I really despise the term "working mom." Like, really despise it. All moms are working moms, whether they work outside the home or not. All dads are working dads as well, but we never say "working dad" or ask the "working dad" how he balances parenthood and a job. Plus, there are some things about being a working mom every mom understands because, as I said, every mom is a working mom.
Now that I'm not in the corporate world anymore, some of these things actually do seem incredibly weird to me. Weird in that I'm curious about how we, as a society, have allowed ourselves to come so far away from the truth of our existence. How have we demonized having kids in the working world when, in reality, if we want our species to keep growing we have to have kids? Having kids is certainly more of a biological necessity than continuing to insist on keeping everyone dependent on this made up construct of a monetary system. In fact, if we were going to get really real with this line of thought, it'd make much more sense to invest our time, energy, and creativity into a sustainable, resource-based economy where no one is shamed for having children and everyone has what they need.
I'm completely aware that this is not a reality I'm likely to see in my lifetime. I just wish that it were. I feel like we'd all be a helluva lot more happier if it were and, well, I know I would. All of these weird things that working moms experience wouldn't have to happen if our global culture weren't destructively attached to trading our time for money. Check it out for yourself, through this lens, and see how weird these weird things truly are.
I could write the whole article about "working mom guilt." Hell, I could write a whole book about it, and it would be the size of War and Peace.
Mom guilt is epidemic. It's soul-killing and it's totally supported by our culture to the point that Forbes has said we shouldn't feel guilty anymore. Still, everything in our capitalist society encourages us as moms to feel guilty. Always. Maybe it's a way to keep us filling the hole of guilt with consumable goods? Who knows.
Feeling The Let-Down
Feeling my breast milk come in when I'm in a meeting and supposed to be focusing on and caring about business? Yeah, that's so bizarre. Why do we make up things to care about, like bottom lines and shareholders, when it would be so much better for all of our psyches if we were free to do what we needed, wanted, and felt called to do? Whether that's feeding my child when my body tells me to or working in a field that helps others heal from trauma without worrying about their ability to pay.
Feeling Like You're Half-Assing Everying
It'd be so nice just to whole-ass something again. Maybe when my kids are in college?
Pumping In A Car
I bought a special adapter so I could pump on my way to and from work. My entire life felt like it was about pumping. When you really think about it, how bizarre is it that my breasts were connected to a sucking machine in rush hour traffic?
Pumping In A Bathroom
I bought a special battery pack so I could pump anywhere and everywhere I needed to. I tried not to pump in bathrooms too often because, um, gross. However, it did happen occasionally, and even when the law is on a breastfeeding mother's side, if there's nowhere to pump you're going to do whatever you have to do to make sure your baby gets fed.
Preparing For A Fight About Pumping
Dear lord, I've done this more times than I can count. I'm not sure how many fights I actually got in when I was pumping, but the ones I did were definitely impactful enough that I tried to be constantly prepared for the next one.
The first possible fight I prepared for was with a TSA agent. Imaginary TSA agent would say, "You can't bring that much liquid through here!" I would say, "I'm a breastfeeding mama!" He would say, "We need to test it for chemical warfare." I would say, "If you open my milk I won't be able to give it to my child!" And so on and so forth until I'm probably frisked, or something.
The second possible fight I wanted to be ready for was with a hotel clerk on a business trip. Imaginary hotel clerk would say, "Ma'am, you can't pump in the lobby." I would say, "I'm a breastfeeding mama here on business, what am I supposed to do?" He would say, "Rent a room." I would say, "That's preposterous! I can't rent a $250 room to pump every two or four hours for this four day conference!" He would say, "Well, maybe you should've thought about that when you decided to leave your kid."
You get the idea.
Distraction At Work
When I wish I could be with my kids but I can't.
The absolute worst.
Distraction At Home
When I can't stop thinking about that project I have to finish or that deadline I have to make when I'm with my kids. Do I wish I was never distracted? Absolutely. Can I help it? Rarely.
So, what does a mother with more than her kids on her mind do? Breathe. Refocus. Breathe. Refocus. Then forgive myself when I find the refocusing difficult.
When We Question Reality As We Know It
It's not lost on me that questioning the fabric of society as we know it (i.e. the monetary system) is bizarre. It's not something many people will ever do, but as a seeker trained in asking uncomfortable questions and as a mom who constantly feels torn in a million different directions, it's weird to me that more people aren't asking these questions.
Why did we create a system that causes so much pain to so many people? Why did we create a system that can only run well when a few have a lot and many have so little? Why did we create a system where parents have to trade their time for money in order to take care of our kids. All while paying someone else to trade their time for money while caring for our kids?
Call me crazy (as I'm sure many people will) but it's weird AF. Being a mother makes that clearer than ever before.