Last night, I participated in a Twitter party chat about balancing motherhood with work. This gave me a lot to think about, as it’s something that I struggle with often.
I work full time, at a pretty intense, high stress job. I also have a little guy at home who just turned 3, and whose world revolves sound me a lot of the time, and a husband who also works full time. These things don’t often mesh together very well, and I find myself searching for a way to juggle them, all the while still trying to keep my own sanity intact. Some days, I really wish that I could find a way to be home with my son more. I would love nothing more sometimes than to be able to spend my days doing arts and crafts projects, attending play dates and preschooler classes, and playing cars and little people on the living room floor. If I’m truly honest with myself though, there are some days when I crave adult conversation and interaction, and feel like if I trip over one more car or little person figurine, I just might lose my mind. I hear of these moms who do elaborate baking projects with their preschool aged children, and I am a bit envious. I wonder where and how they find the time to do these things, because I certainly don’t know where to find it.
Before I became a mother, I figured that it would be no problem for me to return to work when my mat leave was up. I was never really down with the thought of staying home full time. I knew that it was great or many people, but I had talked to other moms who said that going back to work was the best thing for them. I always thought that would be me too. When I was 5 years old, I had a plan. I had the boy that I was going to marry, and he was going to stay home and take care of the kids while I went to work. I guess I was career minded even then.
Now, though, things have changed a bit for me. I find it hard to only get to spend evenings and weekends with my little monkey. He is ok with me going to work, but my heart cracks a little every time he says “Mummy miss you” when I get home. I know that he is able to do so much because I work, and that a happy parent means a happy child, but it doesn’t always make it easier. I think that in an ideal world, I would work part time until he is in school full time during the day. That, to me, would be the best of both worlds. Reality is a different beast entirely though, and I know that scenario just wouldn’t work for our family.
I also know that in order for the time that we do spend together to be quality time, I need to put my attention and energy 100% into being there with him, or my husband. I have to leave my work at work, and just be when I am home with my boys. I cherish each second that I have with my family, and constantly remind myself not to take it, or them, for granted. It doesn’t matter if I am not the worlds best housekeeper, or cook, or that we don’t do craft projects every night. What is important, however, is that I am setting a positive example for my son, and showing him that you can have it all, just not all at once.
We, as parents, are so hard on ourselves. Moms, especially, want to have it all, and be all things to all people, all of the time. We compare ourselves to each other, like we think that the most put together looking mom, or the one who makes the fanciest cupcakes or the best scrapbook page for the class photo album is going to win a prize. Problem is, though, we forget that the real prize is waiting for us with a smile that will light up the room from a single glance. I need to remind myself of that sometimes, when I start to question myself. The love of my family is the big prize, and as long as I remember that, I’m the winner.
There is no such thing as a supermom, and the sooner we stop trying to make ourselves be something we’re not, the sooner we will be able to be content with what we’ve got.
How do you find balance in your life?