Over the last decade, I’ve worked tirelessly to build my professional reputation in the valley as a top public relations professional. I’ve pulled the 80+ hour work weeks, done enough corporate travel to log some serious sky miles and live that two-phone lifestyle with a personal and corporate phone. Along the way, I’ve made incredible friendships with other women in the industry and we have each other’s backs. They’ve always related to my lifestyle because they’re living it, too—until I got pregnant.
One thing I wasn’t expecting when I got pregnant was the culture differences between the career women who had always been so easily relatable to me, and the working mother club. Perhaps naïve of me, I never thought working moms felt unrelatable to those women who had chosen careers over children, until I joined the working mom club. I always felt like I related to my friends with kids just fine. I’d ask to see cute pictures of their kids, was supportive of their “hard stops” at the end of the day for daycare pickups and swooned over cute seasonal kid’s activities at local attractions.
Since becoming pregnant with my first, I’ve found relationships with other women to be so much different than I anticipated given differences in the work/life experience between working women and working moms. I’ve really been shocked at how little I was relating to moms until now.
So, thank you, to the working moms, who have welcomed me into the club with open arms. You all know just the right questions to ask me to make me feel understood, supported and not alone as I navigate this new world of motherhood in the workplace.
When I passed the three-hour glucose test (I was so nervous after failing the first one), I was chatting with one of my closest gal pals about a local cookie shop near the office (Sweet Cakes in Mesa, for ya’ll wondering). I joked I was so ready for a cookie now that I’d passed the test. She laughed but it was one of those moments where I just felt like she wasn’t fully able to share my ecstasy that was the good news I was sharing. Later that night, I was on the texting with a fellow board member for a PR group I’m on and told her I had had to take the three-hour glucose test. She told me her story of failing the one-hour test miserably and then passing the three-hour one with flying colors, how icky the three-hour one is, and since so many people fail the one-hour test, why don’t they just start with the three-hour test. Then she gave me her personal cell and said if I ever had more questions, or needed someone to vent to, she was my gal. I felt so understood and supported with just a few texts. Again, thank you, working moms club.
As I enter motherhood, I hope to never forget my first feelings of inclusion, support and fellowship from other moms, and continue to pass that same feeling onto other new moms, as maybe some of my working friends someday will decide to have kids as well. Until then, I hope to remember to give them the grace of not knowing what they don’t know when it comes to juggling a career and a kid.