For working moms, finding balance can be a challenge.
Most weeks, I feel like I’m operating at full capacity Monday through Friday. Beginning at 6am, it’s: go, rush, go. I get two boys ready and out the door before heading to work. The kids have their own long, busy days while I’m in the office. Then starting at 5pm, it’s a scramble to pick the boys up, make dinner, unpack lunch boxes, and carry out our bedtime routine. I fall asleep by 10pm. Wake up and repeat. I won’t go through the gory details, because I know any mom reading this understands how long and crazy some days are.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a lot of mom guilt.
I feel guilty when I drop my two year-old off at daycare, five days a week. I especially feel guilty when I am home, still thinking about work, and not putting my focus where it needs to be- on my family. In the past month, stress has reared its ugly head, and I have been impatient with those I love the most.
Reaching career goals while raising a family can be difficult.
I’ve turned down opportunities for professional advancement because they would be more demanding of me and my time. I’ve had to explain to colleagues that now is not the right time for me and fight back the urge to take on more. But, I also work super efficiently when I’m in the office so that I don’t have to bring my work home with me (most nights). And I really do love the work I do.
Conflicting feelings, between wanting to excel in my career and needing to put my family first, had been weighing on me heavily, until recently. From three separate sources, I heard the words that I needed to hear.
The first instance I heard this message was from my older sister; someone who has put everything into her career, and whose opinion means the world to me. She told me one day, in her matter-of-fact way,
“You know, you don’t have to be the perfect mom. You don’t have to be the best at work and at home. It’s ok to cut yourself some slack.”
And that was like a breath of fresh air, cutting through the stress and guilt I’d been feeling.
Next, came a quote from the Queen of Success, Oprah Winfrey, that resonated with me.
Basically, don’t give up on your dreams. Just recognize that there can be time for everything you want to accomplish. It doesn’t have to all happen in the immediate future, or all at the same time.
Lastly, I heard an interview with Pop singer Lady Gaga, who has been overwhelmed by working her way to the top, only to be met with criticism. Very candidly, she spoke of how lonely success could be and how her journey has made her realize that she needed to take a step back and focus on her family. It was confirmation to me, that even someone who seems to have everything they could want in life doesn’t feel complete without the support and loving relationships with their family.
All of these messages came to me at the perfect time. I feel grateful that my sister recognized my efforts as a working mom and gave me permission to take a break. Also, I appreciate that I can relate to these hard working women. Now I feel like my world has slowed down. I finally have some space to enjoy my life, family, and successes.
So if you’re a mom, working in or outside of the home, cut yourself some slack. Congratulate yourself for all you do. We still have many years of great accomplishments ahead.