All one has to do is google some combination of these words: mom, work, life, family, balance, and one will see—it is most certainly is a topic well-discussed.
The fact remains: There are no answers. We look at the subject, shred it, take it apart, and put it back together, and it still looks and feels the same. Feels LIKE _______ ( you know what). Finding work-life-balance as a mom is just plain difficult. Some days, I think impossible. I have said it before. This is nothing new to me.
We hype our slow cookers, the importance of scheduling, taking time for ourselves, and teaching our kids independence. Some of us do it with the most supportive spouses/partners; other moms do it all alone. Either way, it is tough. Difficult to “do it all” no matter how one dissects it. For the record, I hate the phrase, “do it all” because who really does it all? I know I don’t. My kids ate CEREAL for dinner last night. Please do not tell anyone—I beg you.
I ended last week with a real doozy of a day. By the time my head hit the pillow on Friday, I did not know whether I was a mom, wife, woman, or just plain broken down. I was certainly disrupted in some way—that was for sure.
The day actually started out on the bright side. With my usual early morning wake-up, I was seated at my laptop bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, pounding the keyboard with rough skeletons of a few of my ideas. There was school drop off, a quick run, and then shower and onward. Doesn’t sound too bad, yet – right?
The best part was a meeting with Vonda Wright, M.D., entrepreneur, self-proclaimed “mommy,” author, and all around busy woman. Vonda and I collaborate often, bouncing ideas and projects off one another. Mostly, we cheer each other on to the next step. It is a good thing. The day is still sounding pretty benign…..I know.
After discussing the business on hand, Vonda and I chatted a bit about the nitty-gritty. I have preteens on the verge of becoming adolescent men. Vonda has a daughter in grade school and stepkids, who are out of the house. I was feeling down on my position. I am in the middle of Vonda. I no longer have a sweet, innocent young kid easily entertained by a playdate, AND I am very, very far away from anyone leaving and spreading their wings in independence.
No, not me. I get the sense daily—I am in more demand than ever. There are cell phones and social media outlets to monitor, responsibilities to be taught, lessons on respect for girls/women, bullying to be prevented, and fragile self-esteems to watch. I have always been a parent who likes to keep their pulse on what is going on with her kids. Neither a helicopter or over-meddling one, I just like to know what is going on in their lives, school work, and overall.
I have said it before, but last week, I told Vonda: I increasingly feel I cannot be a good woman in business and a good mom at the same time. One week, I am preoccupied with parenting and the next, I am driving some personal work-related goal home. To do both, is hard, often impossible. My attention is always pulled from one to the other when trying to tackle both at the same time.
That was my gripe. Oh well, I just thought to myself—Rachel, f-ing get over yourself.
Yet, after the meeting with Vonda it was all downhill. For once, I had to take care of me and was en route to an eye doctor appointment for a check on something I was determined high-risk for—my stress level was high, needless to say. I said to the tech, “I hope you don’t have to take my blood pressure.”
While waiting for the doc, the emails came. A deadline upped, a project needing re-submitted, some crucial advocacy on the part of my child, and before I know it, my eyes are getting dilated. With dripping and burning eyes, which were cleared of any risk at the moment and just my first ever eye glass prescription in hand, I squinted at my phone in order to start putting out fires.
Racing back to my office to send out emails, documents, etc….Greeting my kids after school….Feeding the dogs….Getting back to the laptop….Squinting…..Overall, feeling largely ineffective at anything…..My day ended.
On a low note.
When I turned out the light on Friday night – finally, at midnight – I did so with a frown. Balance had gone to shit. Questioning what went out from my computer, deciphering whether I did right by my family, and resolving in myself that I really was at the moment ok, despite the awful eye exam, I only had one thought. I did not for one second think to myself at the doctor’s office to put it all aside for ME, and concentrate on my health. ME.
Why? Simply because there is no me without my family, my projects, of course the dogs, and everything else life throws my way.
So, balanced or not, today is a new day. If I F it up, I F it up....Yet, it is still all me, and I am doing what I love: Writing at 5 a.m., kissing my boys goodbye at 7-ish, and on I go…..
Perhaps—–Stop obsessing on balance and just do? Do what we do and do it as best as we can?
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other because unbalanced is the new balanced?