4. You look exhausted.
Yes, I’m exhausted. Thanks for noticing the dark circles under my eyes (that I’m very much aware of, by the way). Unless you are offering to bring me dinner or watch the kids while I take a nap, it’s better for you not to point out my less-than-perfect appearance.
5. I’m surprised you went back to work. Your husband seems so successful.
The reasons why I am working are probably much more complicated than you imagine, and it may have nothing to do with money. Maybe my husband is anticipating a layoff. Maybe we are on the brink of divorce, and I am trying to find a way to support myself. I might even enjoy working. Or, maybe you’re right, and we are already in financial trouble. If we are, then I don’t need to hear you speculating about it.
6. I’d give anything to have a break from my kids all day!
Not all working moms are lucky enough to have a job they enjoy. Even if they are (like I am), it is certainly not a “break” by any stretch of the imagination. I am merely facing a different set of demands and challenges. And just because I am not at home doesn’t mean I stop being a mother. Don’t talk to me about wanting to be away from your kids when I am agonizing over the fact that I am away from mine.
7. Don’t you feel guilty for missing all those special moments?
Yes, I do. Thanks for reminding me that I couldn’t make it to the Halloween parade or Christmas concert that took place on a Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. while I was in a mandatory meeting. But please know I also do my best to create special moments when I am with my kids. Sometimes they are special outings, but more often than not, special moments happen unexpectedly when we are eating dinner together or reading a bedtime story. Whether I am a stay-at home or working mother, I am a mother, and those moments with my children are what carry me through the hard times and make everything I do worthwhile.