To all of you work-outside-the-home and work-inside-the-home and trying-to-do-both mamas out there: I see you and see how hard you are working at *everything* and I admire you. I’m in your corner. I’ve always talked with my own mom about how grateful I am for a flexible job that allows me to both pursue my professional degree as well as pursue parenting in its entirety.

Fully emersing in both feels like an impossibility, right? It’s always ebbing and flowing; taking care of self as well as taking care of family and our roles within both. Here’s what rubs salt into the wound: when society convinces us that parenthood isn’t a “valid enough” career. I recently found a suicide note, written by my mom at age 70, lamenting the fact she didn’t have “a real career”, that she never felt educated enough or competent enough. She completed a Master’s Degree in Home Economics and then raised my sister and me. She was a kind and gentle mother. She was also a talented paper-arts artist in her later years. Her career was us, first and foremost! Raising small humans, being there to pack lunches and kiss owies and get us to piano practice each week. She taught lessons and shared wisdom and devoted herself to us in our childhoods. She then pursued her artistic talents by creating cards, art projects, and more, including teaching art classes at a local fine arts store. Her classes sold-out. Her friends were in awe of her creations. Her legacy of art and kindness is vivid and alive in her community despite her recent death. Her daughters are resilient enough to handle this time of grief and loss, in part thanks to her devotion to our childhood and raising us with a variety of skills. She had a career — she actually had two! — but acknowledged it not. It weighed her down, the feelings of inadequacy.

So my plea to you, hard-working mamas: own your power. claim your worth. do any and all of the work you are drawn to do in this life, whether it inside or outside the home. be kind to yourself. be kind to your children and friends who already love you exactly as you are. Live a good life. Know in your bones that you are valid enough, every day.