11 Working Moms Confess What's Hardest About Trying to 'Have It All'

Wendy Robinson | Jun 15, 2016 Being a Mom
11 Working Moms Confess What's Hardest About Trying to 'Have It All'

stressed womanYesterday was my son's 8th birthday. He celebrated by going out for hamburgers with his dad and little sister. I celebrated by taking a break from the conference I'm attending for work and calling him from the hotel lobby to tell him I love him. Even though I love my job, I can't deny that this was one of the harder moments I've had as a working mom.

Being a working mom can be both personally and financially rewarding, but that doesn't mean it isn't without its challenges, especially when it comes to finding balance between work and home.

I was feeling kind of down about missing my son's birthday, so I decided that misery loves company and asked some other working moms about what they think is the biggest challenge they face. Read on for their thoughtful and candid reflections on the ongoing struggle to find that elusive thing called balance.


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  • Missing His Life


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    "I dislike working full-time because of how much of my son's life I miss. I lose the best part of his day five days a week, and he goes to bed so early that I only see him for an hour or so on those days (and that hour is getting him fed and ready for bed, not spending time engaging with him in a way that's truly enjoyable or fulfilling). If I could work 1/2 or 3/4 time, I think that would be awesome." -- R.W.

  • Self-care


    Image via iStock.com/gradyreese

    "It's really hard to be a good and involved parent, keep a house (and yard, and car, etc.) maintained even at a basic level, work, and find time for self-care and quality time with my spouse. It's often just constant rushing rushing rushing to just get the bare minimum of necessities taken care of, and that sucks." -- R.W.

  • No Time for Friends


    Image via iStock.com/william87

    "A thing I really hate about being a working mom: I don't have time to nurture friendships. I hate that. Between working and then wanting to be with kids and husband outside of work, it's really hard to make time to be with friends. Especially on Friday nights, when I am just done with everyone." -- M.D.

  • The Guilt


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    "I like least the guilt. I feel guilt often. My youngest is 2.5, and I think every day that the kids would be smarter and eat better and tend less toward [being] couch potatoes if I wasn't subcontracting 50 percent of their parenting. (And I LOVE our childcare provider.) And I don't like the belief that I have in my heart that if I were home with them, I might be yelling at the top of my lungs all the live long day. And I don't like that my conscious brain compensates for my unconscious lack of confidence by feeling slightly resentful of stay-at-home moms in a classically bullshit mommy wars way.

    I do like helping people, and I like learning about the law. But on the most dispiriting days at work, I wonder if all I am doing is supporting our mortgage and not our family." -- M.L.

  • Mommy Wars


    Image via iStock.com/MachineHeadz

    "I think the thing that bugs me the most is not anything I do but other people commenting on it -- I could do without the 'Oh, you're here? I usually only see your husband.' Or the general commentary from the culture (patriarchy) that I'm doing it wrong somehow." - K.B.K

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  • Lack of Balance


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    "I hate that there is not enough time to do other things in life. I hate rushing around and yelling at my daughter to get dressed in the morning and rushing to get to daycare before it closes and then my entire evenings are just unloading and reloading the dishwasher, making and cleaning up dinner, and getting kids ready for bed. By the time kids are in bed, it's almost 9 and I'm too tired to do anything.

    So, I have little time for self-care, fun, time with my husband, time with friends, hobbies, reading, volunteer work, etc. I then try to pack that all into the weekends and those become exhausting." -- L.B.

  • Jealous


    Image via iStock.com/danchooalex

    "My husband stays at home and I have to admit that I'm sometimes really jealous of him. I feel like he has a lot more freedom in his day and that he gets to do all the fun stuff with the kids and I have to do a lot of the grunt work like bedtimes. I love my job, but I wish I had more freedom." -- S.T.

  • Military Mom


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    "Being a mom who is also in the military can be really tough. I might get deployed next year, and having to think about spending months away from my kids is REALLY hard. But I believe in what I'm doing and I wouldn't trade that for anything." -- G.M.

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  • Stress


    Image via iStock.com/Joel Eichler

    "I like being a working mom because I think a little time away from my daughter makes me a better mother, but unfortunately, I have not had sufficient childcare or support at home to allow me to do my job(s) well. My health and mental well-being have suffered. I don't sleep or eat nearly enough. My productivity and quality of work have plummeted. I resent work for the stress it causes me. I feel guilty and frustrated that I am no longer competent and reliable. I've been so depressed about my inability to work competently that I've found myself just kind of mentally disengaging from work out of some kind of need for self-preservation." -- L.P.

  • Logisitics


    Image via iStock.com/StudioThreeDots

    "Least favorite thing -- logistics. Figuring out how to get laundry done, kids shuttled, care provided, dinner made, doctor/dentist appointments had, and more while still functioning professionally. I say this knowing that my husband comes real close to doing 50 percent, but 50 percent of a ton is still a ton." -- K.P.

  • No Time for School

    Image via iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

    "I think the thing that is hardest for me is that I'm not involved in my kids' school lives at all. I almost never get to do pick-up or drop-off and I've never gone on a field trip. I don't really know their teachers or the other moms in the class and so that feels like a bummer." -- R.W.

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