Finding Balance as a Mom
Today I wanted to get a little more personal, and talk about an issue that I know so many of us struggle with – balance. Whether you’re a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, a work-at-home mom, or some combination of the above, finding the right balance as a mom can be a challenge.
The balance in my little family is shifting right now. For the three months that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve been on maternity leave. Now I’m gearing up to head back to work.
I’m not going to lie to you, this is hitting me HARD. I know millions of people do this every day, and I know I was so extremely fortunate to have a year at home with my kids, but right now I’m struggling with it.
I’ve gone back to work between each of my children. With some juggling and schedule-shifting, and a lot of crossing our fingers during cold and flu season, we’ve made it work. But this time? With three kids? Between sick days, the kids’ activities, and trying to balance two very busy careers and still make time for our family, I’m not sure how we’re going to swing it.
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I love being a lawyer. I enjoy the intellectual challenge, and (for me) it’s important for me to have an identity outside of “Mom”. I like my career and I worked hard for it. Putting aside the issue of my kids, I’m happy to be going back to work.
But what’s missing when I’m back at work is time. Time to soak up the craziness of my kids in the stages they’re in right now. Time to walk them to school, and enjoy unscheduled stops at our neighbourhood coffee shop and park. Time to move at toddler speed, instead of always rushing them to get where we need to be.
Weekday mornings are a mad rush trying to get everyone out the door on time. Afternoons are no better. The baby is usually ready for bed shortly after 6:00 PM, and as every parent knows, trying to get everyone home and fed, and getting the baby bathed and ready for bed by 6:00 is practically impossible. The weekends fill up quickly with kids’ activities, social events, and all of the errands and chores that we aren’t able to get done during the week. It seems like there is never enough time to slow down, enjoy being “Mom”, and savour the time spent together as a family.
I’m keenly aware of the fact that these years are flying by in the blink of an eye. These are the years that we’re going to remember fondly when our children are grown, and I want to make sure that I have the time to enjoy them.
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On the flip side, I’ve been home long enough to know that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when you’re a stay-at-home parent. While I struggle with not having enough time as “Mom” when I’m working, the opposite can be true when you’re at home. As a stay-at-home mom you’re “Mom” 24/7. Sometimes that can leave you desperate for a break, and anxious to reclaim a piece of your pre-child identity.
As a working Mom there’s a lot more “me” time built into my day. I drive 20 minutes to and from work each day by myself. I have a lunch break, and a quiet office. I can go to the bathroom by myself and drink hot coffee. I get to spend a significant portion of the day being “Laura” instead of “Mom”. Like everything in life, there are pros and cons.
This is the part of the post where I’m supposed to tie everything up with a tidy little bow. I’m supposed to share some “life hacks” that help me find that perfect balance between work and family, between my identity as a Mom and my identity as an individual. But the truth is I don’t have an easy answer to this one. This is something that every mom I know struggles with, and I’m no different.
There is no universal perfect balance that’s right for everyone. The “right” balance is always shifting, and the key is to figure out what works best for you and your family. What works now may not be what worked last year, or what’s going to work a year from now. The nature of life with young kids is that it’s always changing. They are constantly growing and developing, needing you in different ways than they did before.
As I head back to work, I’m hopeful that we will be able to settle into a balance that works for our family. We’ll be making some changes to simplify our lives and to make sure we’re maximizing the time that we do have. I’ll be sharing some of the strategies that we use here on the blog.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject of balance. Have you found a balance that works for you? Has that balance changed over time?
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