If you didn’t know already, I have 4 kids. I know, I know. Yes, its a lot. I will be honest when I say that being a working mom has been part of my life for 16 years now, and I forget a little what it was like to work and not have a child attached to me (read nursing while editing, cooking, going to the bathroom) or the transition from working with no children to work with newborn/toddler. etc. I have done full time, part time, full time + part time, stay at home with no job & even as a single working parent. Even with all of those different scenarios, I am still faced with challenges daily. Children grow up, new things are added to the routine & you adapt as you go. I have been asked how I do it, and I will be the first to tell you that I am no expert in this matter. Just because I am “doing” it doesn’t mean I’ve got it all together. its really hard and super messy. Thats life though. Its messy & especially when you involve people or hormone filled teens (OMG) its hard & you have to decide now that sometimes it is what it is & you just keep going & tomorrow is a new day. here are some things that stick out to me & thought I would share.
LEARN TO ADJUST QUICKLY //
since I work from home & have a 4 yr old who is with me during the day and older kids who go to school, my day has to be done in phases. I get done what I can while I have a moment & if I have to stop & come back then thats what I do. there is never not an interruption. my job is done in shifts & there is nothing I can do about that right now. I’ve learned to stay focused on the task at hand & not worry about the other things. communication with clients & delivery timelines will always be priority. I do reply back to emails at 11pm because I have no idea what tomorrow morning may look like & I want to get back to them ASAP. If I only get to edit for an hour & have to come back tomorrow I will just catch up where I left off. the hardest part is allowing yourself to adjust where needed & not getting down on yourself for taking longer then you wanted.
deep down I really want to do it all. I want to have a thriving business, a clean house, home cooked meals, happy kids & dinner parties on the weekends. growing up my mom was always busy making sure the house was clean & dinner ready when my dad came home. I know that in 2018 roles are way past this & in some homes the mom is working & dad is home with the kids. my husband has never expected this from me, but its still a subconscious expectation I put on myself. if you know about the 5 love languages, then you know that acts of service is one of them. this one makes my list, so I like to do things for people. I like to come home to a clean house & dinner ready. its the “we were expecting you, and wanted to do something nice” feeling. when you work and time is limited you have to have a conversation with your S.O. about team work & getting things done that need to be done. there is no ‘one area is yours and the other is mine’ nonsense. i really think this should be done no matter who is working or not. if dishes need to be done then do them, you don’t have clean underwear? do a load. its not anyones “job” in my house. this is something that we teach our kids as well. “we all live here, we are all going to help out”. you must instill into your children the ability to take ownership & responsibility. team work is always a good quality.
DONT SACRIFICE //
i know there are some stay at home moms out there who love every minute of it. they find fulfillment in managing the home and the kids and can’t imagine doing something else. for me, i’ve done it and I need the “9-5” hustle. i’ve had jobs where its basically just paying for childcare, but it was needed because being “stuck at home” for me was not healthy. sometimes being home all day everyday and working can be overwhelming, I am so thankful that I am doing something that I enjoy. if where you are in life (younger kids, finances, etc) makes it easier for you to be home with you kids, then I encourage you to not sacrifice your dreams and talents just for the kids. While time with them is priceless, if there is something you enjoy doing and can either do from home or part time, do it! you being happy and fulfilled (however that looks for you) will make you a better mom/wife/human. if you don’t want to work, go out! even if its a consistent evening out with girlfriends where you take a cooking class, paint, see a movie, get your nails done…do it! you cannot and should not carry the home on your back. your husband/boyfriend/grandparent/babysitter can handle it. don’t feed into the victim role, your needs are important too.
YOU ARE NOT A SUPERHERO //
tears. exhausted. feeling like a failure in everything I touched. when one area is thriving another suffers. I came to realize that I am not a stay at home mom, I am a mom who works from home. for me there had to be the difference. if I was working outside the home then the dishes from this morning would be there in the evening. there would be toys on the floor, and clothes that needed to be folded. my job does have seasons and there are times when the work load & travel is much more then other times and there has to be balance and outsourcing when needed. I have used cleaning services, ordered lunch AND dinner via uber eats and done all my grocery shopping numerous times through instacart. if you can, budget (even if for a season) ways to take items off your plate. you cannot and should not do it all. you will only burn out. ask for help! its ok.
ok, mom. I am sending a virtual hug your way. hope today you feel empowered. you feel heard. today i give you permission to nap when your kids nap, order in dinner, lock yourself in your bathroom with candles, wine and music and let whatever happens outside that door, happen. they can deal.
** to you single working parents- I applaud you. I was a working single mom for a year. I lived alone and then with a roommate, dealt with daycare and a FT job. I shared meals with my toddler to save money. you carry a lot. give yourself grace. know its ok to cry. be mad. be angry and frustrated. its HARD. find your tribe. ask for help. you are not alone. **