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For the WAHM Who's Too Damn Good at Her Job

Stop me if you've heard this one before. You're sitting in your home office—a room located at the back corner of your house, a desk pushed into the tight space of a closet, your kitchen table—and you are getting shit done. You're really in the groove now. Your writer's block is unblocked. Your conference call is picking up steam. You've figured out what's wrong with the code you've been puzzling over for the past hour and a half. You feel productive. You feel unstoppable. You feel invincible.

And then you hear it.

The whimper of a 1-year-old swimming toward consciousness. Her feet kicking against the slats of her crib, bouncing upon the mattress, making that booming sound that reverberates through the ceiling of the room in which you're working. That space between your shoulder blades tightens. You try to type more quickly, already losing your train of thought. And then your child lets out a long train whistle of a wail, the one that lets you know you can't put it off any longer.

You run up the stairs. You pull her sleep-warmed body into your arms. You change her diaper. You bring her downstairs. You let yourself be pulled from your work—work with deadlines and consequences and accountability—even though your husband, who also works from home, has been sitting at his computer this entire time, in the room right next to the nursery.

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What is it that makes a man deaf to his daughter's cries? What is it that leaves him untroubled? That keeps him from making a move toward her? That lets him take for granted that his wife will be the one to drop everything? To push her work to the side? To put everything before herself and her career?

Could it be that we're too damn good at doing it all? Could it be that we've been enabling our husbands this entire time?

The other week, my husband snapped at me when I announced—a half hour before one of his regular conference calls—that I was leaving to go to physical therapy. You would think by the tone of voice he used that I was flitting off to frolic through the Candy Cane Forest, to scale my way up Gum Drop Mountain, to dive off a cliff into a sea of maple bacon doughnuts. Or maybe to take a yoga class.

Never mind that physical therapy was the last thing I wanted to do. Never mind that I would have much rather have been using the next two hours for my heavy workload rather than dealing with my knee pain and my long-term health.

This is for all the moms who are continually pulled in a billion different directions and who still pull it all off beautifully.

I lashed back, railing against all the ways in which I was expected to forego my own work when it seemed that his work time was untouchable. Was that fair? I asked (possibly while stalking around angrily and slamming doors.)

I've since come to the conclusion that this is a problem I've created. That I've set up a dangerous precedent for what I am capable of and willing to do. That I'm just too damn good at being a work-at-home mom.

And I don't think I'm the only one.

This post is for all the moms who have been forced to choose food shopping over the next work task on their to-do list after finally putting their child down for a nap. This is for all the moms who have cut their work days short so they can cook dinner for their family while simultaneously keeping an eye on their child, chopping vegetables while running defense so that their toddler does not pull things out of the pantry or crawl into the hot oven.

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This is for all the moms who run downstairs to switch the laundry while still in the midst of managing Twitter for a client, attempting to lift the laundry basket over the child safety gate while blocking said child from the basement steps with her shins. This is for all the moms who schedule their business calls around their child's music classes and mommy and me story times.

This is for all the moms who are continually pulled in a billion different directions and who still pull it all off beautifully.

Moms, we are awesome. Too awesome.

So if you have to drop a ball sometimes, let it drop. Let your shoulders soften and fall heavy away from your ears. Take a few deep breaths. Let yourself relax. Let yourself be.

We don't have to be perfect. There's no such thing as perfect. Stop striving toward perfection.

Our families will still always think we're superhuman, no matter what we do.

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