Gigi Hadid
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 19: Gigi Hadid is seen in SoHo on December 19, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)

When a supermodel like Gigi Hadid returns to work after having a baby, is the juggle and struggle just as real as it is for the rest of us?

Returning to work after having a baby is a bit like living in an alternate universe. Whether you’re five weeks or five years postpartum, reentering the office or reconnecting your business after birthing is like taking the TARDIS back to a time when you were just you –  not mother-you. Except now, you’re from the future where everything is exhausting and you can’t remember anything.

While mother-you still looks like you and sounds like you, this new version can’t shake the feeling it also has a giant sign pinned to it that says “I HAVE A BABY.” While everything around you seems to be consistent and vastly unchanged, your world spins on a brand new axis, one that gets to dash to the supermarket after work now, not the bar.

Today, model and mother to Khai, Gigi Hadid, posted a series of pictures from a beauty shoot in a Manhattan studio. She captioned it “back to early NYC mornings w my Maybelline team.” The photos seem to be an outtake from the same shoot she posted selfies from back on Jan 29, which she captioned “working 9 – 5”. I don’t know Gigi, but the recurrent theme of workplace OMG’s probably means she’s got the internal alien discourse going on too.

Her father, Mohamed Hadid, commented on today’s post with “a working Mom. And yes that all her real hair [sic].” Not sure what the hair part had to do with, but he’s clearly a proud dad.

However, when you’re a mother and you work, you’re a “working mom.” As Gigi’s father iterated. It’s commonplace for such labeling to occur, I get it all the time; however, I don’t think anyone has ever referred to my husband as a “working dad.” And, I haven’t checked, but it’s unlikely anyone comments on Zayn’s pictures with “working Dad” either (we’ll assume he’s also wearing his own hair). Categorizing traditional parenting roles pressures both sides of the team. A pressure that reminds women they’ll be forever split by home life and work life, and that men should press on as though nothing has changed.

To be honest though, I don’t mind the label “working mom.” If you look at it as less about pigeonholing and more as a badge of honor, then it’s supportive and progressive. Most working women who are also mothers leave their day office to go home to their other office. The one where employees act like unreasonable bosses and the KPIs are designed for failure.

Perhaps Gigi’s return to work is a little different from the average woman’s daily grind, but it’s her new reality nonetheless. Mentally, physically, emotionally, there’s a lot to get your head around in those first weeks. While some women work far from home, some part time, some from the next room, and some at night in pajamas, writing until 1am (Hi!), we all check the box “working mom” and it’s hard in a multitude of ways. But mostly, we’re all just trying to do our best – Zooming while feeding, doing deals while signing kindergarten forms, reading presentations while researching different types of kids’ rashes.

We’re all working, we’re all mothering and we’re all doing it in our real hair.