Diary of a Working Mom

“The obligation for working mothers is a very precise one: the feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, while raising one’s children as if one does not have a job” –Annabel Crabb

One Monday morning a few weeks ago I ran into work, flustered, stressed and not at all ready for the day to come. I was proud of myself for showing up early, but knew I had a lot to do that day and had no clue how I’d find the time to get it done. As I was going through my lengthy to-do list in my head, I was stopped by a coworker whose daughter is in my daughter’s dance class. This coworker asked “Did you pick up Shelby’s dance costume yesterday?” I froze. I stared.

No. No I did not. I forgot. Again.

First I must say, my daughter being in dancing is a dream come true. To see my sweet little princess twirl in a tutu brings me so much joy. I ordered her monogrammed shirt to wear over her costumes for the recital along with her monogrammed garment bag. She has an assortment of bows for dancing as well as leotards and tutus. Bringing her to dancing is one of the best parts of my week and to see that she loves it, too, brings me so much happiness.

Despite the joy I experience watching my 4 year old take dancing, I have this one little thing tugging at me. This thing that needs me just as much as she does. This thing that just like her taking dancing, I dreamt about much of my life. This thing that makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me proud. This thing is my career.

That Monday I shared with you previously sums it up for me.

The week that followed was equally as challenging. I began working 12 hour days and wasn’t able to get off work in time to bring my daughter to dancing, relying on my husband and mother in law. While helpful, they don’t pay attention to the flyers in the studio announcing important, upcoming dates such as picture day or costume pick up Sunday. The studio sends this information in my email, but alas, I don’t keep up with my emails. That week I showed up to dance class on Thursday, excited and proud to be there on time. I was elated I was able to get off work in time to get her there, and looked forward to watching her. But when I walked in, the usual parents and kids weren’t there, only a few people waiting outside the door in the back of the studio. I looked up and read the flier in front of me. Class canceled. Picture day. It was picture day.

The moms inside the studio stared at me, wondering what I was doing there because my daughter wasn’t dressed in a costume and stage makeup, but in her classes’ required lavender leotard. My heart sunk into my stomach as I embarrassingly brought Shelby outside when she cried “Why aren’t we going to dancing?” I put her in the car. And I cried. In the parking lot.

I’d somehow managed to miss something else.

Panic set in. Are pictures over? I’m sure I was supposed to schedule a time for that. What if I missed the opportunity and she won’t have a dancing picture? I cried more. And I looked in my rear view mirror to see my daughter with her hands over her ears. She hates to hear me cry.

This incident may or may not sound like a big deal to some. But this event was the cherry on top of a long, stressful season I think most working moms can relate to. Long work hours where I barely scratch off 1 item on my to-do list yet I don’t sit down because my demanding job throws surprises at me all day long. Inadequate. Coming home after 6 PM most nights when other people bring my child to dance, bathe her, read to her and play with her. Inadequate. Waking up early the next morning to fight to get my child to school on time and get back to the job I’d just left, only to find out I forgot to pick up her dance costume. Inadequate. I feel incredibly ineffective at both work and home, yet I’m spending every moment of every day trying to the career woman and dance mom I’d always dreamt I’d be. Somehow, I’ve managed to suck at both, leaving me feeling inadequate both at work and at home. I’m giving 200% of myself to my career and my child and somehow, it’s not enough.

The more I talk to other working moms, I learn I’m not alone.

I learn that most working moms drink wine every night. I learn that other working moms, too, feel inadequate. I learn that for working moms, the idea of a social life is a distant memory of the past, as when we get home on Fridays, the LAST thing we want to do is talk to more people. I learn from working moms that they, too, feel jealousy toward moms who don’t have to work, for they aren’t playing the same juggling act we are. Every day when I get home from work, exhausted, I feel as though I have nothing left to give. But I look at my daughter’s beautiful face and pull love, play and laughter from some hidden reservoir inside of me where working moms store that last bit of energy that we save up for our kids when literally have nothing else to give.

It’s these times that I am reminded that everything I do, I do for her. I work to provide the life she deserves. I work to be a role model for her, to show her that with hard work, we can accomplish anything. I know that’s the bigger picture in deciding to be a working mom, but sometimes amidst all the stress, chaos, and feelings of inadequacy, that bigger picture is easy for me to forget and I’m just a stressed out working mom crying in a dance studio parking lot.

I’m slowly learning that while not ideal, it’s this season of life I’m in as a working mom with a small child.

And while busy and stressful, I know it’ll fly by and one day I’ll look back and miss it. So even though I feel inadequate bringing stale Christmas tree cakes to my daughter’s school Christmas party as other moms bring homemade crafts and decorative cookies, I’ll choose to smile. Because even though I feel like a failure most of the time, my child still lights up when I pick her up from school. I choose to bottle up that feeling and carry it with me through the hard days.

Mandy Broussard
Mandy, originally from Plaquemine, LA, transplanted to Lafayette, LA in 2011. Mandy now lives in Abbeville with her husband, Terrent, step-children Andrea and Jai, and her daughter, Shelby. Mandy studied psychology at Nicholls State University, and has a Masters Degree in Social Work from LSU. Mandy now works as the Case Management Director at Abbeville General Hospital. Mandy believes that while life can be messy and stressful, every day is a gift and every moment should be celebrated (cue champagne pop). Mandy believes the true keys to happiness are food, family and music, and if she were a doctor, that’s what she’d prescribe. In her free time, Mandy loves to cook and write on her personal blog, Everyday Cajun with the Cajun Queen, where she enjoys recipe sharing and storytelling revolving around the beauty in the culture in South Louisiana, particularly the Lafayette area, which she believes is a Cajun wonderland.


  1. Beautifully written my sweet girl and as a Mother go grown children, having been a working Mother, let me assure you their memories as adults will not be the things you did not do but the fact that very time they looked up in the stands, in the crowds, always their biggest fans. Children are so forgiving and they only remember the good parts. Yet when lil Shelby is facing these same “crisis” as a new working Mother she will have the words to get her through her working/dance days. Love you lil momma!


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