Earlier this week I was in the produce aisle at our (new!!) local Publix and I had a really impactful conversation with a complete stranger.  It was 9:45 in the morning on a Tuesday and my almost-2 year old son was riding in the cart, talking about a lottttttt of apples.  A woman approached me simply to compliment my son and his big blue eyes but the conversation evolved into some pretty standard small talk.  She made a comment along the lines of “isn’t it so nice to be able to do your weekly shopping during a time where the store is not super crowded”.  I agreed that yes, it’s definitely nice, and that I’m not used to being able to shop during the day because I’m usually at work.  My son just happened to be sick so I was grabbing a few necessities following his doctor’s appointment.  She asks what I do for work, and then responded with “Oh wow it must be so hard to be a working mom.  I’m just a stay-at-home mom.”

JUST a stay at home mom?  It stopped me in my tracks and I think my jaw may have literally hit the floor.  She struck a chord with me so I proceeded to give her an impassioned pep talk about the importance of being a stay at home mom and that she’s not JUST anything… other than selling herself short.  She is a badass rockstar MOM who does some of the toughest, thankless and most rewarding work on the planet.

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a mom who works full time or part time or who works multiple jobs, a single parent, an adoptive mom, a homeschooling mom, or any other type of mom, YOU are a working mom.  Every single way you can possibly slice it, you are a mom who works your tail off to provide for your family.  Whether you’re providing love, care, financial support, emotional support, stability, or any combination of of those things, you are a working mom.  To define a working mom as a mom who holds a paying job of some sort is both careless and irresponsible.  No one ever refers to a man with a job as a Working Dad, do they?  No. They don’t. Ever.

It is my opinion that it is not any more difficult or easier to be a mom who also works versus a stay-at-home mom.  The two are very different but both very hard, and there are challenges and opportunities that are associated with each.  Sure, sometimes it’s hard for me to have a sleepless night and have to get ready and get to work first thing, ready to attack the day.  And it’s hard for me to have to coordinate with my husband when one of us needs to work late, or to juggle our travel schedules because we both require some level of travel for our jobs.  But I can promise you that it’s also hard to be the mom who is spending a long, grueling day with a teething, napless toddler. Or the the mom who misses her previous life in the corporate world, putting her career on hold so she can spend time with her children in their younger years. Or the mom who hasn’t slept well in months but is forced to choose between showering, napping or eating lunch for those few short minutes (or hours, if she’s lucky) while her child naps.  Being a mom of any sort is hard.  It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and from what I’ve heard, it will only get harder with new sets of challenges as time progresses.

I think I’ve proven myself wrong with my claim that there is no such thing as a working mom.  There are only working moms.  Be proud of yourself and the work you do.  Even when no one sees it or appreciates it or recognizes it.  I see you and I think you are amazing!