Like many young (and dumb) 20-year-olds,
I was always under the impression that I would be able to do it all. I mean,
why not? I'm smart, ambitious, and I am a woman. Hear me
Or hear me cry from realizing that this balance doesn't really exist. A mom recently wrote about the impossibility of work-life balance in Fortune magazine. She said that once she accepted she'd never achieve a balance, she actually started benefitting from it.
Say what? Also, let me try!
So, I decided to stop the struggle, let go of the guilt and just do what I can when I can. This means I no
longer feel like crap when I answer a quick email during breakfast or when I
use my lunch break to go visit my daughter at school. Inspired by the article, I made these changes. Now, I don't think of it as work-life balance. I just think of it as life.
Here's what I did:
Before: I made lists of activities that I could do on the weekend.
These lists were primarily written in attempts to make up the time I would be
away from my daughter
Now: I don't make lists. If we want to go
to a festival, we go. If we want to lounge on the sofa in our pajamas for
the entire day, we do that instead. There isn't a set number of activities or events. My girl will remember my presence more than she'll
remember what we did. That's what matters.
Before: I felt bad about my messy house.
Now: I don't clean as much. My chronic cleaning took an exit somewhere between morning
sickness and breastfeeding. Of course, I could spend an hour every night
cleaning up the house, but that's one less hour I get to spend with my
daughter. We use that hour to take a walk, fingerpaint or lay
on the floor and read books. Sure, I could clean after she's in bed, but, seriously? At the end of a long day, who really wants to spend an hour
cleaning? Not this mama. Not anymore.
I no longer feel like crap when I answer a quick email during breakfast or when I use my lunch break to go visit my daughter at school. Inspired by the article, I made these changes.
Before: I silenced all talks about my family and motherhood at work.
Now: I don't mind telling people about my
daughter's adorable Halloween costume. She's part of my life. I shouldn't be
embarrassed to be the only parent in my office. I should celebrate myself daily
for being able to take on many roles and doing so effortlessly. Plus, letting
my coworkers and superiors know about my child means I don't have to fabricate
reasons for why I need to get off from work: "Look, my kid is sick, and she needs
me." Easy peasy.
Before: I felt guilty all the time.
Now: I only feel guilty some of the time.
Trust me when I say this is a huge improvement. I'm betting many mamas, at
some point during motherhood, feel guilty about something. It comes with the
territory. Really, I think it is designed to either make us go crazy or
ensure that we continue to be the best mothers that we can be. However, the
days of getting weepy because my daughter learned something that I didn't teach
her is over. Shouldn't I be celebrating the fact that she's learning?