It’s been a little over a month since the kids went back to school. My colleagues will tell you I was a hot mess when I came to work on the first day. I just couldn’t hold back the overwhelming emotion and pride I had sending those backpacks to second grade and pre-k. It was a bit of a shock to my 20-something, no-kids teammates when I cried in my coffee in the kitchen. Some might say, as a leader I should have been more composed and gotten my ugly cry out before I stepped foot into our East Village office. But I say, “No way. This is life for a working mom.”
I started working at Two Rivers Marketing when my son was one. I’ve worked here basically my entire career as a mommy. It’s hard. It’s overwhelming. There are days I really struggle. But I learned long ago, it’s OK to let my teammates know that. I want the countless, talented young women who work at Two Rivers Marketing to see that you CAN be a mommy and a bad-ass career woman.
Every time I hop on a flight I quietly recite these promises to myself:
- I promise not to feel guilty as I travel for work this week.
- I promise to do my best before I leave to arrange lunches, ballet slippers, and karate uniforms in baskets labeled with the day of the week.
- I promise to FaceTime at bedtime and truly believe in my heart that it’s enough.
- I promise not to feel guilty about being gone for a couple of nights. My children will not need counseling because of it.
- I promise to enjoy adult beverages with my colleagues and refrain from using the word “potty” when I excuse myself for the restroom.
- I promise to only text my husband once a day to make sure everything is OK.
- I promise to remember that “mommy” is only one of my titles. I also answer to “leader,” “director,” and “friend.”
- I promise to only scroll through the photos on my phone once (maybe twice).
- I promise to remember that my son is learning to be a kick-ass husband and father and I’m making it possible for my daughter to have a seat at any board-room or kitchen table she wants.
- I promise not to get misty-eyed if I find a pacifier in my purse.
- I promise to smile at the kids I see in the airport, while I thoroughly enjoy my coffee and magazine without having a child attached to my leg.
- I promise to enjoy all the privileges I am afforded as a working mommy and to hug my kiddos extra tight when I get home (shortly after I slip on Pokémon cards and a princess crown).
- I promise not to feel guilty about this trip and instead, to feel blessed that I can have it all.
It takes authenticity to be a working mom. It’s about having the strength to be honest about the struggle between your two lives. As members of the mommy tribe, we need to band together in our realities instead of comparing ourselves to the “perfect mommies” staring back at us through social media.
It also takes a good employer to be a successful working mom. Two Rivers makes it possible for me and many other mommies to be both. They offer several family friendly activities that allow me to play with my kids and show them what I do at work every day, we have generous PTO and flex time, and the support of 140+ people. Two Rivers accepts the life of working moms, in all our grace and spit-up.
“Mommydom” looks different for all of us. What works for me doesn’t work for everyone. We deserve the right to have both if we want to and we deserve to have organizations like Two Rivers that not only support it but applaud it. To all you traveling, career mommies who were crying in your coffees, too— I see you. We are in this together. And they will be better for it. Our companies. And our babies.
*Not all of the working mothers at 2RM are pictured.