What It’s Really Like to Work Full-Time and Be a Mom

10 real women on what it's like to work full-time and be a mom.

Women are inspiring. They hold high-powered positions across different industries; they start their own businesses; they raise families.

In fact, more than 70 percent of American women with children are in the workforce.

But with only 24 hours in the day, how do they do it all? We spoke to 10 real women who work full-time, raise children, maintain their homes, and still find room for personal time and growth. Here’s what they said.

It's Just Hard.

“Working full-time while raising kids is just plain hard. I don’t really know what to say when people ask, ‘How do you do it all?’ Maybe the best answer is ‘I don’t.’ So maybe rather than asking that, the question should be, ‘How do you make it work?’ I give myself permission to have a sink full of dirty dishes, have the child at daycare that always has super crazy hair, and be OK with a walk down the street as my exercise that day. The best advice I can come up with is: be flexible, lower your expectations, laugh at yourself, be present, and try to enjoy the little moments.”

-Krystal, Community Outreach Manager for A Secure Life and mother of a 3-year-old boy

I Work Because I Love It.

“I work because I love it and want to use my abilities. Kudos to every mom out there. None of us are doing it perfectly, but every mom I know is doing her best. The most important thing we can do is not judge each other and give each other – and ourselves – grace.”

-Amanda Ponzar, CMO at Community Health Charities and mom to two boys

It’s a Financial Necessity.

“Why I work? It’s a financial necessity for our family to live the lifestyle and in the area that we’ve chosen. However, I have a genuine passion for solving the types of problems I do in my work… [E]ven if there were no financial necessity, I would carve out work as part of my life. Although it’s a huge juggle and creates its own unique stressors, I hope to teach my children important lessons about work: How [to do work] they find meaningful, [how to] maintain [their] independence, and [how to] contribute to society – by demonstrating life as a parent includes work.”

-Leslie Forde, self-care advocate and blogger at Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs and mother of two

Compartmentalizing is Key.

“It all comes down to compartmentalizing and not being ashamed to ask for help. It’s important to be a professional and a good mother, but it’s important to be present in both roles, instead of stressing about failing someone all of the time. When I am with my daughter, I put my cell phone in the other room and step away from the computer. When I’m at work, I close all of my internet browsers and put my cell phone in my desk drawer until I need it for something work-related. Sometimes it’s difficult, but I am so much better at being a wife/mom/worker when I am fully present in the moment, instead of trying to multitask more than necessary.”

-Megan, of Turn the Page Book Coaching & Editorial and mother of a newborn

Don’t Be a Martyr.

“Women need to stop glorifying being a martyr for their family. We need to take care of ourselves in order to do the very best for our children. That is what I found is the most effective way to juggle being a mother, business owner, employee, and still have a happy life.”

-Carrie A. Boan, a NeuroLife Coach and mother

I Work Because I Can.

“[I was] recently in a pitch meeting for a potential new client. The potential client was a man who asked us both [myself and another woman] if we had children. When we told him we did, he asked how we would be able to run his campaign in the summertime when our children were out of school. He actually said, ‘I know you’re moms, and you have to take of your kids, so how will you do that and run my campaign?’ I looked him square in the eye and said, ‘We’ll run your campaign the same way that a father would whose children were out in the summertime. My uterus doesn’t dictate my ability to do a good job. I work not because I have to, but because I can. I’m very privileged to be able to choose whether or not I work. Some women work because they have to in order to feed their families. Some women can’t work because they couldn’t afford childcare. But I choose to work because I have two daughters. I want my girls to know that they have the same career opportunities and freedoms that men do.’”

Crystal Henry, writer and mother of two girls

Find your Support Network.

“Surround yourself with others that are like-minded. It is invaluable to have other women that know what you’re going through, can cheer you on, give tips and tricks, and to just be an ear to listen to complaints and tears. Without that support, it would be very difficult to do all that we need to do as working women in one of our most important jobs of being a mom.”

-Tori Tilton, owner of Share the Soap and mom

Know Your Limits.

My advice to full-time working moms is to know your limits. Know how much time you need alone – outside of work and kids – because when you are burnt out, both of your jobs will suffer.”

-Kenna Cook, a single mother who works full-time

There is No Such Thing as Balance.

“First and foremost, there’s no such thing as balance. I advocate work-life harmony, because there is always an ebb and flow to my responsibilities and obligations to my family and my business as an entrepreneur, not to mention to my friends, my community, and myself.”

-Jacqueline Shaulis, author of Embrace Your Awesome and mother of one son

Enjoy Every Moment.

“Try to remember to stop and smell the roses both at work and with family. [E]njoy the moments, because, at the end of the day, this is what it’s really all about.”

-Joann Butler, president of Consultancy Media and mother of two boys

 

Join the Discussion

4 Responses to “What It’s Really Like to Work Full-Time and Be a Mom”

  1. Barbara Hasbini

    Thanks so much for the article. I know this covers all working moms, single or not, this is very timely, especially with the release of the report noting that the stress experienced by single working moms is akin to PTSD. We need to all be a network of support for each other. I especially take to heart Amanda Ponzar’s statement that we should not judge and we need to give ourselves, and others, grace. So true.

  2. Sara D.

    I am disappointed that there wasn’t more focus here on equality between Moms and dads. Why make this only about working moms, why not working parents? Would love to see more fathers asked this question. Leaving dads out of the conversation implies that it’s not their job to parent, that it is solely the moms job.

  3. S. Hannah Dennis

    No sympathy at all. You choose to get pregnant deal with it.

  4. Jen

    Frustrating – What It’s Really Like to Work Full-Time and Be a Mom? I understand this is a female oriented site, but speaking on the whole, does anyone ask “What it’s really like to work Full-Time and be a dad?????”. NO, no. We don’t see those articles, because no one is expecting this of dads, but why? I’m a mom, I have a husband, who is the dad. I try as hard as possible to ensure we split duties. It’s hard for BOTH of us, but we make it work. Thankfully he is a wonderful parenting and life partner who is an adult in his own right and takes care of things, and doesn’t need to be nagged or babysat to make sure he’s doing it. It’s time we change the narrative on this.