These days, there are a whole hell of a lot of working mommas. Sure, maybe once upon a time, a family could survive on only one income, but that’s not the case anymore. And for a lot of us, having a successful and fulfilling career is actually really important.
But, as with everything that accompanies new motherhood, there are a lot of things about being a working mom that no one ever tells you. Like that you might have to fight for a clean space to pump breast milk. Or that some days you’ll actually be thrilled to drop your baby off at daycare and get 35 minutes of silence on the ride to work. Here, 9 things you’ll definitely want to keep in mind if you’re planning for the end of maternity leave.
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1. Sorry, but you won’t be able to “have it all.”
Being a working mom means juggling all the responsibilities of being a rockstar employee and Mother of the Year, while still somehow finding time to do laundry, occasionally see your partner (if you have one), and not go totally MIA on your social life. You can #LeanIn until you fall the fuck over, but sometimes you’re still going to have to choose between that work dinner, your bestie’s birthday, and the daycare Thanksgiving celebration. Look, if you can’t be in seven places at once, it’s OK.
2. Your wardrobe might need an upgrade.
You are a goddess, and don’t you ever forget it, but sometimes even goddesses need new pencil skirts. Pregnancy moves shit around, and it’s totally normal if your pre-baby work clothes never fit the same way. Two years post-baby, I’m still rocking a bigger bra and a different shoe size. Don’t put pressure on yourself to “bounce back” from baby-making. Just use it as an excuse for a little self-care and online shopping.
3. Childcare is expensive AF.
You’ve heard forever about the rising cost of childcare, but you’ll still have mad sticker shock once you actually start touring daycares and checking out your options. When I had my first child, I actually couldn’t afford to go back to work for a while because the cost of daycare was higher than my salary. Yes, that is a real thing that happens. Start looking for childcare early and, unless you happen to be a female Bill Gates, ask around to find out if you qualify for any grants or scholarships.
4. Some coworkers just won’t get it.
Not everyone understands what it’s like to work and parent at the same time. You might have coworkers who throw a hissy fit every time you need a break to pump or see someone rolling their eyes whenever you can’t stay until 3 a.m. to finish a project. The reality is, your priorities will change a little bit, but that doesn’t make you a bad employee. Keep showing up and kicking ass, and don’t let a few haters kill your vibe.
5. You’re going to need a million shots of espresso.
I hope you got plenty of sleep before the baby came, because shit is about to get rough. Not only is the baby waking you and your partner up around the clock, but you’ve also got to be up early for work and somehow manage to stay energized until quittin’ time. There’s no way to sugarcoat the exhaustion you’re about to feel. Just squeeze in some shut-eye whenever you can and make that coffee strong.
6. There will be #MomGuilt.
Once in a while, you’ll end up late for daycare pick-up or you’ll have to rush out to grab a sick kid, and you’ll feel stressed and anxious about all the responsibilities riding on your shoulders. Mom Guilt is a real thing, and as someone who’s been a SAHM, worked full-time outside the house, and now works from home, I can tell you that you’ll feel it no matter what you do. Mom guilt isn’t a sign you’re doing a bad job. It’s a sign that care a whole hell of a lot about doing a great job. Don’t let a bad day make you forget how far you’ve come.
7. Payday will be extra sweet.
Making money and being an independent woman is badass on its own, but there’s a little extra sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing you’re raking in that sweet, sweet diaper, formula, or even just adorable AF Wonder Woman onesie money. You’re supporting a family now, and making it look damn good. It’s totally okay to feel proud of that.
8. Small talk will give you life.
Being at work gives you the chance to talk to other grown-ups about politics, celebrity gossip, or even just to discuss your feelings about the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (#TeamGreg). If you’ve been home with a baby for any amount of time, you will crave those small interactions the way you craved spicy tuna rolls when you were 8 months pregnant. Babies are are adorable, but let’s be real here: They kind of suck at conversations.
9. You might love your job even more than you used to.
Not every mom loves her job or wants to work full-time post-baby, but if you’re lucky enough to be in a job that you find totally fulfilling, becoming a mom might just multiply those feelings. Working gives you an identity outside of motherhood, it gives you an outlet for your intelligence and creativity, and it helps you feel a sense of accomplishment you can’t quite get anywhere else. It’s totally okay to be a mom who loves being at work, and when your kid gets old enough to understand, he or she will definitely be able to recognize that their mom is a total badass.