There is an old country song by Sawyer Brown that goes on about “wanting and having it all” I can’t say that I remember the lyrics now or even the chorus but that one line rings true for most of us working mommies.
I had a long discussion with my younger sister recently, who is a new working mother and is dealing for the first time with the guilt and personal struggles all working mothers address at one time or another…..how do I support my family and still feel like the wife and mother I long to be??? It is all about wanting and having it all my dears and largely only about perception.
While many of us enjoy our careers, there are those thoughts that linger in our minds each day while we are away from home and our rug-rats. Will I be finished with this meeting in time to pick up lil man before the school bus arrives at the daycare; did I remember to lay out something for dinner so we won’t be struggling to find food for five starving mouths at 6pm; are Elle’s basketball socks clean; oh wait, did I leave the iron on or forget to separate the dogs in the house so that they will have the opportunity to work together to completely tear up the living room before I get home??? And then there is the the GUILT. You know you know it, every mother does, but even more so for working mothers. My own mother recently confessed to me that she still feels guilt even though my sister and I who are both in our 30s, have professional degrees and families of our own…it is simply the plight of the working mother!
So, how do we cope with these feelings and guilt of being away from home? First, we remember that our kids REALLY like to eat and have roofs over their heads. Then we remind ourselves that inquiring eyes are watching our every move and we want our little darlings to grow up to have successful careers, therefore setting positive examples of work/life balance is beyond essential in how they will navigate their own lives and parent our grandchildren. We are not afraid to share with them that Momma does wish that she didn’t have to miss “Muffins with Mom” at 8am on a Tuesday morning at school but explain that its very important that Momma be in court with her client, not only because the Judge requires it but because another person is counting on Momma to help them when they are in a tough spot. Also, use the time you have wisely. Clean houses are over-rated!!! Yes, I said it! Believe it! When I get myself in a tizzy of how utterly nasty my house is at any given time, my mom is so kind to remind me that this is only a phase in our lives and before we know it there will not be toys to cover the living room and kitchen floors and the constant search for matching neon green socks will be over and I will long for this kind of nastiness! So, for this Thursday night, we will make homemade slime in the kitchen and have monster truck races in the living room floor!
It is truly about “wanting and having it all” and my hard-working friends that is exactly what we have…it all! We have careers we have worked diligently to build and maintain; we have families we adore and the means to sustain them; and finally, when we step back and recognize that it is not the end of the world if we miss a PTA meeting now and then, and that its more important to giggle and snuggle before bed time even though the laundry is wrinkling in the dryer, then we can clearly see that we do have IT ALL!!