The Working Mom Perspective
Being a working parent is hard work. The work-life balance does not exist. I find myself battling with constant guilt for wanting to pursue a career or wanting to reach the many goals I set for myself. In the mix of reaching goals, someone has to suffer. Whether that be the kids, my wife, or most times… me. Not all days are defeated with guilt. The others are filled with stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.
(Note: There is always love in our household, in case that needed to be clarified. It is an Earth-moving type of love. My wife and I would do anything for our kids and each other.)
I haven’t been able to get any type of routine down with my family or anything else that takes precedent in my life, like my goals and my career. The hours I work are pretty standard, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with about a half hour drive in rush hour traffic on my way home. Once home, dinner needs to be cooked, kids need to be bathed, chores need to be done. It is only then, after bed time, that I have to find time to spend with my wife and/or my goals. It is hectic, to say the least.
What I have discovered, is that work-life balance does not exist and I spend my time at work trying so hard to get ahead, that I am constantly questioning my abilities. In my “down” time at work, I feel awful that I am missing so much of my kids’ lives. I feel bad that I am tired when I come home, and I feel crappy that I can’t seem to ever sit still. I never want to be the parent who one day realizes that their children’s’ lives passed them by and was missed because of my inability to grasp the present. I just hope I am making the right decisions for my family even if I am not at home during the day. I hope the few hours I spend with my babies is making an impact on their lives more so than my absence from being at work.
Don’t get me wrong, the goals I set are so my babies will always know that you can accomplish anything you want with hard work. This still doesn’t take the pang of sadness when they choose my wife over me to kiss boo-boos, or open something, or just snuggle with. I am goal-driven and always have been, and it is way more important now because of the little eyes I have watching me. The more I want to accomplish, the more things seem to shift around. At all times I am on high alert, feeling stressed and frazzled. I question my mothering, my goals, my daily routine and just about every move I make. Sometimes I can’t keep it all together in my mind.
There is an abundance of love, though. Support runs fluid in this house, whether it’s something my wife wants to do, or something I want to do, or if the kids have something on their mind. We do try our best we can to be a supportive and loving family to each other no matter how much stress is consuming our lives. We still make memories and tell each other we love each other multiple times a day. The smooches are there and sweet, but fitting everything in the few hours I have when I get home from work is challenging. Most nights I go to bed so exhausted that it seems as though I don’t sleep at all.
If there is a way to keep it all together, I am lost. I haven’t found any advice that tells me something new and effective. I just move through my days, sometimes in a blur, worried about the next bill due or the next holiday and wondering what will happen next. I do try to live in the moments and at least once an evening I do stop and take a second to be thankful for all that I have and all that I am able to do as a woman, a mom, and a wife.
I am not unaware of the blessings that have fell onto my path, and I do share those with my family. I just feel the woes of being a working mom. I can’t help but look at other moms who do this everyday who seem so put together and stress-free… I wonder how that is even possible.
Being a working mom has been the biggest challenge I have faced to date. I do it, but I wonder how. I wonder if I look on the outside the way I feel on the inside. I wonder if it ever gets any easier? Either way, I will keep trucking. I will keep loving my babies and my wife, since all that I do is for them and our well-being.