The blog post that inspired it all

 
We talked a little bit about the ‘mirror affirmations’ post that went viral in our Live Golf Cart Confessions last week.
 
Part of sharing that story was to talk about how truly authentic and off the cuff it was and how it was something we never in a million years thought would resonate with so many- re-shared, posted, liked, and commented on by millions across the country.
 
We’re just two mamas in Katy, TX trying to make a difference- trying to matter a little, to someone, even in the smallest of ways.
 
We talked about how our post came to be and the inspiration behind it. That inspiration was a beautifully written article by a truly gifted writer named Alicia. And you want to talk about serendipity and fate? By mentioning this authors name in our golf cart, in our garage, in Katy, TX of all places amazingly this got us connected to this author, who lives states away!
 
What an absolute dream, right? Being able to share with this woman what her words meant to us and continue to mean for women weeks and weeks after we posted our mirror photo, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s all so special to us. And we hope it uplifted her, as well, to know that her words are helping us through. These mirror affirmations still hang in our bathroom today.
 
Alicia Keswani is the author of the blog that started it all for us. A blog entitled, “When All you Feel Is Guilt: A Letter To New Working Moms.” And although Natalie has been a working mother for almost five years, it’s like this post was written for her.
 
Alicia is a gifted writer whose writings for Motherly resonate with mothers from all walks of life. This blog in particular touched us, particularly touching Nat. Two sentences specifically reached out off the screen and it was like a light bulb went off. These simple words, likely said by many to Nat over the years and probably in a million different ways, but somehow when put as simply as this, it hit. And it stuck.
 
Natalie immediately texted those words to Audrey while sitting in the bathtub after a long day with nothing else left to give. Something about those words sat on Nat’s heart for a bit, more than any other post on motherhood she’d read.
 
Maybe it was because this was the first time someone had touched on both sides of working mom guilt. There’s the never ending feeling that you’re pulled into a million directions and doing so much, but not one part of your life is getting enough of you. Like you’re doing so much, but none of it very well. It’s this feeling of, if one area feels balanced, the other part of your life suffers. A feeling that you’re not doing enough at home and you’re not doing enough at work.
 
Alicia’s words in this article have allowed us to change our perspective and thinking as we continue to navigate life as working moms. And it inspired us to add an affirmation for the stay at home mom, who no doubt doesn’t have it easy in any of this. Whether you work inside the home, outside of it, or do a little bit of in between, it’s all hard. There are struggles with each and we need to continue to lift one another and ourselves up with reminders that we are good, we are enough, and that we freaking got this.
 
“You’re not a bad mom because you work.”

“You’re not a bad employee because you’re a mom.”
 
It’s OK to say, I am no less of a mom than Susie down the street who stays home with her children. And it’s OK to say, I’m no less of an employee or less of a performer than single guy Bob at the office with no kids. What we’re learning is, motherhood doesn’t have to define you, but it’s also a giant part of you and your life and it’s OK to embrace it, own it, and create the life you want where you can have both.
 
What we’re also learning is no motherhood journey is the same. We’re all doing it differently. It’s time to stop looking at ourselves as less than if our motherhood looks different than someone else. And it’s time to realize that being a mother in the working world is a badge of honor, not a hindrance.
 
All of this to say, if you’re embarking on a new journey as a working mom, or still in the midst of figuring it all out years later, we hope you read this article. And we hope it means something to you, like it did us.
 
 
Here’s the full article below and the direct link to the article published on Motherly. We hope you enjoy it. 
 

When all you feel is guilt: A letter to new working moms

Hey there working mama,

Let’s go find two big comfortable chairs in a quiet cafe in the cutest part of town.

Let’s set our stuff down and give ourselves permission to press pause on the ever-running to-do lists that runs like a news-ticker in our minds.

Let’s laugh with some bittersweet laughter at how good that scenario sounds and how far away it feels from reality.

But really—come with me for a sec. Let’s actually pretend that we do get to sit on those chairs and sip coffee that’s actually hot and be the women we were before babies.

We need this break more than anyone but are probably the last to get it.

So if you have to come with me while you are feeding a baby or in the bathroom or sitting in your car during a rare errand by yourself, that’s ok. I’ve done that, too.

I want you to know that I know how it feels. I know how it feels to feel guilty as you dry your hair in the morning and the baby watches you from a bouncy seat. I know the sting that pierces your heart when you hand your precious little one to their caretaker and you catch excitement in their eyes. That irrational fear that your baby will think someone else is their mama. Or that this person is doing a better job than you.

Or—maybe the most painful thought for me personally—that they know your baby better than you do.I know the fatigue that sets in when all you feel is guilty: guilty that you like going to work, guilty that you want to go home early to be with your baby. Guilty when you miss a milestone or guilty when you have to stay late to catch up on a project. Guilty when you forget about an upcoming meeting or guilty that you have to leave early because the baby got sick. Guilty that it’s been three months back at work and shouldn’t this feel normal by now?

I know that sometimes you go cry in a bathroom stall when you are so very overwhelmed—I did the same thing last week. Or the sadness when you overhear your co-workers plan an impromptu happy hour and you can’t join them. I know the loneliness that settles into your heart as you learn how to juggle this new normal. I know you question if you are good enough—good enough at work, good enough as a mom, good enough as a spouse, because I’ve thought and felt and carried all of these emotions too.

Hear me, friend—we may not know each other but I do know this: You were chosen to be your baby’s mama.

All of who you are—your passions, your fears, your job, your living situation, your marital status, your heart, your soul—is being used to create something so, so precious: a childhood.

You are not a bad mama for working.You are not a bad employee because you are a mom.

If you are working a job you hate but you do it because bills don’t pay themselves, you are providing the means to create a childhood with a safe place to sleep and good things to eat. And I pray that one day, you’ll get to do the job you love the most—be it a different workplace or staying at home.

If you are working a job you love and you do it because you are passionate for your cause, you are providing the means to create a childhood where little girls grow up to achieve their dreams and little boys see their moms and sisters and aunts and future daughters as equals.

And either way, you are working because you are a great mother.

You are not alone in navigating this path, even though it can feel so very lonely sometimes. When the days blur together and the routine becomes mind-numbing, I pray that you will choose to see those days and moments as small pieces of a beautiful picture: the childhood you’ve been entrusted to create.

You are brave and I admire you.

Thanks for joining me,

Alicia

 

Alicia is a wife, new mom, and writer living in Chicago. You can check out more of her beautiful writings on Motherly

 

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