The Juggle is Real

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Prior to having kids, I had little patience for working moms. It’s hard to tap into those thoughts and feelings today – but I suspect I mostly felt like they felt a bit superior. Perhaps like their time was more valuable or important, because they consciously made a decision to bring children into the world – constant excuses for running late, leaving early, or needing time off. 

“I’ll just be over here doing actual work,” I would think to myself, “You be sure your mediocre child with no immune system stays perfectly mediocre and chronically ill.”

Of course life’s lessons come in waves – perspective is gained over time in the form of broken bones, bloody knees, asthma attacks, countless sleepless nights – and in the case of today’s lesson – putting your kids on a school bus for the first time ever. 

Allow me to deviate for a quick tangent – YEARS, we’ve spent years following all the rules and diligently reading every safety manual to keep these boys alive – even through the times they seemed determined to kill themselves with reckless behavior, we were close behind to catch them. I’ve jumped in pools fully clothed, run behind wobbly bikes, climbed trees and swing sets on rescue missions – all this hard work to one day wave as my children boarded a big yellow bus with no seatbelts, a stranger behind the wheel to deliver them to a building full of people I’ve never met. What sort of practice is this anyway? 

 I digress. Here I am – at my desk. Still reeling from the moment that seemed to take a lifetime and also happened all at once. Six years was no time at all to have my babies still babies.

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 Bring your whole self to work – that’s what “they” say – it’s what we say at Juno, too! But what about the days you are only half yourself? Like today – the first day of school. 

I’m slightly dramatic, other moms might be cheering. I come by it honestly, my own mother hated back to school – she could have just as easily kept us safely tucked under her wing all year round. We would sometimes be granted days home from school to watch movies and stay in our pajamas – the real world was a bit of a shock to us, for this very reason (and others) – but I suspect I’m not alone. I have to believe other moms are nervously at work feeling a bit gutted.  

In conclusion – go easy on those working mamas. The juggle is real. Emotionally and logistically. I will not get them off the bus today, I won’t hear first-hand how their day went, and I won’t get the first hugs. I’m the working mom who precariously “balances” all the other important things a family needs to be productive and healthy. On any given day, either role is enviable. There have been many days I left the house like it was on fire (sometimes it nearly was) – happily getting a hot coffee whilst enjoying a quiet commute. But then there are days like today – quietly crying on a train into the city wondering how I became a person who cries on a train? 

Working moms – here’s to hot coffee and tears, both happy and sad!  

Mikal Harden