The last couple months have been one of the most emotional rollercoasters of my life. I went from having a promising career and working harder than I ever have, to maneuvering through the new normal of working from home with two toddlers during a global pandemic, to getting fired because my kids were “too loud” during work calls — leaving me with no job. The shocking turn of events and emotions of the betrayal I endured continue to haunt me.
I have worked so hard to climb the corporate ladder the last 14+ years in the industry that I was in. As a woman, a Latina, and a mother in a male dominated industry, let me tell you that was no easy task. But guess what? I did it. I loved having a career and being a mom too. I have always been a hard-working, driven individual, and that mentality remained even after having kids. I had no intention of ever leaving my career after having my kids. I enjoyed my independence of being able to contribute financially to my family and doing something that I really enjoyed. I wanted to show my children that they too could follow their dreams and still be a great parent. They could be both.
When people ask me how I feel about the transition from being a working mother to not, I can’t help but cry. Imagine working so hard for something and having it torn from you so unfairly. It hurts so bad. Not only did my ex-employer rip away my family’s financial security, leaving me jobless during a global pandemic to care for two young children, but it gut-punched my self-esteem like nothing else ever has. The whole situation has brought me down to my knees. I wake up sometimes thinking it was all a nightmare. How could this happen to me? I have worked so hard my entire career to get where I was.
The balancing act of working motherhood has now turned into a balancing act of endlessly looking for a job and trying to focus on this extra time with my kids. The cloud of stress that hovers over me is emotionally draining. I find myself crying every day because of the stress that I feel in trying to find a job and provide for my family. I keep asking myself how the heck I am going to find employment during this time while the economy is so terrible and it poses a health risk to leave our home. Then the mom guilt kicks into high gear and reminds me to just try to give myself grace and enjoy the time with the kids right now.
Despite all this, I try so hard to hide the pain I feel, and do everything that I can to make my kids happy. My daughter keeps asking me why I’m not working any more, and I just tell her that I’m focusing on spending time with them right now because of the virus (COVID-19). She tells me “Oh, okay, you’re such a hard worker Mommy. I love you.” I can’t bear to tell her what happened, because even though she is four and you think she probably won’t understand … I know she will. She knows how much I loved my career. She always talks about going to college, getting a job like Mommy and Daddy and having 100 babies. She aspires to have a career and be a mom because that is what we have modeled for her. My heart breaks to even think about crushing her dreams. What do I tell her? They fired me because I was a mommy and they could hear her and her baby brother on a Zoom call? I can’t even …
I hope I will find a secure job with a new company that will protect me from discrimination and retaliation. I hope I can someday have my career back. I remind myself daily that the extra time I have with the kids right now won’t be forever (hopefully), so I’m really trying to make the best of it and to enjoy these moments with them. But most days, I lock myself in the bathroom and cry before even starting the day due to the stress and anxiety I feel about our current reality.
The saying “the struggle is real” has never felt as real as it does now.