People talk about it all the time. Work- Life balance. I think someone, somewhere decided to put this idea out there that there must be the perfect formula to achieve this. But I am here to say, this doesn’t exist and here’s why.
Long before Henry was even a thought, I remember thinking to myself, “there is no way I can keep working when I have kids!” Fast forward, and I quickly realized this just wasn’t an option for our family. And because of that, I was bound and determined to find the perfect work-life balance.
Going back to work was quite possibly, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I remember the first day of work after maternity leave, my body was physically in pain. I hard the hardest day. I remember trying to keep it all together in front of my manager but then sneaking to the restroom to cry. I had a lump in my throat, thinking about how can I even be here when I have this beautiful baby at home. I felt selfish. I felt guilty. I felt sad.
Now, this isn’t to say that all Moms need to think or feel this way. I know many of working moms that choose to work. And there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with wanting to have a career and be a mom too. This is just my personal experience. For me, I wanted to be home.
Navigating the next few weeks didn’t get any easier. I felt very distant from my work. My mind was constantly on my little one, and I couldn’t focus. I felt angry and resentful that this was our situation. I was saying no to dinner with friends and date nights because that would mean even more time away from Henry. It wasn’t until a few months after I went back to work, that this feeling began to disappear. I started to feel needed at work, and I slowly accepted that I would be a working mom.
As Henry was growing, and his personality really began to develop, I started to feel like I was missing out. I felt like weeks were flying by, and I was missing watching him grow. I was having breakdowns and A LOT of mom guilt. My life felt like it was one hot mess! I needed to figure out how to appreciate the time we do have together and quit worrying about all the things that I was “missing.” It was then I realized, that when Henry was at daycare, he was learning and developing from the other kids. He was surrounded by other children that were older, and he was learning from them. And that was a good thing.
Slowly but surely, I began to find some “balance” in my life. I started saying “yes!” To things like dinner with my girlfriends, or a date night with my hubby. I began to give myself grace, and work through all the mom guilt that comes with being a working mom and not losing myself in the process. I recognized that self-care for myself and quality time with Henry was just as important. And if self-care included, even more, time away from Henry, that was OK!
So all this was great, but really, was my life balanced?! HELL, No! And that’s when I decided this whole idea of “balance” needs to be debunked. We need to quit comparing our lives and situations to everyone else’s. And I needed to start seeing that balance for one person to another, look completely different. The “balance” I was looking for in my life, well it didn’t even exist.
I had put this idea of being a stay at home mom in my head that probably doesn’t exist either. I have many friends that work full time and many that stay at home, and at the end of the day, we all struggle with “balance.” So why not retire this term, and move on with our lives. Let’s quit putting this idea of balance in our heads, and just support each other in all of our unbalanced glory!