In the past week, two viral photos have been circulating the Interwebs and showing the world what women have known since the dawn of time: Moms know how to get shit done — even when our kids are (literally) strapped to our backs.
Last week, Dr. Megan McMahan Meier, a sports medicine doctor from Oklahoma, gained Internet fame after a photo of her at work went viral. As she later shared with Babble, Meier’s sitter canceled right before the game, but that didn’t stop her from heading to it anyway, with her daughter in tow. In the photo, she can be seen treating a football player for an injury with her toddler strapped to her back and a visible baby bump in front.
It was pretty badass.
And now, the photo of another mom-on-the-job is making the rounds. In it, photographer Melissa Wardlow can be seen talking to her 3-year-old son Jordan, who’s riding in a back carrier, while her 8-month-old daughter Addison is strapped to her front. Meanwhile, the mom of two is busily photographing the first half of the high school football game. The photo, which was shared on Facebook Wednesday by Dallas Morning News and credited to the paper’s special contributor John F. Rhodes, has since gone viral, racking up 21K likes and counting. According to the Facebook post, Wardlow’s husband is a coach at Lake Ridge High School, and she often photographs games for the team.
While Meier and Wardlow are no doubt amazing women, in some respects the attention these two images are garnering lately is a bit surprising. I mean, most mothers will tell you that multi-tasking is par for the course in the day-to-day life of a parent. Whether we’re answering work emails while our kids color nearby, or making dinner while helping one child with homework and teaching the other to tie their shoes, or tutoring a student while our daughter plays with LEGOs, or leading a conference call with a baby in our lap. Whatever the case, we do what we need to do to take care of our family — and sometimes that means working to earn a buck with a child in tow.
Perhaps, in some kind of ideal world, we would all have clear boundaries of when we are parenting and when we are working, but the truth is life is messy and complicated and the lines get blurred. We are moms AND doctors or lawyers or writers or teachers. Obligations overlap, lines blur. Instead of choosing one over the other, we just figure out a way to get shit done.
Is it ideal? Who’s to say, really? But it’s reality. And while our kids might not get our undivided attention all the time, the benefits they get from seeing us work hard at a job we love can’t be overstated.
It isn’t just moms who are bringing kids to work, either. When I was little, I would sit in my dad’s office and help him put stamps on the mail or stuff envelopes. He started his own company so he didn’t have to worry about a boss telling him to choose between family and work — a benefit that not everyone has.
Frankly, I look forward to the day when we don’t talk about working moms and stay-at-home dads, but we are all just moms and dads taking care of our families in the best way we can.