“Working Mom” is No Longer My Excuse

Since I went back to work in April 2010 after having Abby, I found myself more and more invested in a “Woe is me,” mentality.  My job involves me bringing work home. Woe is me. My husband has to work on Saturdays at times. Woe is me. I don’t have family close by to help out. Woe is me. I have to make last minute sub plans from home because of a sick kiddo. Woe is me. My kid is cranky after work. Woe is me. I don’t have any time to clean the house. Woe is me. I’m tired. Woe is me.

I could keep going on and on, but I think you get the gist.

Since last May, though, I’ve made a huge mental shift. A lot of it stems from my vow to stop consuming all the things. As I began this journey, I found myself having a more positive outlook on life. I started to embrace being a working mom and all of its challenges. Instead of feeling like working was getting in the way of all the things I wanted to accomplish in life, I viewed it as a small hurdle to overcome.

Everyone has hurdles they need to overcome whether they work or not. It’s just the nature of life. So why was I constantly saying I couldn’t do certain things, wallowing in misery, just because I work?

I love working. I truly do. But I found myself struggling to remember why I chose to work because of all this self-pity I clung to. And since I began setting priorities, the tension I hoarded, the negativity I hung on to, well, it’s just all melted away. I’m able to appreciate and love my profession all over again, and now I find myself setting more challenges for myself.

The biggest challenge I have facing me is a physical one. Now that my foot injury is on the mend, and almost back to 100%, I’ve decided to sign up for a half marathon the day after school gets out in June. Instead of freaking out about how hard it will be to train due to the limited time I will have to run, I’m researching plans that will allow me to stick to 3-4 days a week of training, planning ahead, in order to make sure I’m successful. A year ago, I’d be sitting her doubting myself, thinking I was nuts for setting this goal. And now, I’m excited.

What I’m trying to say here is that no longer can I say, “I can’t…I won’t…I don’t know how I can…” Just because I work doesn’t mean that I live in a world of limitations. Do I sometimes have to get creative? Absolutely. Does it sometimes take me longer to accomplish some tasks? For sure. But I refuse to use “Working Mom” synonymously with an excuse in mind. And if I find myself veering back in that direction, I put myself in check, think about what needs to happen, and I figure out a way to get it done.

What about you? Do you find yourself living in a “woe is me” mentality? Do you see working as a limitation? How do you snap out of it to figure out a way to accomplish all you hope to?

Photo DonkeyHotey via Flickr

About the author

Tracy is the Creator and Managing Editor for LWM. She's a working teacher momma to Abigail, born 11/09 and Olive, born 12/13. By day she teaches middle school students all things related to reading and writing, and by night and weekend, she teaches her daughter all about life. You can find her tweeting as @wa_tracy.


  1. Jessie says:

    I just wanted to say that training for a half marathon with a 3-4 run/week goal is totally doable. I’ve run 3 half marathons, 1 last April as a working mom (and set a PR), and I only ran 3 times per week. I believe in quality versus quantity. I never found a “perfect” training plan, so I just combined a few into a plan that worked for me. Good luck!
    Twitter: jessieyeager

    • Tracy says:

      Thanks for this. I’m kinda figuring I’m going to have to do a mash up of plans to make it work for me. Plusalso, I don’t know this word “perfect.” You do the best you can, right ;)
      Twitter: wa_tracy

  2. cayley says:

    When my daughter was born we decided to run the “triple crown” of 3 1/2 marathons in the san Diego area. I’ve run one more since. Another thing to remember, along with it may take you a little longer or you may have to get creative, is that you don’t have to be perfect. My world didn’t end when I injured my leg and walked half of the La Jolla 1/2 marathon. My goal for the recent one was to finish before the cutoff, not to run the whole thing, and I had an hour to spare. It is good to push ourselves, but sometimes life gets in the way of aspirations, and especially when there’s a timeline like an event it’s even more important to give yourself a (psychological) break (dont stop training!) if things don’t go quite as planned. This is a hard lesson for me to internalize, but worthwhile. Set high goals and strive for them, but congratulate yourself for how far you come rather than a more black/white divide of did you succeed/fail. If you train 3-4 days a week between now and June, that seems like an enormous success, race day aside!

    • Tracy says:

      Totally agree…I just want to finish the damn thing. I’m not going for time at all. Doing a 5k was a huge accomplishment for me, and I just want to keep setting goals and challenging myself.
      Twitter: wa_tracy

  3. Cheryl says:

    I think that’s an awesome attitude to have. I feel like working affords me the opportunity to do things I wouldn’t have the income to do otherwise – the occasional concert or play, dinner out at a fancy restaurant – so if it means more juggling to find the time to get everything else done, so be it.

    Though I do wish I was a little less tired. Imagine how much I could do if I didn’t sleep at all! :)
    Cheryl recently posted..Better ConversationsMy Profile
    Twitter: cherylstober

  4. Law Momma says:

    Yay!!! Training buddies! Want me to send you the training plan that I have?
    Law Momma recently posted..Horses are Scary (but not as scary cute as my kid…)My Profile

    • Tracy says:

      YES!!!!!!!!!!! I’m on day 2 of no pain from my foot…I’m going to try to run this weekend…not a ton as I’ve got to build myself back up to 3 miles slowly. I’m looking to start training in February or March for a June run. I’d love to see what you are doing!
      Twitter: wa_tracy

  5. Bethany says:

    I trained for and ran a half marathon with twin boys that were 5 at the time. With a supportive husband and a great running buddy, it was VERY doable.

    I read several plans and and made my own weekly goal to expand my distance and then each week or so established a weekly plan based on my schedule. I did it VERY flexible like and it worked well. You can make it work for you. Good luck!

    I ran/walked that half marathon 6 weeks pregnant and can’t wait to get back into running someday. I haven’t figured out how to work it back into my schedule yet though. :(
    Twitter: Beth_ismyname


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