If you are a parent, then pre-kids you probably never gave a thought to how hard it is to juggle work and the work of babies.
The struggle is real
In fact, you might even have rolled your eyes when your mum colleague turned up for work in the nick of time … but with her crumpled shirt on inside out.
Or when your mum colleague had to take the afternoon off because her child was unwell (even though unbeknownst to you she continued to work from home AND care for her kiddo that day).
Or when your mum colleague pal left the work drinks at 7pm to be home in time for tuck-ins while you and your other work buddies partied till the wee hours.
Fast-forward to when you have your own child and suddenly realise that all those mum behaviours that looked a little bit unfocused are actually evidence of just how much women are juggling, and how dedicated and hard-working they are. #SorryMums!!
A recent update from the CEO of shapewear company Spanx captures this mum juggle pretty brilliantly and it’s going viral because of its accuracy.
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The mother of invention
“The struggles of a working woman … in a rental car, on ‘vacation’ in Florida visiting my husband’s Jesse Itzler‘s family and juggling four kids,” Sara posted on LinkedIn.
“I had to pull off the side of the road for a conference call. No pen. Lip liner will have to do! Of course, I had everything in my purse (two small cars, a flashlight, diapers, wipes, snacks, army men, and even Buzz Lightyear), but NO PEN! And, my meeting ID number and host code kept changing.”
Sara’s kids were quick to call her out on a double-standard, but clearly a mum’s gotta do what a mum’s gotta do when she’s trying to run a business.
“‘Mommy, why are you writing on your leg when you told us we can’t write on ourselves?’ The struggle is real. The juggle is real. This is why everyone should hire working mothers. They are put in crazy situations all the time and are forced to problem-solve. They are some of my most resourceful employees.”
“My hardest job”
Other parents on LinkedIn loved Sara’s update and shared not only their own experiences of work-life balance, but their experience of their skills being dismissed in the workplace.
“HAHA! THIS! I have four kids and raising them was my hardest job,” one posted.
“Now interviewing, no one wants to look at those transferable skills. I am treated as though I had child rearing amnesia and do not remember a single skill from before I had kids. Not only do I remember; I gained countless new skills.”
“Volunteering and raising kids have intensified my grit, and I have learned to have patience the hard way,” that mum continued.
“No one thinks volunteering counts either. Think again. Who has four children, manages the household and volunteers for so many projects that it amounts to more than a full-time job? Someone who is incredibly loyal and dedicated, and selfless. I will keep looking and will find my place.”
Another parent chimed in, noting that lots of dads are doing the juggle as well.
“This is so true, but I would note that it applies to fathers as well,” one gent commented.
“I’ve been on many conference calls with kids slouched on the hotel room couch, beach and water slides within view from the room window, asking every 30 seconds, ‘Daddy, how much longer?’ But I would be remiss if I did not give a shout out to my wife, who indeed does juggle the kid madness much better than I do.”