Let’s just stop all the nonsense about working moms vs stay-at-home moms. Let’s also just forget about the “leaning in” or “leaning back” or “sitting at the table” or whatever new catchphrase that will fire a storm next week.
I’m done with all that because the reality is that I’m doing all of those things ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
Lately, I’ve been realizing that I haven’t really spent much real time with daughter. “Real time” meaning me being present and engaged – in the moment – and being able to focus on whatever it is that I am doing with her. What she sees is me on my phone or behind my computer and saying things like, “I have to work” or “Oh I can’t do that with you because I have to finish my work.” I’m always busy and running around. I’m always making things like laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, making lunches, etc. be my excuse for not being able to sit down to read the book, paint, listen to her story, help her build her cardboard house, and just to be able to look at her in the eyes and really listen to how her day at school was tough because her friend broke a promise.
It makes me feel like I am missing out on life and missing out on her growing up. I wish I could go back and redo the past two years.
There is still a pile of laundry that needs to be folded and there is a basket of folded laundry that is still waiting to be put away. Our place is a constant mess and I had to make an emergency run for toilet paper because we were down to the last two rolls. (If you know me, you would know that we never would’ve been down to the last two rolls.) No matter how organized I try to be and how hard I fight with myself to let things go, the feeling of being swallowed up by an overwhelming wave never seems to dissipate.
Yes, I may be a working outside of the home mom, but my job doesn’t end when I leave my office. At 5 pm, I go to my other job of being a parent, running a household, and another part time job. When I was a stay-at-home parent, the task list was always endless and my job didn’t give me break when I left the house or if my kid wasn’t around. My life has become a 24/7 job. The work/life balance line is so blurry and has become a tricky juggling act.
To me, I just see a lot of hard working and sleep deprived women. (Not that the men aren’t hard working or sleep deprived…) They are doing it all and wearing so many different hats. It amazes me on a daily basis, but it also makes me feel extremely lonely. There are so many days that I feel like I am alone in the struggle and in feeling defeated and discouraged. My head knows that we are all walking this journey together and that we all have moments where we feel this way, but my heart tells a different story. It’s isolating.
So to all the moms out there who are working tirelessly and non-stop – I see you. You help me to keep going when I think that I can’t. And if you feel alone, I would love to walk with you because I sure could use a friend who can really understand what it’s like.