Are you a Mama who works? I am. And while I am certain Mamas who stay home have their share of struggle, I am going to talk about Working Mamas.
For the last few months, I have spent enormous amounts of time and effort planning a training for my entire agency. On Cultural Awareness. I had planned out the lunch- which was a struggle in itself- have you planned a meal for 50 colleagues? It’s exactly the same level of fun and easy as feeding 17 three year olds. So the morning of the training, I needed to get three kids on the bus by 7:23am so I would have enough time to prep and run errands for the training. Piece-o-cake. Shit cake.
I picked out clothes night before. Made sure eveyone had “cozy pants” and not the jeans that apparently are seamed with jagged shards of glass. I had stayed up to make a loaf of pumpkin bread- which at least two out of three children will eat. I got up at 5:15am to shower and get myself ready. Things went downhill from there. Zook threw is clothes back in my face. The cozy pants I’d picked out were blue and not gray. And on Tuesdays, blue cozy pants = bad. I hadn’t gotten that memo. So I am hunting through four baskets (yes you read that right) of unfolded, unsorted (which I am about 85% sure was clean) laundry for the gray cozy pants.
Meanwhile, some kind of fight has broken out somewhere in the house over who gets to eat the first slice of pumpkin bread. Giving up on the treasure hunt for the mystical fucking gray cozy pants, I run toward the sound of screaming. There’s some crying involved at this point. After determining that Cub was indeed the first downstairs and (somehow) this entitles him to the first piece of pumpkin bread, I break the news to Mooch and Zook. Zook punches Cub. I determine that this violation means he will now get the third piece of pumpkin bread. Because, duh. There’s some more screaming but now everyone seems to be moving their greivences to the table. Just ask Zook has finally stopped crying over being relegated to the third slice of pumkin bread, Cub announces that he’d really like to have oatmeal and slides the slice of pumkin bread to Zook who complains that he won’t eat it because it smells like Cub’s breath. I shit you not.
So finally, at 7:18am we run out the door to the bus stop. I’m standing there, sipping my coffee, taking that deep breath as I see the bus round that corner… I am there. I’ve made it. Another 30 seconds and I can hop in my car, flip on Adele and blissfully sit in traffic for 40 minutes. Buuuuuusssss! I yell gleefully. Too gleefully. Because just as the doors to that bus open, Zook trips and slides across the gravel. Screaming. Blood. More screaming. The bus is waiting. Now this is a moment where time stands still. I am staring at this screaming child, and pleading with the universe to make the crying stop. I am actually done. This is where I punch the clock. The bus is here- this is the handoff. I get coffee and Adele now. Nope. He refuses to get on the bus. Like refuses. Um, what the hell am I supposed to do with this? I have to go to work. Like now. But I still need to be a Mama. First I am a Mama. Work will wait.
Today, a dear Mama friend fell apart. Giant, soft tears fell from her eyes while she described to me how she feels like every day she’s failing. Failing at home. Failing her kids. This I say to you: I know the struggle. I know her well. It’s waking to the sink of dishes you were too exhausted to clean up the night before. It’s forgetting the library books. Again. It’s throwing some shit in a pan and calling it dinner when all you wanted was to try that new recipe. It’s digging through piles of clothes that never make it to the drawers before ending up in a heap next to the washer again. It’s realizing at 7am that your child is Star of the Day and needs two dozen motherfucking peanut-free, treenut-free, gluten-free snacks. It’s cyring on your way to work- not only because you have all of this on your mind but because it’s the only ten minutes you have alone. It’s crushing. And oh yeah, now you have to hold your shit together for an eight hour day and host a Cultural Awareness training for 50 peope who are going to complain about the lunch.
This I say to you: You are not alone. You are the most compassionate, strong Mama I know. Your heart is filled with so much love for your children. And oh, how they adore you. We are all in this together. And sometimes, we fall apart. Sometimes the pressure of it all bears down and panic creeps in. I need to be more. I am overwhelmed. I am failing. But you are not. You’re doing it. Every. Single. Day.
Just keep on working it, Mama.