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The working mom dance

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It's a miracle I'm even here...

These are the words I mumble to myself when I sit down at my desk every day. The fact that I made it at all feels like a closing scene from "Mission Impossible," where Tom Cruise can finally wipe the sweat off his brow and sit down. It's only 8 a.m., but I've been up for hours navigating potential threats, averting crisis, and maintaining peace. My boys made it to school on time and I'm at work with clean-ish clothes. It's a miracle.

As a working mom, most days feel very much like a half-s$$, going-through-the-motions dance. When I'm at work, my heart is at home. My head is writing grocery lists and brainstorming birthday gift ideas. Oftentimes I'm playing logistical superwoman trying to figure out how to get one kid to soccer and another one to swimming at the same time. My boss scoffs at my typos and berates me for not being more proactive, and I just want to scream, "IT'S A MIRACLE I'M EVEN HERE!"

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When I'm home, I feel guilt and pressure for not being more focused at work. I reminisce about the days where awards and pay raises were actually goals and not far-fetched hopes that feel much too stressful to even think about. I think about my younger dreams of earning $100,000 a year by the time I hit 35. I vaguely recall my plans to own a summer home on the lake. These dreams feel intangible and even selfish, really. My goals should be focused on my family. My future should look towards my kids' college fund... not the kitchen remodel.

From the moment I wake up, I'm doing a mental and physical cha cha with my husband and kids to get everyone dressed and fed, and — Don't hit the dog! Toilet water is not for drinking! By the time the kids are buckled in their car seat I'm ready to do a happy dance we even made it this far.

Once I've arrived at work, I'm doing the "look who's finally arrived" samba to my desk, eyeballing my coworkers for eye rolls or sighs of exasperation. I know how it feels to get to work every day and be a good employee, angrily staring down the losers who couldn't even arrive at the office on time. I used to be one of them. Now I'm one of the stragglers who holds her head down and hopes no one notices as she quietly slips past the boss's office yet again.

Afternoons are a straight up break dance of wrangling kids all over town, juggling dinner, and starting the bed routine at 6 p.m. because it literally takes two hours to put my children to sleep. By the time the babes are in bed, it's my bedtime, I haven't said a word to my husband other than, "Can you pass the ketchup" and I don't have an ounce of energy left in me. It's time for my sleep dance, where I wiggle around in bed between potty breaks, sheet wars, and routine visits to my kids as they cry out in the night.

It's a half-a$$ parenting dance. A dance I would never win in any competition. I do what needs to get done, and then it's on to the next duty, the next dance. I don't do any of it particularly well, but I do what I can to get a pay check, to keep the kids alive, to feed the family, and to make it to bed at a reasonable hour before I start all over again.

This dance isn't pretty. Sometimes it's not much fun. And it always leaves me breathless and exhausted. But I keep truckin', and I get from point A to point B some way, some how.

And dear lordy, It's a miracle I'm even here.

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