Working moms spend an average of 37 hours per week working, yet spend more than double that amount of time (80 hours per week) on chores, childcare, and home responsibilities. Regardless of whether they work part-time or full-time, more than a third of moms surveyed (35 percent) feel like they’re always falling behind.
(Source: Care.com Working Moms Tipping Point Survey)

That’s some heavy shit. And that’s why I am setting out to pay tribute to these kick-ass women who are proud to call themselves a working mother.

On a personal note, I became even more fascinated with the notion of the working mother when my younger sister Maureen had her first son, Camden. She never questioned her decision to return to work, yet knew that it would still be a difficult re-entry for herself. Upon further reflection, I realized that a working mother is more than a mom that also has a full-time job. Take my mother, as an example. She birthed six of us and focused her time and energy on raising us, which is a life’s mission not to be diminished by the fact that she did not also work outside of the home.

So I set out to learn more. I talked to eight working-outside-of-the-home mothers in Columbus (get to know them here!) to learn about what challenges them, what they find to be rewarding, and what advice they have for other working mothers. I also have a special tribute to my working mother that I will share at the end of this five-part series.

Today, I share Part 1 with you, in which these fun, fearless It-Girl mothers answer the question…

What has been the hardest part about the transition to working motherhood?

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Although her daughter is now 11, Steph vividly remembers the transition to the workforce. Here’s what she had to say:

I tried to do it her first year. Twice I went to back to work and quit on the spot. I couldn’t do it. Nothing seemed more important than her. My then-husband was great about it; he worked extra shifts to make up for the loss of income and I stayed home with her that first year. It was absolutely the best decision for me. After we divorced, I had to work and be a Mom. The hardest part of transitioning was the worry. I worried about who was taking care of her, because I had to use daycares—and no one can know your child better than you, so I always worried if she was getting the same care I would give her. And I worried about someone taking her or hurting her—that would make me sick sometimes. Because when they’re so young, they can’t speak, or defend themselves, or even know that something’s wrong, so it hurt me to leave her, for fear of something happening to her.

Angela, mom of two under the age of 3, says this about her transition:

For me, the hardest part has been leaving the office on time. I don’t have a choice. I have someone else to report to at 5:00, because the daycare closes at 6:00. So that was something that was hard – setting new limits for myself.

And Lynette’s kids are college- and middle-school age, but she recalls it too:

I was 20 when I had AJ and was waitressing two days a week (my husband at time was in the Marine Corps). Shortly thereafter, I became a single mom and began working as a bank teller while waiting tables on the evenings/weekends. I mean, I was so young, I didn’t really think about it. I just did it because it was what I had to do. Years later, when I had Elle, I became a stay at home mom because day care was so expensive. But then, when Elle was in kindergarten, I decided to go back to work because I just had to be out and doing something to challenge myself in a different way. I will say that it was a lot easier to do stuff for the kids – like popping in to their school for lunch, or helping out on field trips – when I was a stay at home mom, so I definitely mourned the loss of that.

See what the rest of the moms had to say:

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