Growing up, my mom had a mug with a little cartoon of an exasperated woman. The bubble above her head read: "I have a husband. I have two kids. I have a full-time job. I'm nuts."
The thing is, I had no idea that my mom struggled to juggle her family and her career responsibilities. Sure, I wished she could sew amazing costumes like some of the moms at my elementary school (she did try to make me the hoop skirt of my dreams — and it was a good effort) and I would have liked to go home at 3:00 p.m. instead of staying at after-school care until 6. But I never felt like I was missing out on anything. My mom was always around when I needed her the most, and on those days when I got a bad grade or didn't get a role in the school play, she always answered my frantic phone calls.
When I first started my career and was putting in crazy-long hours, I would sometimes stop and think, How did my mom do it? I can barely get my laundry done, and it's just me. Now that I'm getting ready to have a baby of my own, I truly have no idea how I will follow in her footsteps. I just feel lucky that she'll be around to offer support. She's retiring after 30-plus years as a pharmacist to help me raise my baby, and even though I'm a full-grown woman, I have no problem admitting that I don't think I've ever needed my mom more.
On the days when I wonder, What the hell am I doing, I take a deep breath and remember I'm not doing this alone. I have an incredible role model in my own mother, but I'm also surrounded by other amazing women who manage to have thriving careers and families. I know it won't be easy, but I also think it will be worth it.
Ahead, 10 working mothers — from Jenna Bush Hager to Isabella Rossellini — share the best advice they received from their own working mothers. Even if you don't have kids of your own, it's the kind of wisdom every woman should hold onto for those days when you need a little reminder you've got this.