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This Working Mom Does Not Want Your Pity

This Working Mom Does Not Want Your Pity

When my daughter was almost a year old, a well-meaning woman at a birthday party asked me what I do. I told her that I am an attorney.

“So you don’t stay home with your daughter?”

“No, I went back to work a month after she was born.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry.”

{Insert THE LOOK and sad head tilt here}


Even in 2016 where women make up almost half of work force, a surprising amount of people think only one parent should work. The funny thing is, it was never an active Choice (with a capital C). It was never a question. I worked hard over many years to achieve my professional goals. I also worked very hard to grow a human being and push her out of my body. Why should I choose one over another?

I consider birthing my law degree and birthing a human being to be my top two accomplishments in life. A close third is installing a car seat in under an hour, which itself requires a finely-honed skill set.

Trust me, working moms have enough mom guilt and self-doubt in their arsenal – they don’t need pity looks to pile more of it on. I went back to an office of amazing coworkers who were all moms. I was so fortunate to have family and eventually a very knowledgeable and loving nanny to help with the transition. I have a partner who encourages me and is a very capable father. But still, the guilt and doubt weaseled its way into my mind.

After the first few weeks of having our amazing caregiver, I turned to my husband with frantic eyes and told him I was worried that our daughter would think our nanny was her mommy because she spent more time with her than I did.

“She’s better at raising my baby than me.”

“Of course she is. She raised 16 babies in her career.”

Good point, husband.

I learned so much from having her with our family for two wonderful years. Most importantly, no matter who was caring for our daughter – nanny, grandparents, preschool teacher – nobody would replace me even if I worked full time pursuing my career. For the record, not once did my daughter call her mommy.

Most days I feel like I am doing great okay at one role or the other. I hear this sentiment from most of my working-mom friends. Day in and day out, we dig deep at work, only to receive a call from daycare telling us our little one spiked a fever five minutes before we are supposed to dial into a conference call or walk into a deposition. And when we are home soaking in snuggles because all your little one needs is mommy when she doesn’t feel well, we hear the ping of frantic work emails disturbing that peace. When did having it all become doing it all? But we do what all moms do, whether they work full time or stay at home: pour some coffee, put your hair in a bun, and handle it.

Before I became a mom, I had no idea what “The Mommy Wars” meant. And now that I know, I can’t help but think… who cares?

Stay at home? Pursue a career? Put it on hold? Let’s be real – it’s all work. The answer should always be doing what you think is best for your family. For me and mine, the answer was easy and certainly not something worthy of pity or condolences. After the past 4 years, I know with certainty that I am a better mom because I work – and many moms share this sentiment.

I haven’t figured it all out. NOT EVEN CLOSE. But I get by. My kid is happy, loved, and appears to be pretty well adjusted. Does it sting a little when she asks why I have to go to work? Absolutely. But when I tell her that mommy and daddy work to provide a good life for her, she gets it. I see her carry her sparkly princess purse in the bend of her arm with her toy cell phone in the same hand and say “I’m going to work like you, mommy!” I know she gets it. (Note to self: She sees and mimics everything. Watch my sailor mouth.)

She is proud of me. In the end, that’s all that matters.

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5 Responses to This Working Mom Does Not Want Your Pity

  1. Jessica Luckett
    Jessica Luckett November 10, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    Love this for so many reasons. The struggle is real, no matter what path you choose and all we need to for one another is support each other. My stay at home mom friends are notorious for having an extra snack or baby wipes in their purse when I don’t because I’m usually running from work, to school, to dance, etc. I love them for that.

    • Roxanna Robertson
      Roxanna Robertson November 10, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

      The village is necessary! And that village is comprised of all kinds of mamas.

  2. Vicki December 6, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    ROX Rocks!

  3. Stephanie C December 7, 2016 at 7:24 am #

    Love the quote — “Since when does having it all mean doing it all?” So true for just about every aspect of life. Great article, friend!

    • Stephanie C December 7, 2016 at 7:26 am #

      … and like every good attorney, I wrote the quote wrong. But the point still stands. 😉