A Working Mom’s Letter to Her Kids

Dear Kids,

You see me working a lot – my office is at our house, so how could you not? When you set up your own home offices with toy computers and type away or talk on your toy phones using my boss’s name, I know that you are watching. You see a lot of what I do. But, there’s more that I want you to know than what you can see when I work late, take a quick work call during dinner, or when you sneak down to my office during the day for a hug.

I want you to know that I love YOU more than my job.

In fact, that is the most important thing that I want you to know about my job. I love the work I do, but you always come first in my heart. No matter what.

I want you to know that when I travel for work, I miss you, too.

I take work trips a few times a year, most often to California and sometimes as long as 2 ½ weeks at a time. Before my last trip, I sang the littlest of you, “How much is that doggy in the window?”. When I sang the verse that says, “I must take a trip to California and leave my poor sweetheart alone,” you burst into tears and said, “Yes. You go on an airplane.” That made me cry, too. When your babysitter told me you were trying to build an airplane in the playroom to visit “Mommy-fornia,” it broke my heart.

I miss my poor sweethearts, too, even though you aren’t really alone. You have Daddy, you each have each other, and your awesome babysitter to take care of you.  FaceTiming with you makes me happy to see you but so sad that it’s only through a screen. I never feel like all is right with my world until we are all together again.

working mom
Who wouldn’t miss these little goofballs?

I want you to know that work is about more than just making money.

Yes, the work you do should let you support yourself and your family. But, the work you do should also make you feel good about yourself. Ideally, it should make you feel fulfilled. I try to show you that by talking to you about what I do, how it helps other people, and how it makes me feel good to help people using the skills and talents that I have. When you are searching for your career path, I want you to find a way to use your gifts that makes your own heart happy.

I want you to know that when you have the right job, it doesn’t have to feel like “work.”

You have two parents who really like what we do and are pretty darn good at what we do, too. The work that we do has become an intrinsic part of who we are. Your dad isn’t just a scientist when he’s in the office or at the lab. He is a scientist; it’s how his mind works, no matter where he is. I don’t just work for a charity; I’m living out my values by doing work I believe is important. And I love doing well at it. I love beating my own records and winning awards for my work. I hope that you’ll soak all that in and see the value in working hard to achieve and excel in a field that you love.  I promise you that it will feel amazing!

I want you to know that it’s hard to be good at your job and be a good parent at the same time.

I hope it gets easier by the time you are grown-ups, but I doubt that will be the case. So, someday when you have a terrible day and feel like you aren’t enough at home or at work, call your mom. Vent to me. I’ll know just what you mean.  And, I’ll tell you how amazing and wonderful you are. In my eyes, you will be Super-Mom or Super-Dad. I will marvel at how amazing you are at the balancing act of working parenthood. And I will be so proud of you.

You probably won’t believe me that you are as awesome as I think you are, but it’ll make you feel a little better anyway. I know, because that’s what happens when I call your grandma.




Laura is a mom of three who works full-time from home as a Development Director for a children’s charity. Laura grew up in Maryland, spent her 20s living in Southern California and South Carolina, and has spent her 30s and now 40s in Iowa, moving to Iowa City in 2010. Laura loves dancing, reading, baking, and music. She and her husband Ryan started dating in college (gasp – over 20 years ago!) and they have been sharing life’s adventures ever since. Their biggest adventure is, of course, parenthood. With three kids, the action is non-stop - which is just the way Laura likes it.


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