Work Life Balance

Anonymous Mom: I Hate Pretending To Enjoy Being A Working Mom

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working woman 1900sAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

In this era of non-judgement, it’s the mother of all crimes to question a mother’s choices about her family. But what about when you question those choices yourself? Or, more importantly, what if they were never really choices to begin with?

I don’t like being a working mother. I don’t want to be a working mother. And if I had any alternative, I would take it. I work because I have to. My dear husband has a good and noble (read: modestly paid) career, and that is one of the things I always loved about him. Although I lack his passion, through average intelligence and perhaps too much education, I somehow ended up in a well paid career I care little about.

I do like my job, but I am by no means passionate about it. Before I was a mother, it was fulfilling enough, but now it is just this beast that keeps me from being the mom I want to be.

When my son was born, I took took three months of semi-paid maternity leave and psyched myself up for being a working mother. I picked up some new clothes and heels and got to know my pump. But as the days of my leave ticked down, I realized that nothing about going back to work excited me. Not the work itself – boring and relatively unimportant. Not the people – mere acquaintances. As I approached the big day, I started hatching escape plans in my mind. In the end, running away with my baby to live off the land did not seem reasonable, so I packed up a cooler full of empty bottles and some extra nursing pads and shuffled off to work.

Now that I am back at work, it is everything I expected. Exhausting, unfulfilling, and sad. I work hard. And instead of taking breaks, I am hooked up to a breast pump. The baby is still up several times at night, and I cry each day from loneliness and exhaustion behind my closed office door. By the time I get home, my son is hungry and tired. I feed him, put him to bed, and if I’m lucky, I have enough time to read the notes his caregiver left about what he did that day in an attempt to feel more involved. During the week, I exist in the outskirts of his life.

I’m just the woman who makes the milk.

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