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Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Tina Fey, and Other Powerful Women on Being Working Moms

May 13, 2018, 10:53 PM UTC

Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day when people all over America reflect on motherhood and what it means to them (and buy a bouquet or two of flowers while they’re at it). Yet for many of the women we celebrate, “mom” is just one of their many titles. In fact, 70% of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force, with more than 75% of them being employed full-time, according to the Department of Labor.

In honor of Mother’s Day, below is a roundup of some of the best quotes from the most well-known mothers about splitting their time between home and the office. While some of their words are encouraging, other quotes paint a not-so-rosy picture of working moms’ balancing act.

Former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama:

“For me, being a mother made me a better professional, because coming home every night to my girls reminded me what I was working for. And being a professional made me a better mother, because by pursuing my dreams, I was modeling for my girls how to pursue their dreams.”

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki:

“People assume it’s hard to have a child with the job I have, but my energy level is high. I also have a lot of resources at home and at work, not to mention the skills to run a big organization.”

Facebook COO and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg:

“When a couple announces that they are having a baby, everyone says ‘Congratulations!’ to the man and ‘Congratulations! What are you planning on doing about work?’ to the woman. The broadly held assumption is that raising their child is her responsibility. In more than thirty years, this perception has changed very little.”

Comedian, actor and author Tina Fey:

“I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.”

TV producer and writer Shonda Rhimes:

“You can quit a job. I can’t quit being a mother. I’m a mother forever. Mothers are never off the clock, mothers are never on vacation. Being a mother redefines us, reinvents us, destroys and rebuilds us. Being a mother brings us face-to-face with ourselves as children, with our mothers as human beings, with our darkest fears of who we really are. Being a mother requires us to get it together or risk messing up another person forever.”

Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi:

“You will look back and it will hurt like hell.”

Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington:

“I think while all mothers deal with guilt, working mothers are plagued by guilt on steroids.”

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