This is not my usual family update/funny story post. But when I sent this email to a friend of mine after she was venting about failing to be able to ‘do it all’ as a working mom, she suggested I create a blog post. Thanks for the suggestion, Sarah!
I get so angry when I hear great moms beating themselves up trying to reach an unrealistic standard set by someone else. I believe that each of us has to do what is right for our family and know that the rest will work itself out.
For example, I remember when Makenna was between 12- and 18-months-old, and I had a consulting job for an agency in downtown Cincinnati. I left the house with Makenna still drowsy at 6:00 am everyday to get her to daycare by 6:15 and me in the office by 7:30. The agency wouldn’t let me leave early. So, I wouldn’t get home until sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 every night. One of the girls that worked at the daycare would bring Makenna home nearly every night because my husband was travelling and the daycare closed at 6.
It was the most horrible time. The good news is she doesn’t remember all of that craziness, but I do. It still makes me sad.
A wise mom and mentor once told me that your kids need you more as they get older. It seems counterintuitive, but, as I am learning, it’s very true. Right now, my boys just need to know that when they need me, I will be there and that I love them.
But as they get older, kids need to know:
• that you will always have their back
• of course that you will love them no matter what
• that you are on their team rooting for them
• that you will save them when they get into trouble
• that you will run them lunch when they forget and take them to field trips and recitals and practices and everywhere they need/want to go
• that you are a strong, independent, successful woman who sets an incredible example that they can follow
• that you love their dad and make time for that relationship, even if they don’t know it’s happening
But how do you get all of that done in 24 hours and have time to breath?
I take mini-breaks during the day. I lock myself in the bathroom and read for 5-10 minutes. Seriously, I just lock the door, sit on the toilet and read some hokey romance novel (READ: Twilight Saga) for 10 minutes. My kids, and husband, think I am the most regular person on the planet! But it works for me.
I have also found ways to shortcut my cleaning routines. My house is never company ready, but it can be in about 20 minutes (provided that you don’t need to use the bath room upstairs ;))
I believe that balance comes in knowing that you did today what you needed to do to survive tomorrow. Today, that might be putting in the time at work to continue bringing in an income for my family. Tomorrow, it could be a quick lunch with my husband to make sure we stay connected and have kid-free time. Friday may be family night and Saturday I might knit while I’m waiting for the laundry to dry.
I don’t believe that you have to find a way to do it all every day. Balance is about doing what you can today knowing that the rest can wait. And when you feel like you aren’t getting it all done, ask yourself – Will it cause damage to the people and things I hold dear if I don’t do XXX? If not, then it probably isn’t really necessary.
Like I told my friend, “You are an amazing mom, an incredible employee, a fabulous wife, a terrific leader and a great friend. Know that even now, when you think you totally out of control, there are others looking at you and asking the same question – How are you getting it all done? ”
That’s a woman for you – we just do!