You know what we don’t talk about nearly enough? How insanely hard it is to be a working mom who pumps and/or breastfeeds. (Trust me, I know — I did it myself.) So when Ambrea Jackson from Melbourne, Florida recently posted a little truth bomb on her Facebook page — in which she details the daily pressures of working and pumping, while also running a house and trying to maintain a healthy marriage — it didn’t take long before the post went viral.
“Being a nursing, pumping full-time working mom of two is HARD,” Jackson’s post begins. “Being a mom PERIOD is HARD.”
She then goes on to describe the constant feelings of guilt she has for having to disrupt her workday in order to pump, just so her milk supply won’t deplete.
Sound familiar, mamas?
Jackson’s day is about as jam-packed they come. She gets up at 5:30 in the morning to nurse her 3-month-old son McCoy and get her 4-year-old son Beckham ready for his day. By the time Jackson and her two kids are up and running around the house, her husband Poppy is already long gone to work.
At 6:45, her mother-in-law arrives to take over so Jackson can dash through the house and get ready for work herself.
“At this point, I run in and out of my house two or three times because I always forget something,” Jackson tells Babble. “I leave for work and get there at 7:33 pretty much every day. I have not had my coffee yet, so my co-workers keep their distance!”
Then come the morning meetings, after which she ducks into a private space to pump. And then, two hours later, she pumps again. And on and on it goes, every two hours — all day long. Jackson admits these constant breaks often make her feel like a “burden” to her team.
But that’s not the only guilt she feels.
“I think about my kids all day,” she says. “I’d do anything to stay home with them. The mom guilt just adds to the exhaustion.”
Exhausted yet? Just you wait — her day isn’t over yet, not even by a long shot.
“I go home at around 5:30 every day,” she says. “By the time I get home, I could literally collapse at my front door and sleep until it’s time to leave for work again. I’m SO tired. But as usual, it’s back to my other full-time job.”
And that other full-time job — motherhood — is incredibly demanding, as we all well know.
There’s dinner to cook and homework to help with; baths to give and stories to read. By 6:30 PM, Jackson’s husband returns home and helps take over the bedtime routine, so that Jackson can rush around and clean as much as possible before bed. But even in her sleep, Jackson is still on the clock.
“The baby ends up waking up at some point between 10:30-11, and I bring him down from his nursery into bed with me,” she says. “From there it’s waking every 30 minutes to two hours.”
And then, before she knows it, her alarm blares and the day is ready to start once more.
If you’re reading this right about now and thinking, “This sounds exactly like my day,” you’re not alone. Jackson’s post is an incredibly raw and honest portrayal of what a working mom goes through, which is ultimately what makes it so relatable.
As a stay-at-home-mom of three kids, one of whom I am still nursing, I can relate so hard to the sheer exhaustion that each day can bring. And while I don’t have to leave my house in order to do my job (I work from home), I still have restless nights, a ton of mom guilt, and a never-ending list of chores and appointments.
But that isn’t the whole point of Jackson’s post. The brilliance and wisdom that has captured the attention of Facebook users is that she is giving us a reminder we all need to hear: parenting is tough as nails and no one does it perfectly.
“I think all nursing moms need to remember that they are not alone,” Jackson tells Babble. “When you’re in your bedroom or nursery with your baby in the middle of the night, your house may be quiet and lonely, but just two streets away there’s probably another nursing mama up with their little, too. I find comfort in knowing that there is another human up doing exactly what I’m doing at that exact moment in time.”
As Jackson writes in her post, moms make it work — no matter what.
“Every day we make it work,” she writes. “Much love to my sisters in this journey called parenthood. You are not alone.”
Amen to that, sister. We’re all in this together, even if that’s sometimes hard to see through the chaos of the day.