Behind every successful working mom is a loyal friend helping her stay afloat.
That’s what I thought about this week, after I caught a tear-jerking exchange on Tuesday between CNN’s Brooke Baldwin and fellow anchor Poppy Harlow. Poppy, a hard-working mother, was brought on to discuss Serena Williams’ recent tweet about her postpartum baby blues and the pain of going back to work. Poppy expressed her gratitude for Serena’s honesty, admitting to similar experiences, including her current battle with the sheer exhaustion of not “having it all” but trying to do it all. Though it was a moving sentiment, this reaction was to be expected, and has thankfully been echoed by celebrities and media outlets around the country. What hasn’t, however, was what happened next.
Brooke, who does not have children, commended Poppy on her struggle, but Poppy stopped her. She turned the attention back on Brooke, reminding her of the many times Brooke had helped her—saying that her friendship is part of the reason she is able to do all she does at work and at home. It was an incredibly touching moment, and one that illuminated an aspect of successful working motherhood that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.
Working moms are not stand-alone superheroes—they are fighters, movers, shakers and fierce multitaskers who are able to accomplish so much, in part, because of their friends. Too often, working moms are pitted against their childless counterparts. The idea that they have it easier, or simply can’t comprehend what we go through, is at the forefront of this divide. I have found, however, through personal experience and those of friends, that while this may be true for some, it is not the case for most.
It’s easy to forget, once you’ve found yourself in the throes of working motherhood, that there was a time before. A time when you went the distance for your friends with kids. Trekking to their home for get-togethers when going out wasn’t an option, lending a helping hand with pickups, drop-offs and free babysitting, or perhaps just bouncing that baby on your knee for a bit to give mom’s arms a break. Did you fully understand what it meant to be a working mother? No, how could you? But you did understand that the experience was as rewarding as it was trying, and so you did what you could for your friend, even if it was just some words of encouragement over the phone on your lunch break.
They say it takes a village. I would venture to say this applies both to raising a child as well as being a successful working mother, and our fabulous, female friends are an essential part of that. They make us laugh, they help us out, and most importantly, the good ones raise us up. That’s what Brooke Baldwin did for Poppy Harlow, right there on the air in front of millions of viewers, and it was a beautiful moment. Poppy sending that love right back, however, was a reminder of just how much we need the amazing working women in our lives who may not have children, but always have our backs.