When I was pregnant, I fantasized about life after baby and how it would all work out. Here is the picture I had envisioned: I would have some leisure time with our new baby- taking walks in the park and meeting other new moms. I would easily maintain my teaching schedule and presence at the yoga studio, including writing my blogs, heading up teacher training and keeping up with my general responsibilities as the studio’s owner and director. To support this fantasy, we would find a part time nanny who’s hours could match my class times. I would find a wonderful woman who works 28 hours, segmenting her time to fit my specific schedule. I thought- great, this is all going to work out, I can easily manage motherhood and work. On paper, everything was perfect!
Fast forward – the baby is is no longer a fantasy, but a real baby! My maternity leave is long over and the work I thought I could neatly fit neatly into those several shifts a day does not fit! I did not take into account things like going to a yoga class or to the gym, showering, eating, breastfeeding or pumping. It’s been months since I saw the dentist. I am forever trying to find the balance between feeling like I am giving my son enough attention, yet still fulfilling my role at work. While I may be judged for saying this, I am surprised how much I truly love spending my time with my little guy. He makes me laugh and light up inside. I thought it would be easier to separate work from home life. When I am at work, I am missing my son and longing for that time with him. When I am at home, I feel I should be putting more effort into my work.
I recently met up with a few other working moms for an afternoon drink. I must say, I was never a big daytime drinker, but these mom meet ups tend to bring out my inner beer lover. WHICH, is good for breastmilk supply (Ok, I digress!). These working mothers either have full time help or day care. When I ask them if their work life has changed, they answer with a simple “yes.” While their careers are still important to them, they explained there is less desire to stay late or put in extra effort. At the end of their work day, they want to get home to see their child. They also feel that their “time for themselves” happens while they were away from their child at work, leaving little time for other needs to be met. One mom confessed that she feels guilty about getting a babysitter during the weekend since most of her week is already spent away from her child.
So here lies the eternal question- how do you balance work, life and motherhood?! One of my closest friends, who is in a similar work situation as me (she works for herself), explained that there is a certain level of acceptance to being out of balance at times. In the past she would strive to give 100% to her work and home life, and now 80% at work will just have to be enough. The house may not always clean, more meals are being ordered, and there is true beauty in ordering groceries online. My friend manages her time the best she can by not taking on more then she can handle, and knowing that each day’s balance will be different. Some days are more work oriented, and other days are all about her child and family.
So while striking that perfect balance between work and motherhood remains a great fantasy I long to achieve, I must settle for doing the best that I can. I am learning the great skill of multi-tasking and prioritizing. As I sit here and type, I am giving myself an at-home facial made from the left over avocado and banana from Shay’s dinner!
I would love to hear the stories of the other mothers out there that face these same challenges. Please share your wisdom!