I’m a Working Mom and (Sometimes) I Suck
Ok. Not really. But it’s been more than six months since I’ve returned to work from maternity leave. To say that I wasn’t nervous and anxious about returning to work, would be misleading. Even though it was my second time around, my fears about embarking on a new life, this time with two littles at home, didn’t go away any faster. I had just spent the last several weeks focused squarely on one task: being a dedicated mother. And I knew that going back to work meant that I would now have to focus on juggling two jobs and that there was a very real possibility that I could suck at both.
The thoughts that were swirling around my head the weekend before I returned to the office were mostly on the doubts that I had in my ability to be both a great mom as well as a terrific employee and teammate. And there are a lot of days where I feel like I fail at both.
The joke for many working moms is that Mondays become the new Saturdays, and that a day at the office is far less exhausting than a day at home with kids. But that doesn’t make it any easier to leave them every day, and to not feel the guilt that you are not spending more time with them. In fact, there’s a whole list of things that I have sucked at since becoming a working mom (of two!):
- Having Energy: These days, my work day doesn’t just end at 5:30. After a day at the office, it’s time to clock into my second job as Mom. There’s pickup at school, grocery shopping, getting two dinners on the table, two bath times, story time and bed. And then it’s on to cleaning up, packing lunches and so on. But while the days are long, the years with littles are short and sometimes you just need to stop and smell the roses, or in my case the glue and baby food.
- Resting: There’s definitely a difference between rest and sleep, and in the early days of parenthood you’re not getting much of either. I try to hit the sack for an early bedtime, but other than sleep, I suck at getting rest these days.
- Patience: Do you ever have those days where you feel stretched so thin that any little thing that goes wrong is gonna make you snap? Yep, I have those. And sometimes my patience, especially with my littles, sucks. But best to take a deep breath. It will pass.
- Being a Good Friend: Oh, you want to grab dinner after work? Let’s catch a movie over the weekend? Those days may no longer be part of my regular routine, but mostly because sleep trumps everything. Having a full night’s rest is more exciting than an extra cocktail with friends. Heck, it’s hard enough to schedule phone dates with my friends. But at least I still have my friends…the Real Housewives.
- Getting Exercise: I haven’t worked out since 2014. Enough said.
Even though the list of things that working moms think they suck at can feel pretty long, it’s really all about just being OK with not being perfect all of the time. For us moms, it’s not always a balance, many days it is a juggle…like a juggle with 11 different objects, but you have to lean on your support system to build you up when the days are rough. And luckily in this case, my support system includes my husband, family, and friends as well as Prosek and all of my colleagues who give me their flexibility, understanding and patience as they navigate this tricky time.
I can honestly say that I’m doing the best I can. And sometimes the only parenting strategy that works is survival, or whatever gets you through the day. But seeing my daughter parade around the house in heels and carrying my purse as she heads off to her pretend office, is all that I need to know we’re all gonna be just fine.