Thoughts and woes of a working mom

Hello, I am an expat mom and I have a confession to make: I’ve got something for SAHMs (stay at home moms). It’s called jealousy.

If you blog – do you know that feeling of avoiding to write something so as not to sound whiny or ranty? I’ve had those days lately. I have suppressed this awful feeling for a long time but today? Circumstances have been screaming at me in the face and the green monster reared its ugly head.

Yes, I am jealous of moms who are able to stay at home to be with their children.

Those moms who marvel at each baby milestone instead of hearing it from a  caretaker. Those moms who can readily go at every kid’s school functions and outings without asking for anyone’s permission.

I’d love to be that mom right now, even for a short time (like until the baby is at least a year old? or random times when the older kid needs me?).

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate what I do for work. In fact, I am thankful I get to have a place for separate identity and interest while earning to support the needs of my family.

I say I want to be an SAHM for a ‘short time’ because before, I have stayed at home for six months and felt isolated, depressed. Staying at home permanently may be right for some of us, but it is clearly not right for all of us. Working moms fantasize about quitting their jobs and taking care of kids all day every day, but the truth is that childcare is hard work. It’s not all laughing and playing peek-a-boo.

Yet I still want to be an SAHM again, even for a while.

So there. That makes me a confused/confusing person: wanting to stay at home yet wanting to keep working and wishing to be able to find the balance somehow. Enter the mom who wants to do it all, but alas, can’t.

The society is not easy for working moms because we are a minority here. I would observe a lot of moms of Twitter talking about school runs, coffee mornings or grocery shopping – all done within my work hours. I never get to participate in those coffee meetings (I don’t drink coffee but would be lovely to meet other moms) and when Pristine was younger when we came here 5 years ago, there were toddler playgroups we couldn’t attend.

And years later, tears have been shed for the after-school classes she begged to join but can’t because mom can’t drive her there and pick her up after. Those ballet and piano classes…

Last night, she gave me a piece of paper – it was an invitation to attend a Mother’s Day event at school, scheduled of course, on a day I have work. I have only attended once a few years back and my daughter snapped at me before I could even utter a word: “You have not attended this for two years now! You’ve got to come!”

Just back from maternity leave, my work load is huge, my leave credits, ZERO but how can I refuse? Work is an obligation but not as great as my obligation of being a mother.

I write this as I think about what to tell my boss that I have to take at least half day off. I am sure he (and my all male colleagues) would understand but why do I always have this feeling of guilt?And jealousy for those moms who can tick the “attend” mark without batting an eyelash?

I work full time 5 days x 7.5 hours  (shortened for an hour until the baby turns 1) + 1 day x 4.5 hours.

14 thoughts on “Thoughts and woes of a working mom

  1. Being a working mom teaches one to be able to handle all sorts of situations. Because the youngsters always puts you in a total alien situation. You always have the thought of your kid even when you are away at work. And amazingly my four year old son always manages to get into troubles when I’m away.
    Being a working mom is a tough job.
    Best wishes.



  2. The sand is always more golden on the other side right? I can empathize as I have been thinking whether or not to go back to work…need to decide by next week. My daughter is 10 months now and though the last 10 months have been filled with blissful moments, like you say it can be isolating and it’s also hard work. Hope your boss decided to let you go, I wouldn’t feel guilty sounds like you work a lot of hours 🙂 Those guys have moms too.


  3. I totally understand. I too am a working mom with 4 kids…. It is tough and I have to take it one day at a time, and give myself alot of slack for what I can’t get done. I too have alot of problem with being jealous of these stay at home moms that have their blogs and talk about their kids and homes. I wish I could be home to make my home look wonderful and have dinner on the table…etc.


    • FOUR kids!? Wow, you deserve a big pat on the back. It’s hard being a mom and what more a working mom. I often get frustrated how I seem to not able to keep up with things in the house and at the same time stay sane, have time for myself and husband. I get easily disappointed when I want to clean the house but can’t due to a crying baby, a homework that needs supervision or simply because I am too tired.

      Taking your cue, I think I need to cut myself some slack!


    • While it’s probably the most ideal thing to do and works for some, it doesn’t work for all. By the time I can afford to quit my current job to be my own boss, my kids might be teenagers already!


    • The grass is greener on the other side of the fence! Someone left a comment after you saying the SAHM moms at coffee mornings talk about going back to work!


  4. Habibti, you brought tears to my eyes. But let me say one thing: Most of the conversation at the coffee mornings you miss is about how these mums can get back to work. It’s not easy on either side of the fence. You have to do what feels right for you and your family. Xox


  5. You really are an amazing mom! Don’t worry your still a good mom despite of not being a Stay At Home Mom. You are still doing your job, and I’m sure that your kids and husband are proud of you. Keep it up! 🙂

    “Xiaoyu” for bloc porte 


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