Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Balancing Act

Someone said to me the other day, "I don't know how you do it."

I laughed.

The laundry is never done.

I always trip on at least one toy a day.

Brady knows his fair share of curse words thanks to those damn toys on the floor.

I have a long list of things that need to be done that don't get done.

My idea of working out is the dance I do after I step on one of their damn toys.

We eat a lot of sandwiches for dinner.

I could go on. The list always goes on.

Being a mom is hard enough and I thought I had adjusted to being a mom of two pretty well. That slapped me pretty harshly in the face when I went back to work.I remember it being rough when I went back after Brady was born and it one of the biggest hurdles I faced as a new mom. I thought it would be a bit rocky at first getting used to juggling another little one into the mix but it's been harder than I expected for different reasons. With Brady, it was getting used to the idea of having another little being to tend to instead of relaxing at home or going to the gym. This time around it is harder for different reasons. I mean it's obvious adding another little person is going to make things a little harder to adjust to but then you add in the fact that you need time for well baby visits, his endocrinologist, lab work and you know, the whole taking care of two kids thing. Then, the holiday's hit and then the sicknesses started and things spiraled into pure chaos.  I've missed a lot of work since I've been back which has left me WAY behind and very stressed. Lots of little things have piled up and my to-do lists are daunting and never ending.

I'm lucky my job is flexible to meet my family's needs but I have to say it doesn't make it easy and my work load is still just as heavy. My work week is a scheduled (but flexible on when) 42.5 hours and adding in drive time that probably hits it well over 50. I try not to work late but there are times it's a necessary evil. The flexibility is what keeps me there but as a social worker, my job is very stressful. I'm surely overworked and grossly underpaid. I'm not wanting to start a stay-at-home vs working moms debate and I know both have their ups and downs. I find myself struggling lately and I'm sure part of it is because I'm just so behind in every aspect of life because of everything in life but that is.....well, life!

When I'm at work, I'm thinking about the kids. Worrying if Benny's crying all day (which many times he does and that is probably the hardest thing, ever.) Praying they don't pick up another virus. Worry that they will eat/sleep/etc well that day. Wonder what the heck I'm going to feed everyone because I either need to go to the grocery store or I didn't thaw anything out. The list goes on.

When I'm at home, I'm good about not working when I'm at home but work is always in the back of my head, especially after a rough or stressful day. It's hard not to shake the stress sometimes and while yes, the sweet snuggles of my babies helps, it doesn't always magically make it disappear!

I find it hard to be just one person at a time. I can't just be Mommy. I can't just be the 'employee.' Can't I just be Amy because there is no set definition to who she is and who she is, well, that is up to me.

I think that it's what makes being a working mom the hardest. Picking a role isn't possible. My kids ALWAYS come first yet I have to be on time to work. I have to show up without spit-up or some other stain from my kids on my pants. I have to be professional yet I find myself talking to my 3 year old in the car on the way too a meeting about poop.

Then, there is the house. The perfectionist in me wants it to be clutter free and the dishes done. I have a hard time actually relaxing and I find that I need to be busy all the time. I know I don't have to be but I struggle with this a lot.

I can only describe being a working mom as a balancing act. I used see it more as a juggling act but as a mom, we juggle a lot in life but it's more than that. It's about finding balance amidst chaos. You can't juggle more than you can handle but you can create your own meaning of balance. It doesn't have to be a perfect definition. It doesn't even need to be defined.

I haven't found that perfect blend of balance yet. I'm working on it but until then I'll be the one with the messy house, the smear of baby food in my hair and  the one who needs to be reminded about everything because lets be honest, I can't remember crap anymore.


Carrie said...

Not to sound redundant, but I don't know how you do it. I just don't. I've always thought working moms have it impossibly hard. You're a rock star.

Susan said...

This makes me terrified of having another one! Thanks! ha ha