby laughed today.  It also breaks our heart to think we didn't hear their giggle for the first time first.  We admit that they have the knowledge and education it takes to help our child thrive and develop at the rate they are supposed to.  We love them for this! 

We watch the bank account, work the budget, choose the insurance coverage, schedule doctor's appointments, keep daycare records up to date, know the soundtrack of Frozen, Thomas, Chuggington, and also what's trending in our industry.  We take mental notes when we are at home of all the items that need to be on the grocery list and think, I've got to remember to write that down and at the same time we keep lists of to-do items for work. I know we love our Amazon Prime subscriptions and free two day shipping.

 We keep our long term goals in mind when we show up for work everyday or deal with difficult co-workers, bosses or jobs.  We focus. Its about the end game, not immediate gratification.  We plan family vacations and business trips.  We look forward to bringing our family to some of the places we have traveled on business and check off places that are absolutely not family friendly.  We enjoy the quiet hotel room on a business trip yet can't sleep because we are away from our babies and warmth of our husband.

We have the utmost respect for our husbands and all that they contribute to our households and families.  We don't place a dollar value on their support but still appreciate their contribution to the bank accounts because every penny counts.  We know how often we have sex and how often we wish we had sex or even the energy for it.  We long for and strive for spontaneous intimacy yet we know sometimes it just needs to be scheduled in order to actually happen. 

I appreciate that my husband cooks, helps with bath-time and also has a vested interest in seeing how much breast-milk I was able to pump today - then commends me for it!  I know that nothing is more encouraging than an "I'm proud of you" or "you look nice today" from your husband especially when in a male dominated industry.  I know there is no greater feeling of protection or support than that of your husband and you are in this together.  You are a team.  His goals are your goals, your goals are his, and you both are doing the best you can for your family. 

I know that being a female breadwinner doesn't undercut my husband being the head of our household.  I know that I don't want it to do that.  I understand the balance of humility and pride involved in those aspects of marriage.  I know there can be times when it is a struggle to be the breadwinner and you get why men were in this role historically but we are women, hear us roar!  I know what its like not to publicly acknowledge your role because somehow it still feels taboo to be honest about it and you recognize that some social norms are outdated or quite frankly, just not practical.  We are able to be employees, bosses, moms and wives! 

I feel you.  I am you.  I know I need to see people shout from the rooftops how much they respect the passion, drive, dedication and sacrifice of the mom breadwinner.  We all do this for the betterment of our families, marriages, lives and let's admit it, sometimes sanity. 

Here's to the long term goals, the indefinite timelines, the paycheck to paycheck or the debt snowball.  Here's to the end game.  Here's to the sleepless nights with kids and the coffee and report filled days.  Here's to being the bag lady, at daycare, at work, at the gym, etc. Here's to soaking up every evening minute with your littles and keeping them up just a little past their bedtime so you can spend some more time snuggling. Here's to putting them to bed early so you can have some time alone or with your honey.  Here's to us on the tough days when we just want to pass the baton but we can't.  Here's to us because tomorrow we start all over. 

Note: This post is not meant to draw lines or pit stay at home moms against working moms or breadwinners against their spouses.  It is simply a battle cry for one segment of mom's, which I am a part of. 

PS - Here's to the spouses who do life with us. We know that we have a lot going on and can be a bit scatter brained.  You are the bread to our butter and carry the ball when it just gets too heavy for us.  Thank you for knowing that we try our best to hold it all together and just handle it but without you, we wouldn't be who we are today.  We need you, we love you and we appreciate you.  You rock! 


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