I’m sitting here at 7PM covered from head to toe in a unknown mixture of sweet potato, almond butter, and snot. Thankfully, John is putting Grayson to bed, so I find I have about 20 minutes of “quiet time” (as I hear Grayson screaming from downstairs). My emails are out of control, my blog domain needs updated, I forgot to shower today, and I should probably take this time to finish or start a new work project. But instead, I feel a heavy pull on my heart to just write, so that is what I’m going to do.
I’ve had this topic on my mind for months, maybe even a good year now, but I’ve never actually gotten around to writing it out. And then yesterday, I came across a beautifully written post from Sarah on the real-life struggle of a work-from-home-mom and I realized her words were almost identically to what I’ve been wanting to voice for so long now. I realized then that I have so much to say about this particular topic and I just couldn’t get these thoughts out of my head.
So here I am, ready to unveil to you the honest-to-goodness truth that this life really doesn’t “have it all.” I guess I should start this by saying how incredibly blessed I am for every single opportunity and chance I get to do what I love, all the while being able to watch my child grow up before my eyes. But as blessed as I feel, I also feel ripped apart inside most days. I feel like there is this conceived notion that moms who get to contribute financially and do what they love but still stay home with their children is the ideal situation. I definitely thought that! When I first had Grayson, we were still living up in the North Shore of Massachusetts and I was working remotely from my full-time job that I started at when he first relocated there. I only gave myself about a week of maternity leave, because well, I felt guilty for not working when I easily could sit on the couch with my laptop and a nursing baby.
When we moved to Pennsylvania, Grayson was around four months old and I was still working for that company remotely. It was then that I also got involved with my gym and started teaching. After about a month, I was asked to take over the marketing for both of our gym locations and I only took the job if I could make it super flexible. They agreed and I thought it was a match made in heaven.
Come September of last year, my job ended with the company up in Massachusetts but things really started to pick up for me at the gym. I also took on The Group Fitness Director on top of my other roles so I was definitely busy. Grayson got older and we got a schedule nailed down so that he was coming with me and stayed in the gym Kids Club for a few hours in the morning while I taught classes and then we headed home, I worked for a few hours and he played.
And then in January, the same boss from the old Massachusetts company called me to ask if he could hire me for another huge project – to run the marketing and social media for a minor league hockey team he had just purchased. I couldn’t say no, but I also didn’t drop any of my previous responsibilities. So within a few months of all of this, I was the most busy I have ever been career-wise, oh and incase you forgot, I was still a “stay-at-home mom.”
So here I am, wearing all of these hats, raising a toddler and getting ready to bring a newborn into the situation. Seriously, what am I thinking? I ask myself this every day to be honest. So now, my day looks like this…..
Gym in the morning, Grayson plays in the Kids Club, home for nap and lunch, and then I am glued to my phone on calls and/or the computer for the next four hours while Grayson plays by himself or has Paw Patrol babysit him here and there. I do have a sitter who comes once or twice a week, which is a huge help, but we are just not at a place financially where we can afford full-time in-home care.
I feel guilty every single day of my life. I feel guilty that I have a screaming toddler during an important conference call. I feel guilty that I can’t respond to my emails fast enough because, well life. I feel guilty that I can’t always make a meeting because I can’t get a sitter. I feel guilty that I am a crappy mom for completely ignoring my child for an hour or more at a time so I can finish a big work project. I feel guilty that I don’t take him outside to play more. I feel guilty that I can’t schedule more play dates. I feel guilty that he reads to himself and I can’t always be there to sit him on my lap and read to him. So pretty much, I feel guilty all of the time.
I think of my life as this work-from-home mom of one and I think, “wow, this is way harder than I ever imagined.” And then I become terrified at the thought of having to do this with two of them in the equation.
I guess my point of this post is to tell you no matter what situation you are in as a mom, I can only imagine you are doing your very best. Being a working mom has to be so hard. Being a stay-at-home mom is incredible difficult. And being a working and stay-at-home mom is maybe not as ideal as you think it is. But I do think in every single situation, mom guilt is extremely present and no matter how hard you try to be the “do-it-all mom,” you just can’t. What you can be is that messy, exhausted, imperfect, and unapologetic mom who loves her family more than anything and is willing to put aside any personal desires in order to better the ones she loves the most.
That mom is the one my children will remember. That mom is whom I will strive to be.