Dear mom on the Zoom call,

I see you.

And not just in the “I see you because I am you” kind of way. I see you in the very real see you right there on my screen kind of way.

I see the oversized luggage under your eyes because you were up late last night trying to fit in the work that didn’t happen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

I see the toddler wriggling on your lap everyone is oohing and ahhing over while you are attempting to maintain some semblance of professionalism and contribute to the conversation.

I see the side glances you are taking towards the door because you are trying to will your children to stop yelling about juice boxes since it will be your turn to speak soon and come off mute.

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I see you trying your absolute best while wondering how much longer you can keep this up. I know you are because I am, too​.

This isn’t easy, friends. It’s just not.

There are silver linings of course. The small ones and the big ones.

When you work from home with kids there is no commute to deal with, plus you can rock the business on the top/PJs on the bottom look and no one is the wiser. You don’t need to pack a lunch the night before, you can throw a load of laundry in at 11 a.m. instead of 11 p.m., and you can occasionally work from the comfort of your bed.​

Then, of course, the big silver linings. The huge silver linings. Like the safety of your home, the health of your family, and the extra time with the people in this world you love the most. 

But it’s still hard. And it’s OK to say it’s hard.

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Because right before you hopped on this Zoom call, in fact, 37 seconds before you hopped on this Zoom call, you were teaching letters to a preschooler or getting syrup out of a child’s hair. Or you were unsuccessfully trying to get Netflix to turn on faster, or refereeing a fight about straws.

And as soon as you get off this Zoom call, you are going to talk to your children again about what a closed office/bedroom/bathroom door means. You’ll feel bad about how strange this situation is for them, and feel guilty for getting frustrated.​

But on top of all that you’ll still need to follow up on what Sally said during that meeting because you’re pretty sure you’re supposed to be sending her an email? You couldn’t hear because someone not on this Zoom call invite was loudly announcing they had to pee.

It might feel like empty platitudes for me to tell you you’re doing a great job through all of this.

Sometimes you are going to feel like you’re doing a great job as a master juggler of all the things and other times you are going to feel like a human trash receptacle at the end of the day. A lady on the internet telling you you’re great isn’t going to change that.

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For what it’s worth though, I do think we are all doing the very best we can in a trying situation. And if you and I are on a Zoom call together later today, I might try to give you an awkward wink of solidarity. Which everyone else will see because this is Zoom and not an in-person meeting so I will have just made things really weird.​

But that wink will still be worth it because you will feel seen, and everyone else will be judging me while you manage to scurry the small child not wearing pants out of the room undetected.

I suppose that’s the other silver lining.​

We’re all in this together.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Being a working mom is like running a never-ending marathon. We love the practical strategies in Stretched Too Thin for empowering working moms to get the most out of life. Don’t have time to sit and read? Listen here, on Audible.

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Becca Carnahan

Becca Carnahan is a working mom of two, writer, and career coach. She loves a good story, a funny meme, and helping women manage family, manage careers, and manage to laugh through it all. Find her sharing stories about working mom life and career development at With Love, Becca.