Perfect imperfections: Work and motherhood
Yesterday was a long day. Up at 5:30am, getting the kids and myself ready, and out the door just after 7am. I helped my husband throw the kids in the car so he can get them to daycare, got to work before 8am, taught children that were not my own all day, didn’t stop, went to meetings, left work and picked my babies up. Phhhewww! Then home, finally, at 6pm.
After rushing madly to get our over-tired children fed, bathed and to bed I sat exhausted on the couch and started thinking about the process to get ready for tomorrow. Unpack bags, pack them again, get lunch ready, and mark essays – the list goes on. In the process of getting so caught up in our busy family routine, I was feeling a little (alright I won’t lie, a lot) sorry for myself. I was tired, I was sad and I was wishing that everything could slow down. Just for a bit.
However most of all, I was hoping and praying that my babies knew how much I loved them and why our days pan out the way that they do.
The last few months have been tough for me after returning to work after maternity leave. And the only reason I want to write about it, is because I know that I am not alone.
I’m not the only working mother that feels guilty every time I drop my kids at daycare and questions ‘what’s the point?’ I’m not the only one who wants to be able to continue my career, yet at the same time be at home with my children. I’m not the only one who wishes that some days it was all… just a little bit easier. And I know that I’m certainly not alone in admitting that as a woman you simply can’t have the best of both worlds – work and motherhood.
Now, there are plenty of people out there that will most likely criticize that last sentence – but for me, it’s the truth. For the past few years I have felt guilty for feeling resentment towards my husband – because he gets to keep his career and as much as I like to think I get to keep mine (or at least what it used to be) – I don’t.
Don’t get me wrong, my profession as a teacher has given me some fantastic opportunities and there has never been any hesitation in returning to work, for which I am truly grateful. But, when I compare my work life and commitment to it, to life prior to children, it is inevitably much different. And rightfully so. I would be crazy to think that it could stay the same.
So why do I find it so difficult to realize that? Some days I find it so tough to leave my children to go to my job, driving away with tears in my eyes is a regular occurrence. And yet other days I find it tough to think about giving up my career. This game of constant back and forth guilt is enough to drive anyone a little crazy.
So how can we, as women, ever find that balance?
Although I fight this battle with myself on a daily basis, constantly striving for perfection in both my worlds (and let’s face it, being a perfectionist is half my problem), deep down I know that I will never truly find the balance that I am after.
I am not the only one that places high expectations on myself. For some reason, as women, it is something that we can all do so easily. The sooner I (and we) admit to myself that it is not possible, the better life will be. From here, it’s about finding peace with hectic days and being grateful for what I have.
And although I’m not coping some days, what I am coming to realize is – that’s ok. It has to be. Because on so many levels we all aren’t coping. We just have to make sure that we don’t beat ourselves up about it and remember that we are simply doing our best. As mothers we are all facing a battle in some form, we are all crappy wives some days, we are all imperfect mothers on others, we are all friends that don’t message back, we are all terrible cooks sometimes, we all neglect something, some of us are fighting a work/life balance and others are fighting a battle at home. We are all guilty of wanting it all.
But let’s not forget, we are all in this together. For me, it’s time to start focusing on the hectic, the messy and the perfect imbalance that my life is. And although I know I will keep playing the back and forth, at least for today, I’m starting to admit that I can’t have it all to the standard that I place upon myself.
So to those out there that are struggling today – you are doing a great job and you are, amongst the chaos, completely perfect at being imperfect. And that in itself should be celebrated.
Am I right?
If you’re interested, read more of Sarah’s posts here