Finding Balance as a Working Mom
5 tips for finding balance as a working parent
Griffin is in Mother's Day Out as I type this, and there's a big part of me that wants to go pick her up and tell her she can stay home with me indefinitely. On some mornings, she cries and says, "I don-wanna-go-ta-skewwwwlllll." It usually only lasts a few minutes, and she changes her mind after eating a few bites of a muffin or anything that's edible within a 5 ft radius, but it still feels like a knife in the heart. Technically, I COULD stay home with her every day. Thomas COULD take a corporate job or go back to work in the restaurant industry, but I've realized a few things over the summer - when the three of us were fortunate enough to share every waking moment together.
How to deal with mom guilt:
1. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF
Not everyone was made to be a stay at home parent. I wasn’t, and you might not be, either. MAJOR kudos and all the mad props to all the moms and dads who are rockin' this role, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all title. Mommy dates make some people crazy. For some, the idea of playing with a room full (or park full) of strangers' kids is about as terrible and stress-provoking as going to the dentist.
2. MAKE MORE TIME FOR YOU
If creative outlets allow you to be the best version of yourself, then by all means, pursue them. When I work on things I'm passionate about, I'm a better mother to Griffin & a better wife to Thomas. Self care is not selfISH. I can’t express this enough. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again - you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help anyone else. You cannot pour from an empty cup. You have many clichés to choose from here…
3. ASK FOR HELP
It's okay to seek out help. A lot of times, we overthink things as parents. It’s much harder on us than it is on our kids to let go of control over them for a few hours a day. Griffin needs & LOVES being around other people. Her teachers & pint-sized humans she steals baby dolls from five days a week are doing a MUCH better job than I am at filling that part of her social little soul. When other kids cry as their parents drop them off, she yells, "Bye, Felicia!" and throws up a peace sign. Okay, not really, but it would be pretty hilarious if she did.
4. FIND YOUR BALANCE
Your children and your business are not mutually exclusive. I LOVE Griffin, and I LOVE my job. Being a mom has brought a new set of challenges that push me to be better in everything I do, while this business allows the three of us to spend quality time together during the mornings, evenings, and weekends. My time is more limited, which means I have to use my time wisely, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either.
Each time I sit down at the computer, it feels like a ‘quick-fire’ challenge has been presented to me. I know I’ll only have about 30 solid minutes to do whatever it is I need to get done. Facebook tabs & retail therapy can wait.
5. BE PRESENT
As Elsa & Anna say, “Let it goooooo, let it gooooo!” Sometimes, you have to let go of a little pride and rely on your tribe to maintain some sense of sanity. I used to obsess over the amount of time Griffin spent away from us, but now, instead, I make it a point to provide more meaningful interactions while we ARE together. I’m still working on this one, as it’s tough to put the phone away and be fully present, but hey - acknowledging weaknesses is the first sign of progress, right?
Today, #momguilt, you can suck it. Tomorrow, I might entertain you, but just for a few minutes until I eat a bite of a muffin or anything within a 5 ft radius. After all, it takes a village…
P.S. Dad guilt is real, too (let’s not forget the stay-at-home dads and working dads who feel guilty for not spending enough time with their kids).