Combining career and motherhood? For some women, this is an impossible task. Unsurprisingly, our own Safe Motherhood Week survey in 2016 found that 34% of women felt pregnancy/motherhood had prevented them from progressing in the workplace, while 14% said they had actively been discriminated against during pregnancy.
Jackie Ernst just wrote a soul bearing piece for Romper that outlines the internal struggles every women who wishes to work while raising her child faces. She freely admits that her career as a writer has taken a “back-burner” for practical as well as emotional reasons.
“My desire to spend every waking hour with my not-yet 2-year-old girl is as overwhelming as my desire to write. As overwhelming as the stress of trying to conquer my human limitations and be as present as any stay-at-home mom (SAHM) without sacrificing my identity as an autonomous woman with a successful and fulfilling career. Or even putting it on the back-burner.”
For Jackie, the result is “constant exhaustion”, and she says that “everything is a sacrifice”.
“I stay up too late so I can get work done without losing a precious hour with my daughter. I swallow gallons of guilt for leaving my crying child in a caregiver’s arms two days a week so I can sit in a café and write, or teach bored 18-year-olds how to write.”
This overwhelming desire to over-achieve afflicts many mothers in today’s fast-paced world, she says. “If you’re not completely overwhelmed, you can’t be doing a great job at anything, especially not mothering.” And she understands she is far from alone: “In 2018, almost all women have to go back to work soon after having a child, and even those who don’t face incredible pressure to prove their merit by working in the world as well as in the home.”
Jackie harks back to her mother’s advice: “Sit down and just be”. As a busy mother, is this something you often forget? Did you feel pressure to continue to excel at your career, as well as raising your child? Share your story with us!