Working mom sisterhood

Kristine Rohwer, back right, surrounded by her "working mom sisterhood."

The working mom sisterhood is no myth. It’s real and it’s hilarious; it’s essentially the walking, living, breathing survival pack a working mother needs.

Too often we are meant to believe that mom friends only exist in the middle of the day, sharing a bench and watching their children play on the playground. Sometimes those benches are desks, juice boxes are water bottles and tennis shoes are sensible work flats. We can talk about work — and naturally we do — but we talk about our frustrations, mom guilt, work-life balance act (that isn’t really a thing) and cheer each other on in our life successes.

I’m a working mom that is absolutely guilty of bringing work home, who enjoys work and sometimes signs up for consulting and committees to boot. Why? Because I thrive on producing. I love it. It’s part of my DNA. It’s what makes me feel mentally healthy, and it boosts my self-esteem. It’s something I need to do in my life.

But I am meant to feel guilty because I choose to be a full-time working mom with extracurricular engagements instead of serving all of my hours to my family.

This is when the working mom sisterhood activates. I share my concerns to them. I share the guilt I had one morning leaving my tantrum-throwing toddler at daycare; I share my exhaustion of sleepless nights and surviving on coffee. I share and share and share.

And they share back.

The sisterhood helps each other know that loving work, going out to lunch on a Tuesday in work clothes and coming home to our families at night isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s a life choice that works for us. (This isn’t to say stay-at-home moms need not apply; girlfriends, you are in my circle too.)

After my first child, I didn’t share. I was stressed out. I assumed if I didn't successfully come home — all while carrying the baby, work bag, daycare bag and mail inside — bring in the trash, let the dogs out, start dinner, do bath time, put the baby to bed and attempt some sort of feeble "me" time, I was an ultimate failure of a mother. I strived for perfection in my new life because I based motherhood off the flawless examples I saw on TV.

Fact: TV mothers will always do it better because they aren’t real, but the pressure to be perfect as a mother and a working mom is absolutely real.

So instead, I branched out to my coworkers who had children. I began asking questions about milestones with their children — what foods they started on and if any one was still wearing only maternity clothes. Turns out, there were plenty of them!

To me, being able to laugh at myself, share my stories with the working mom sisterhood and realize how truly difficult it is to attempt to do all things well, is what keeps me afloat while in the trenches.

The working mom sisterhood is one of my favorite tribes of women. They catch you at the water cooler on a bad morning, understand the email subject “Daycare called,” will absolutely laugh at the obvious snot mark on your black blouse and will reassure you that you are amazing at all the things — even if they aren’t all perfect.

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Kristine Rohwer resides in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, step-son, daughter, son and two neurotic dogs.

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