Woes of A Working Mom

By Esther Rachel Lai. - 7/05/2016

Like most Singaporean moms, I work full-time as well, better known as a" Full-time Working Mom (FTWM)" and while I'm not saying that Stay-At-Home Moms (SAHM) have it easier (we all know taking care of a child 24/7 is extremly tiring), but there are just some things that finds us working moms crying "Oh woe!". If you're a fellow working mom or was a FTWM previously before you made the brave decision to give up your job for your kids, I'm pretty sure you'll be able to relate to this post too!


1. Missing our Kids while we're at work

When we say we're feeling the Monday Blues, what we are actually saying is "We had such a great family weekend and my kids bawled their eyes out when I dropped them off at school early this morning and here I am now, stuck at work dealing with mommy's guilt." In fact, sometimes it's not just Monday Blues but blues the entire work week round. & yes, mommy's guilt is a real thing. A VERY real thing.

2. Going home to more work after work

While we look forward to seeing our kids after work, what we do NOT look forward to is the list of chores waiting to be done. Laundry, dishes, ironing, packing the kids' school bags, settling dinner, sterilising their bottles, picking up strewn toys (and sometimes when we're feeling like a superwoman, even cooking dinner for the family as well). For moms in general, we all lack sleep and for working moms, ending the day at 11pm, is considered a luxury.

3. Feeling guilty for taking too many urgent leave(s)

We know we shouldn't feel guilty for tending to our child's needs - especially when they're sick but...we can't help feeling like a bad employee everytime we do. When children hit a certain age, they tend to fall sick pretty frequently and in all honesty, we hate to take urgent leave every other month (and sometimes get judged for it) but more often than not, we don't have much of a choice. We get that we're needed at work but our child needs us more and it's not like we want our kids to fall sick either. You feel me?

4. Going to work even when you're sick just because... (Refer point number 3)

After our kids fall ill, we know that it won't be long before it's our turn. Afterall, we're the main caregiver nursing him/her back to health so it's no surprise we caught the bug from them. But because we already took 2 or 3 days of leave to care for our sick child, we're very likely to stick it out and go to work instead of calling in sick because we feel bad for being away from work for so long. Unless of course, we're running a fever bad enough to make us feel like we can't get out of bed.

5. Always chasing the clock

Any working mom will tell you that 24 hours a day just isn't enough. We always have our schedules packed back-to-back and most times, we're rushing through the day because there's JUST SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN A DAY! From the moment we wake up, we're rushing to get ready for work, rushing to prepare breakfast for the kids, rushing to get the kids to school, rushing to pick them up from school after work, rush rush rush! It's a mad rush all day everyday and even when we sacrifice the hours of our sleep, there still isn't enough time in a day! It's also probably why moms are such good multi-taskers - so little time, so much to do!

6. Inevitably "running late" for work

Before you give us the disapproving look and think to yourself "Why didn't you get up earlier?", please know that we ALREADY DID. But sometimes, it's inevitable for us to end up late for work because of "unforseen circumstances" (like having to battle with a toddler who decided that he "didn't want to brush his teeth" or a baby who decided to poop just as you're about to head out the door or puke all over you when you're already dressed up and ready to go.) Trust me, we tried. We really tried.

7. Not being able to "be there" as much as you want to

Chances are, if you meet our kids, they're pretty independent little people & it's not because we have some secret parenting technique of raising them to be that way. They're that way because we didn't have a choice and we can't always be there for them. As much as we're thankful for our strong, independent kids, we also wish we could have more time to spend alongside with them whether it's to play pretend, or guide them in their school work, but most times, we just have to leave them to do their own things while we "check in" on them every now and then before hurrying back to multi-tasking and finishing our 101 list of things-to-do.

8. The lack of "Me" time

To be honest, I think SAHM with young kids who don't attend playgroup or kindy would feel the same too. Because we're always crunching for time, "Me" time is the first to go. It's so easy for everything else to take priority over our self-care and probably the only "Me" time we get is the few minutes spent escaping from reality in the shower.

9. The constant battle between being career-driven and wanting to sacrifice work for the kids 

There are those days where we feel super-driven and want to strive to perform well in our jobs - to be that high-flying career woman who has got it all together, and then, there are those days where we just wanna quit everything and be a housewife. Somewhere along the way, there's always a time when we've to either sacrifice career for kids or kids for career. There is no in-between. Unless it's "Bring Your Kids To Work Day".

10. Off days are spent running errands or finishing up housework

"But you have off days to enjoy!" I hear you say, well...We're actually pretty sad beings in that sense because off days are also always jammed packed with a list of things to do that we cannot accomplish while we're at work - e.g. picking stuff up from the mall for the kids, running to the bank, packing the crazy mess in the house, finally getting a proper haircut...etc. So techinically, "Off days" for us is just a nicer term for saying "The day where we try to finish whatever long-drawn, pending duties that we've been putting off for far too long".

11. Getting discriminated for pumping breastmilk in the workplace

I personally never got the chance to continue breastfeeding my kids after starting work because my fast-paced job rendered it pretty impossible, but I've heard of multiple cases in which moms get frowned upon for needing to take a 15-20mins break at work to pump. As if that's not bad enough, there have been instances where some moms were even called "disgusting" when they pumped in discretion at their work desk. Honestly, if we could go about an entire day without our breasts getting engorged and feeling rock hard and sooo friggin' uncomfortable & painful, we would. Anyone who has breastfed before knows how tiring and taxing it can be and the last thing moms need is to worry about is whether it's "right or wrong" to pump at the workplace. Period.

Being a mom is a tough job in itself but in this modern era we live in, most moms also work full-time to help with household expenses and the like. I for one know how it can really take a toll on us sometimes - to the point where we doubt ourselves and our capabilities, so I guess this is me saying, hey, to all the working moms out there, you're not alone in this crazyyyy life and you're doing an excellent job! So press on and continue finding strength and joy in the smiles of your little ones. From one mom to another, I sincerely, have the utmost respect for each and everyone of you! ATTA GIRL!

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  1. Totally feel you!! We are all super mommy wannabe.

  2. Yea! Cldnt agree more to your pts. The slight diff in blessing I've is having in laws to help with kids,alil chores& my mil & I sync with how to care for the lil ones. If im sick I cn still steal a nap to recover. Esle I'll tk over all caring & chores wen im back hm. Mummy is the greatest beings of all.

    1. I have my parents help to but it still really isn't easy being a working mom! Yes, and I wouldn't trade it for anything else!

  3. All points hit and yet has to be penalise or discriminated taking urgent leaves and at the same time you make it a point not to drop any balls and work from home.. Hope more employers understand the woes that giving employees enough flexibility will result in productivity..

  4. Exact same feelings. The worst thing is when there is a helper and my kid is closer to helper than myself. Oh my.. it pains me sometimes.

  5. TOTALLY TOTALLY feel u !

  6. I totally understand how you feel! It really sucks! I was previously a FTWM until I got pregnant with my second child, I had to quit because my mom said she couldn't handle a toddler and a baby. It was really a very hard decision for me to leave work thinking about our finances. Eventually my Husband supported the decision for me to be SAHM. But yes, while I was working i was always being "watched" for always taking urgent leave and when I was sick I came to work because of the same thing; felt guilty for taking too many leaves. When I quitted my HR (who was also my manager) asked why I wanted to quit, I said because I will tend to take too many leaves and they won't be happy. Then only she said " it's your entitlement" �� The IRONY. Hang in there mama! May god bless you for all your sacrifices ��

  7. I can totally relate to this post. I'm very fortunate that I have understanding bosses who allows me to take urgent leave unless they really need me at work but cant help feeling that I'm being judged by others for this. Am also grateful that I hv the occasional help from my mom and in-laws when required.

    Being a FTWM in a male-dominated industry, almost all of them couldnt understand why I seem to be unambitious. If only they can relate to No. 9.

  8. Kudos to all mummies out there.... I remember when I was pregnant with my first kid had very bad morning sickness n redux was always taking mc. Unfortunately, I am not as lucky as some of the mummies here. My boss n colleagues were not understanding kept talking behind my back ... MC queen but it's not that I want to be sick right. -.- and they didn't want to renew my contract

  9. Totally feel ya! Been there, done that. I have four children. But there's a way out. Let's connect and chat more.