“You can’t have it all,” my mother warned when I was pregnant with my daughter. “No woman ever really does.”
Eh, I thought. I’ll show her.
One of the most distressing things at that time was trying to figure out how I’d continue working after the baby was born and keep her out of daycare at the same time. I know many kids who have thrived outside of the home from the time of their infancy, but it wasn’t a choice for my child that sat well with me. Not working was not an option, and the dearth of solutions kept me up at night.
The job I had at the time wasn’t especially creative or challenging, but I mostly enjoyed it anyway, particularly because it meant I could get paid to coast when most of my focus would be on my bouncing baby girl anyway
But the reality is that it’s not in my nature to coast. I continued to give myself completely to my work, while also giving myself completely to my daughter. The situation was exhausting, but I figured it out with as much elbow grease, dignity and grace as I could muster. The downside was that it stirred up some issues that ultimately caused my desire to juggle a job I was ambivalent about with a daughter I was over the moon about to deteriorate beyond recognition.
There were some other heartaches along the way, namely in the form of some lost friends who inexplicably let their envy or other tribulations win out over their ability to exercise support. The upside has been that the friends I’ve met since then have proved to be the kind that are worth the wait.
And in the end, indeed, the love you take is equal to the love you make. I’ve never been happier, more fulfilled professionally, more in love with my daughter and more grateful I’ve had all this time with her without farming out her care to a facility. That’s not to say it hasn’t been without its challenges, but she’s been more than worth every headache she’s triggered.
My mom was right (natch). But as it turns out, I don’t want it all, anyway. After all, where would I put it?
Do you think working moms can have it all?
Read 6 more real parents’ stories of choosing between their kids and …
Image: Meredith Carroll