Dear Working Moms,
I'm writing you today to apologize. I want to apologize for all the times I complained about being home all day with my stinking kids, who quite literally stunk like spit up and poop. For all the times my problems were supposed to be the only problems. For all the times I complained about all the running around I had to do, pick up, drop off, this and that. I apologize now, because I had no idea.
It's been a year since I returned to the workforce. A long, hard, troublesome year. A full year of me never having my shit together. I feel like such an asshole because I thought I knew. I thought I had an idea of what it was all going to be like. I thought I was at a place in my life where that challenge wasn't going to be so much of a challenge. I was so very wrong.
I'm so sorry I never realized that the guilt never goes away. I'm sorry that I didn't realize what a huge sacrifice it was for you to go back to work when your kids were just newborns. Tiny humans that were freshly swaddled and warm with love. How did you do that? How were you able to walk out that door? I have trouble leaving the girls today, on a Sunday morning, and they are big and not nearly as sweet smelling as the newborns they once were. I'm sorry I never acknowledged your sacrifice.
I'm sorry that I never understood now the pull between being a mother and being a career woman could knock your balance in such a way you quite often lost sight of yourself. I realize now that I didn't know that you felt guilt at work and then guilt at home because there was never quite enough of you to go around. And that all it took was a tear, a cracked voice, a sniffle, or tighter hug at drop off to question your decisions and motives to be successful in your job or career. I think that is what has surprised me the most.
I'm sorry I never realized just how hard you work. From the time you hit the snooze until the time you are able to hit your pillow every night. I had no idea that you get so much done before school drop off that it should be considered a day all its own. That just because you come home from work, doesn't mean that you are off. Second shift starts and before you know it, it is eight o'clock and the kids had popcorn and soda for dinner and homework still isn't done. It never occurred to me that you see so little of your babies every day, and that you don't even realize it most days because you are just trying to get to the end of that day. And I would have never believed you if you had explained the underlying guilt that you live with because of that.
I'm sorry working mom. I'm sorry for being such a privileged brat. I'm sorry for thinking that I had such problems. I'm sorry that I never really listened to the longing in your voice, the one that thought the grass on my side of the fence was just a little greener. I'm sorry I never asked how you were doing, how you were making it through the hard days and the short nights before the littles went to sleep. I'm so sorry that I was such a shitty friend. That it took me becoming a working mom to figure out that maybe you aren't perfect and that you don't have it all figured out either. That maybe we have always had that in common. Maybe we aren't so different after all.
I get it now. I get all of it, and I hope that you will forgive me. I hope that you will forgive me and share trade secrets and tell me that in the end it's not so bad.
Even if it is bad. Just lie to me. I kind of deserve it.