Today was my daughter’s fourth-grade play. And I missed it because I was at work. I was so heartbroken, I cried.
This isn’t the first time I’ve cried at my desk, and I’m sure it isn’t the last. It’s harder than I thought to find a balance between work and family.
Lately, I feel like she’s growing up so fast. Where did the toddler years go? Oh, how I miss those sleepless nights! (Never thought you’d hear someone say that, right?)
I do pretty well at making it to most of her school events. Being a working mom makes it tough sometimes to make it to every last thing and I hope one day she understands that I really am doing my best.
Why do I chose the role of a working mom instead of staying at home to take care of the house and make sure I never miss a school performance?
The simple answer is freedom. I choose to work outside the home because I enjoy it.
And most of the time I’m able to strike a balance between work and family.
To all of you stay-at-home moms, I give you kudos. I stayed home for the first 15 months of my daughter’s life and I about went crazy.
There’s nothing better than seeing your baby roll over for the first time, or take those first steps – and I am forever thankful that I had that opportunity.
But it made me realize that I’m not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom.
So, after about a year, I went back to work and left the rest to the professionals. (And by professionals I mean those that are much better equipped to handle all of the demands of caring for a child all day long!)
And throughout the past 10 years of being a working mom, I’ve discovered several tips and tricks along the way.
Here’s how you can find a balance between work and family.
Have a support system.
I cannot stress this enough. Having a partner that helps you out is the key to sanity. There’s no way you can do it all – cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands – by yourself. If you’re a single mom, I know that’s tough. I was a single mom for seven years and it was absolutely exhausting. But you still need a support system. And, lucky for me, Mr. Marvelous is an amazing support system.
Is gramma nearby? Other family? Friends? Other single parents?
If you don’t have a support system in place, you need one pronto.
Do Work at Home, and Home at Work
While it’s always a good idea to give 100% at home when you’re home, and 100% at work when you’re at work, there are only 24 hours in a day. Being a working mom means the role of employee and mommy often overlap.
It’s okay to pay your bills on your lunch hour at work. Or check your email while you’re waiting for your kids to get done with soccer practice.
Organization is Key
Have a “command center” at home to keep school flyers, the grocery list, the car keys, and other daily necessities. Otherwise, it’ll all get lost and you’ll be left scrambling at the last-minute.
Find a system to stay organized.
Carry an accordion file with you so you always have what you need when you need it. Or store everything in a productivity app and calendar on your phone.
Do whatever it takes, but you must stay organized.
Finally, you must let go of mommy guilt.
I know you want to do it all. But you can’t. And that’s okay.
You’re still super mom in your child’s eyes.
Truth is I’m still working on this last one myself. Yes, I suffer from “mommy guilt,” even after all these years. But I also know that stay-at-home-moms do, too.
We’re all in this together. We’re all doing our best. Sometimes we fail, but we get right back up. Because when we succeed, all those failures don’t matter.
When we get it right, for one fleeting moment, we get a glimpse of what super mom feels like.