Life with a highly active, ever evolving, and what seems like CONSTANTLY teething 15-month-old can be an adventure to say the least. This leaves me more often than not trying to figure out how to find a balance. As moms we just seem to be hardwired to think that we must do it all, be it all, and have it all together ALL the time! Those thoughts alone are destructive as they constantly pick at our self-worth as a mother and a woman – and even more so to someone like me that has a desire for perfection. I seem to be mentally incapable of doing anything half-assed in my standard and if I try to it will nag at me until I rectify it and motherhood lately is no exception.
This balancing act for me began with Covid-19. I was about 34 weeks pregnant with my daughter when the first confirmed case hit the news. We gave birth to our daughter 6 weeks later at the beginning of lockdowns. As scary as this was for us in some ways it made it easier. We did not have to balance so much day-to-day life with our newborn. I was on maternity leave, my husband’s work schedule was modified, and the outside world was shut down. As my daughter grew, I struggled a bit with trying to balance motherhood and doing so without the village of family and friends that covid took from us. Eventually, due to circumstances beyond our control I left my job and became a stay-at-home mom. Although it was not the main contributing factor to me leaving my job, I did think I would be able to balance things better if I did not have to work too. I mean do not get me wrong some things definitely came easier like planning appointments and getting our daughter on a schedule. However, flash forward almost a year later and I still have struggles.
I have always wanted to hold my own financially in my relationship not because I had to but because I wanted to. It makes me feel more equal within the relationship and like I am helping to provide for our family. When I quit my job, I gave up a decent position, income, benefits, and all the outside professional socialization that came with it. I knew at the time that mentally I was not in the job anymore as so many moms experience when they go back to work after having their babies, and with covid I just had a stronger urge to be home with her and keep her safe. However, I really grappled with the change for a few months. It was extremely hard for me, and sometimes still is, to not be contributing financially the way I was and to let my husband take on all the financial responsibilities. It was hard for me not to feel inadequate even while I was my daughter’s 24/7 provider. It began to pull at me more, while at the same time, several women close to me were being so successful embarking on new careers. The new balancing act became figuring out how to remain home with my daughter but also find a way to contribute to my family financially in a way that would make my daughter proud years down the road. Now that I am employed as an Administrator for NayaCare and have mostly put to rest my feelings of inadequacy as I am able to contribute to my family & am incredibly lucky that my employment is arranged in a way that I can still be present for my daughter and bring in some income.
As my daughter has grown this balancing act has always been a struggle. I want to kick butt being a full time stay at home super mom, while somehow bringing home income and being myself as a woman and not just a mother- all while making my daughter proud of me as a mother and a woman. I find myself wanting to be the mom who does special activities daily with her child every day and makes all my daughters’ meals. I feel like I have to because I am the stay-at-home mom who has “more time” and should be doing those things. I also want to somehow be full time employed and do this while doing the daily activities and providing 3 homemade meals a day. I crave wanting to have that one quiet hour to myself with nothing to do except whatever I want to do (even though I know I will miss my little one the whole time). However, as I am sure you all can relate there are not enough hours in the day to meet this standard for myself. I find myself often upset because I feel like I have fallen short somewhere. It seems hard most days to succeed at making sure I have fulfilled my obligations as a wife and a mother, but also my obligations to myself. I find myself resentful toward my husband , who all though he may be having the same struggles, either doesn’t appear to have them or does not hold himself to the same intense standards that never allow one to feel like they have it all together. I even look at the “other moms” to see how they are performing as mothers, wives, and individual women. It is easy while making these observations to suddenly feel like I am falling short in some area. It’s easy to be on the outside looking in and think that these “other moms” have it so together… while in fact maybe they are constantly trying to balance the scale and hanging on by a thread somedays too.
I am slowly learning that balance is slowing down to enjoy all the moments and milestones with my daughter even though the housewife part of me knows there are dishes that need to be done. Sometimes work does have to be done while I give my daughter that extra screen time or even after she goes to bed. The balance is saying “ I cannot make another meal homemade today. Who wants boxed macaroni and cheese?” and that’s okay. It’s saying I am still a woman, though somedays non-existent, who has goals and wants my child to be proud of me…it just may take me time to get there. The balance for me lately has been trying to give myself the grace to not meet every single standard I set for myself and to not only enjoy all the moments I have with my daughter but to be in the moment with her. All the while trying so hard to remember and accept that tomorrow is another day to be perfectly imperfect.