Courtesy of Rebekah Collins

The One True Thing People Don’t Get About Working Moms

Ad failed to load

Over the weekend, I read an article shared by friends and friends of friends on Facebook. I read about a woman who left her son at daycare and returned to find him dead just two hours later. As I read through the comments on Facebook, Twitter, and on the article itself, I was reminded of how men and women feel about the maternity and paternity leave policies in the United States. I read multiple reinforced opinions about how of course mothers (not fathers?) are burdened by the decision to put their infants into daycare, even though they certainly would rather be home with them given the choice. I, like so many other women and men, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers — humans, in general — was filled with sorrow and sympathy for the baby's parents. I can't quite wrap my head around what they might be going through and how overwhelming the entire situation must be. And while I was filled with mourning for that family, I was reminded of how commonly people get working moms wrong. We are, in fact, like every other human being on the planet. We don't all fit into one perfect box.

Some women with children choose to work because they have to pay bills and cannot afford to stay home with their children. Others never question the fact that they'd continue to work, regardless of financial needs. Why? Because their work is important. Their work is part of who they are. No one asks working fathers if they'll "go back to work" after the baby is born. Instead, we just assume mothers will give it up, like it never mattered. And if they don't, we wonder why. Why is she going back to work? Where will they send the baby? Won't she feel guilty? It's too simple, though I don't understand why, to assume that working mothers want to sacrifice the very people they are — as if baby is born and the person who existed pre-baby is no more. We forget — ignore? overlook? — that working women with children are still people. With hopes. Dreams. Goals. Careers. Desires. Perfectly tailored blazers they actually do want to slip into again.

And I am one of those women.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Rebekah Collins

When my daughter was 3 months old, we put her into daycare, albeit reluctantly. I cried for days leading up to her first day. All her life so far I'd been home with my tiny, perfect baby. I was her primary caregiver and caretaker, both willingly and by design. My leave, however, was up, and there were bills to be paid, groceries to be bought, vacations to be planned, futures to plan for, and colleges to be saved up for. Beyond that, I wanted to go back to work. As much as I loved my girl, I loved my job. After 12 weeks together I was once again in search of some semblance of a work-life balance.

Ad failed to load

Not only was I leaving my daughter every day to go to work — much like her father had been doing for the last three months, I'll remind you — but I wasn't leaving her in the loving care of a family member or personal nanny, I was leaving her with strangers. Sure, they were strangers who'd been certified by the state of New Jersey, trained to work specifically with children my daughter's age, and, by all accounts, were (and are) loving and nurturing individuals who care for each child as if they were their own. But they were strangers. In a facility. Didn't I feel bad?

Yes, yes, I did. Of course I did.

Until I started to see the look of glee on my daughter's face when I'd pick her up a few minutes early and watch as she happily played puppets with her favorite teacher, laughing, kicking, having the time of her little life. Until I saw they'd be giving her loving kisses all over her toes and feet as they zipped up her coat, handing her back to me clean, fed, happy, and cooing goodbye as I buckled her into the stroller. The guilt I'd felt at the beginning evaporated in those moments, replaced with gratitude and relief. Not a day goes by that I don't thank her loving teachers for everything they've done to help our family. To help me.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Rebekah Collins

We should discuss our family leave policies in this country, and we should talk about the fact we need better, more regulated daycare options for working parents of all income levels. It's appalling that thousands of families must leave their children with sometimes unregulated, under-qualified daycare workers because no other viable options exist. And it's equally disheartening that some parents are tricked into thinking that their daycare is safe when it's anything but. But it doesn't negate the fact that working women want the daycare option. We want to know we have a choice, a say.

There are hundreds of thousands of children in the care of compassionate, well-trained individuals who devote their lives to helping families like mine run smoothly and happily. At the end of the day, isn't that what our goal should be?

Ad failed to load

What's best doesn't come in one perfect box, either, but for us our best means that my partner and I both go to work knowing our daughter is safe and loved in the care of people other than us. She'll grow up knowing that I choose to work for her and for me. And I'm grateful everyday for that choice.

Images Courtesy of Rebekah Collins (3)

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Things That *Will* Go Wrong Every Time You Plan A Kid-Free Night

The last time my husband and I went out to dinner alone was… actually, I can’t remember. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen a movie in a theater in the last year. Before we had children we used to go out all the time. But even with …
By Liza Wyles

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack