I'm trying to look back and see the forest instead of the trees, but man is it hard today. A junior developer I mentored a few years ago just got a job as a software engineer. I know I should be happy for her, but all I can think of is how my two maternity leaves have made it impossible to job-hop into better positions (and better pay) like she has. I have to stay at a company for a year before I get maternity benefits! Basically, life sucks as a working mom.
So, when all I want to do is cry in the mother's room, what do you do to gain perspective and feel better?
I used to watch the Helmsdeep segment from Lord of the Rings where they think all is lost and Gandalf rides to the rescue, but I could use some new ideas : )
kiwi / 656 posts
Honestly I remember my friends who would love to have my troubles- my single or divorced girlfriends who have the freedom and career success I sometimes wish for but who look at me and wish they had a supportive partner and a child. Im sorry it sucks right now. It is really hard. I hope this, or something else helps lift your spirits soon.
persimmon / 1023 posts
I agree with pp. I'm not super career driven but I will always remember a coworkers friend who made a tonne of money in a different industry, travelled all the time for months at a time, fancy apartment, parties, etc. And I was always thinking wow, she can do whatever! And is successful! One day I remarked to her how different our lives were and she said something along the lines of yeah I get to do that stuff, but at the end of the day I come home to a mostly empty apartment and that she was actually jealous of my life. That always puts it in perspective for me.
nectarine / 2400 posts
I'm sorry a much younger person with no experience just got promoted above me on Friday and I thought man this is what it feels like to be old and a curmudgeon. But I'm moving on as best I can
clementine / 769 posts
I remind myself that there is a season for everything and my time will come. My career driven friends have told me that they would like to trade places with me at times. I know that one day my kids will be older and less dependent on me, and I will have more time to myself.
clementine / 828 posts
the mommy tax is real! i'm sorry. definitely agree with PP that your time will come. is there an internal promotion you could apply for so you don't feel like you're treading water? i hear you, though, i have been feeling really frustrated with some work-related things lately--the only thing that really gives me good perspective is hanging with LO and getting some of my frustration out through a good workout.
nectarine / 2115 posts
At 32 I have just reentered the workforce after a 4 year (2 kids) absence, and I'm basically starting from scratch. It can be really demoralizing. You're not alone!
wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts
Exactly wish a few posters have mentioned about grass being greener on the other side. My single friend who is well off, lives in an amazing apartment in the city, travels whenever, owns multiple Chanel's.... She is my best friend and while I don't think she envies "struggling" like I do, she absolutely will trade a lot of that to have a loving husband and children.
I understand what you mean through. I am not very ambitious (anymore) with my career; totally mom tracked and it is what it is. For now I care about th fact that I have time to spend with the kids in the morning and I get home by 6 everyday.
grapefruit / 4455 posts
Sorry you're down. I look at it this way: I made the choice to have kids because in the end, I knew I wanted kids more than career and I got what I wanted even if it comes at a cost (and sometimes unanticipated costs too!) So in reality I have what I really wanted even if seeing other people in their success stings sometimes. And I know that if the shoe were on the other foot I would be longing to have a family like the one I have. I would be the girl sad at the weddings/baby showers/whatever if I didn't have my dh & kids. I just have to see the bigger picture of life and it helps not be jealous of one individual part.
I also have become admittedly a bit self centered and just have gotten better and letting things go in one ear and out the other if they don't affect me.
Lastly I just try to remember that there will be more me time as my babies grow up. I see other older people in my life in that stage and judging by how fast the kids are already growing.. I know it won't really be long (even if some days drag on!) It's not forever.
pomelo / 5257 posts
I'm sorry, it's hard to watch other people advance.
I try to force myself to not compare my success against others' in my office or line of work. I step back and remind myself that I could be a dishwasher, a field worker or a line worker. (I occasionally find myself doing tasks like that for an hour or two making my salary and it makes me so grateful). I also take it the other direction, I could be a CEO or independently wealthy. Looking at it from both extremes makes me less envious of someone so close to my circumstances.
You have a career in a growing field and a mothers' room. It sounds like you're in a good spot with prospects for a great future. Keep in touch with Miss Software Engineer. She probably recognizes you as an underutilized resource.
persimmon / 1431 posts
When I feel like this, I try to think of all the positives that came out of it, my 2 happy and healthy children, wonderful husband, and we are all tirec but happy.
kiwi / 578 posts
It took me about 6 months longer to finish my PhD because I had my first during grad school. I'll also start in a post-doc position 2-6 months later than otherwise so I can take (unpaid!!!!) time off for my second. It's worth it though, because I work to live, I don't live to work. When I feel down about my timeline or sexism in the workplace or my fat thighs, I watch videos of DS at his cutest and everything is better. Plus, I feel motivated to get out there and do my best for myself and my family.
wonderful clementine / 24134 posts
I'm sorry, it is really hard. I agree with thinking about it being a season for everything. Right now this is my season for motherhood. I love being a WOHM but I still want to cherish these baby stages (while on maternity leave and otherwise). Job hopping right now isn't an option.
grapefruit / 4988 posts
On the other side of it...my mom was super career driven and spent so much time on her career when my brother and I were young. She loved it, and honestly I think she was still a great mom and very present in our lives, but I know that she felt that she missed out on some of our childhood. She died early (in her 50s) and on her deathbed she admitted that she wished she had spent more time with family and less on her career.
Not to say that you shouldn't get a promotion if you deserve it, or spend time on your career. But I've also taken 2 maternity leaves and probably halted my own career because of that (I've stayed in a job that has no path for advancement because it has just been easier). So I just remind myself of what my mom said when I start to wonder if I made the right choice.
apricot / 264 posts
It's hard to feel this way. But as others have said, this time of life is temporary. Your day will come.
I always try to remind myself that no one's life is perfect. Everyone has their own trials and hardships even if we can't see them.
When I'm feeling down, loving and hugging on my kids makes me feel better. Their love is worth more than anything to me.
grapefruit / 4418 posts
I definitely let myself cry! Then,
I remind myself that this is but one quickly passing phase and that my time will come when I'm ready for it. I put my all into my current role, know that right now I'm not in a place to be able to or really want to progress much, but know that I can still learn and grow and gain valuable experience in my current position that will mean I am beyond prepared to jump when the time is right.
clementine / 873 posts
Thanks ladies, I don't have any working mom friends so it is really reassuring to hear I'm not the only one with these issues
On the plus side, had a great interview for an amazing job yesterday, so things are slowly looking up
pomelo / 5866 posts
@codeitall: Great to hear!!
apricot / 483 posts
@codeitall: That's great on the interview! Best of luck!
Besides all the great advice above, I'll just address the job part. Do you know if she applied for that promotion? Or was it just given to her?
My anecdote is that last summer, I was poking around on our internal directory and saw the people that I had started with (8 years prior, in my former department) had AVP titles. I had switched around a few jobs and locations, but I was a manager and it hurt to see them with titles when I had none. So I asked my manager how to earn that title. Turns out, they hadn't even realized it and the next month I got my title! Sometimes you just have to ask, or apply to move ahead. You're responsible for your own career; if something isn't where you think it ought to be, take steps to get to where you want!
Hugs mama, it's HARD being a working mom.