Top 10 Misconceptions of the Working Mom

Over the past 2 years, I’ve noticed that working moms are often a little misunderstood. People tend to assume things about us without even knowing us or understanding our situation. For me, it actually started 3 years ago when I was pregnant with our first daughter and people asked me if I would be returning to work. And I don’t mean like family and friends, most of them actually didn’t ask me because they knew I would be going back to work after she was born. I’m talking about strangers on the elevator. One even told me he felt sorry for our unborn daughter. Yes, a complete stranger — trust me, my jaw probably hit the floor during that elevator ride. So in an effort to clear up some of the misunderstandings, here are my top 10 misconceptions of the working mom. Let me know I’m not alone and tell me about how you feel misunderstood as a working mom or a SAHM for that matter, in the comments below.

Working Mom Misconceptions

1} We spend our lunches eating out with friends and co-workers.

Sometimes we get to do this, and when we do it’s fabulous and a welcome break from the demands of work and motherhood. The reality is that most days we sit at our desks and work through lunch so that we can get home in time for gymnastics or so we can see our kiddos for an extra hour that night. When we’re not working through lunch, we’re running one of the many errands on our never ending to do list.

2} We are miserable at work and miss our children all day.

Yes, we miss our children, especially when we first send that little bundle of joy to daycare, leave them with the nanny, or a family member comes over to care for them. But then it gets easier, and dare I say, some days, really easy. {Hello, terrible twos!!} We definitely aren’t miserable at work and most of the day there is no time to think about all the things that could make us miserable. We show up, work hard, and before we know it, it’s time to go pick up that sweet baby!

3} We only work because we have to.

This may be true for some of us on the working mom team, but it isn’t true for all of us. I never saw myself as a stay at home mom, and it was never something I wanted for me or my family. Did I doubt my decision after I met my first baby? Absolutely! Was it really hard to drop her off at daycare those first couple of months? Without a doubt. But, like I said before, it got easier, and it has become the best decision our family has ever made. Our daughter is thriving in daycare, and I’m also thriving at work while helping provide for our family and her future.

4} We don’t have time for play dates.

Thankfully, the traditional work day is disappearing more and more with the demand for flexibility at work. No, we probably won’t be able to make the weekday 10am play date at the park, but if you throw in a couple afternoon or weekend trips to the pumpkin patch or farmer’s market, we just might make it. The mommy groups that I’m in do a great job of scheduling events for the working moms, and so do my friends. But if you’re a working mama that is missing out on play dates, forge your own path and plan a play date that works for your schedule.

5} We don’t understand what it’s like to be a SAHM.

For most working moms, maternity leave is the closest thing to being a stay at home mom that we’ll ever experience, but some of us put in a few years as a SAHM before we went back to work. Either way, the time we experienced as a stay at home mom is a time that we won’t ever forget. Yes, it was unforgettable because we bonded with and enjoyed the time with our babies, but it was also unforgettable because it was HARD work. Just like stay at home moms, on some days we stared at the clock hoping it was time for daddy to come home and simultaneously wondered how it was only 9am. We felt exhausted, lonely, and under-appreciated…but at the same time important, fortunate, and oh so loved.

6} Our kids get sick all the time.

Our kids get sick just as much as everyone else’s. Kids get sick. It’s a fact of life. They pick up germs at school, the park, the splash pad, church, the grocery store, birthday parties, and the list goes on and on. It’s no fun, but it’s just a part of having young children.

7} Strangers are raising our children.

No one is raising our children but us. Their teachers and school administrators aren’t strangers. They are people we see and interact with each day. We choose carefully who cares for and teaches our children, and they become more and more like family with each passing day.

8} We don’t enjoy motherhood.

This one couldn’t be further from the truth. We love motherhood, our journey just looks a little different than the traditional stay at home mom, but the truth is, all of our experiences are unique. The definition of a traditional SAHM is changing all the time.

9} Our career is more important than our family.

If we needed to quit our job tomorrow in order to meet the needs of our children, we would without hesitation. Our careers are important, but nothing is more important than our family.

10} Our children aren’t well behaved.

Some children have behavioral issues, and they also have working mothers. Other children have behavioral issues, and their mothers stay at home. For my family we are continuously impressed with the manners and behaviors our daughter learns while she’s at school. This may not be the case for everyone, but the assumption that all children with working mothers have bad behavior just isn’t true.

So there you have it, the 10 misconceptions I notice most.  But we all experience them, so what are yours?

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Mandy is a former Army brat born and raised in the great state of Texas. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Business Finance from Texas Tech University; she currently works as a Tax Accountant in Downtown Houston. In 2005 Mandy met her husband Travis while visiting her parents in Virginia. He took her breath away and followed her back to Texas as quickly as he could. Travis and Mandy shared seven adventurous years of married life before bringing their daughters into the world, Amelia {July 2013} and Evelyn {Sept 2015}. Mandy loves Jesus, country music, Instagram, the sunshine and all things water -- the beach is her happy place. She writes about her experiences as a working wife and mother at Letters to Amelia. Follow along in Mandy's daily life on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I have no children so my perceptions are all over the place…(I have one that is almost like mine… My boyfriends little boy… And it is a learning experience every day… Whatever I THOUGHT I knew… I was wrong.. Haha. And that is why I enjoy reading what you write. You have so much wisdom to share.. Even though you’ve only been a mama for 3 years! Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom!! 🙂

  2. I would add the misconception that my house is a mess and we eat out every night. I often get surprised looks when people come over and my house is not in disarray and there is home cooked food.

  3. Great article!
    I was working full-time when we were expecting our first, but I got laid off. I decided to stay home after he was born, and then I was a full-time SAHM for 7 years. I went back to school when our youngest was 3 months and got a new degree. Started back to working full-time when they were 7, 5, and 3. Your point about both being hard is so true! They’re both incredibly hard, for very different reasons.
    Going back to work was really good for all of us. I appreciate my time with my kids much more now, I love my job, and the extra income allows us to give our kids more experiences (family trips, cool day camps, etc.). I feel like I got the best of both worlds.

  4. I work from home, about half time (20 hours a week, on average). I get to set my own schedule.

    However, my work is very technical (as a telecom/internet lawyer, blogger, and sometimes middle school substitute teacher). I probably focus more in those 20 hours than most people do in 40 hours at work. Add in that my kids get off school early and we carpool, and my 20 hour work week is a 50 hour work week.

    People think I have it easy. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it is hard!

  5. Thank you for including #5. I know this article is about working mom’s but thank you for giving the SAHM a voice in the article too! I have higher order multiples and each day has challenges. There are good days and hard days.

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