But then I went looking for the Working Mum's version of this meme and couldn't find one. So I decided to create my own:
I tossed up for ages what the 'what I really do' picture should be. There's a million 'working mum' images of women juggling, but those women all looked too... well... glamourous, or zen or something. They were images of what working mum's feel pressured to be, not what we really do. And for me, I don't know 'juggling' captures the essence of being a working mum. Speaking for myself, if I wasn't a mum, or wasn't working, I would still fill my time up with responsibilities to juggle. I looked for an image of a woman working with a picture of a child on their desk, but couldn't find one.
In the end I found the image I used, which was very sad, but struck a chord with me. Cause that's what working mums do - each day we leave our child behind. And it's not about championing the feminist cause or neglecting our children, but just the simple reality that each day I have to walk away from my baby. And even though sometimes that's a relief (wow, a cup of tea to myself - or, as a friend put it 'the chance to pee alone') there's always this tiny part of me that is sad.
I wouldn't change my decision to go back to work. My baby is happy and we have a great bond, and I am working to give us the option in the future for my husband to be a SAHD. But for me, being a working mum will always have this bittersweet feeling, that it is not just a little person I have left behind but part of the mother-child wholeness that has become who I am.