Just how difficult is it to be a mom and have a full time job at the same time? Ask any working mom and she will say it isn’t easy. Balancing the two roles takes great talent, not to mention effort, to be able to switch between hats. Women are famous for their ability to multi task, and multiply this several times for women applying this skill to both a job and motherhood.
Being a stay at home mom has its perks – you don’t have to get dressed up, you can work out on your own schedule, and you don’t have to have the children’s lunch ready at 7 a.m. However, the most amazing and obvious benefit of being a stay at home mom is the opportunity to intimately know your children and to share all of the milestones of their young lives. No one can truly understand and love a child like their parent. Choosing to stay at home had its financial and career limiting consequences, but it’s a choice that I will never regret.
Being a stay at home mom however does not mean that you must put your brain or skills on hold. Especially in today’s modern world where there are countless ways for you to expand your horizons.
I was late in the game with technology. While my friends and family were readily downloading apps and taking adorable vintage photos with Instagram, it took me years to embrace the smartphone. I also was slow to get excited by the DVR I nowadays swear by. I am now leaning on technology more and more because as a working mom of 2 toddlers I will take all the help I can get. Here are a few reasons why I encourage all of my mom clients to jump on the tech train and never look back.
Motherhood was something I yearned for and very much wanted. I read books on parenting and felt very prepared and a bit overconfident for my new role – until I officially became a mother. Suddenly, I was questioning myself on everything: cloth or disposable, cry it out or co-sleep, organic baby blender homemade creations or the jarred store bought variety, helicopter parent or tiger mom, and the list goes on and on. Not only was I indecisive but I was so consumed with love for this little person that I thought in order to be the best mother possible I should give up everything that defined me pre-baby and focus on this new all important role of raising a human being.
Perhaps it’s a cliché because it’s true when we admonish people to “take time to smell the roses.” Why must we feel the need to be doing-something-every-minute? After a busy, hectic and structured work week filled with meetings, appointments, phone calls and tasks, isn’t it just enough to stop, relax and not feel the need to DO?
In our quest to appear busy and engaged and active and plugged-in we seem to have collectively embraced the viewpoint that just being in one place (i.e. HOME) for a span of time longer than it takes us to sleep and bathe is now seen as some sign of societal disengagement.
Defining balance can be tricky.
In my opinion finding balance between one’s work and the remainder of their life is very personal unique to every individual. What balance means for me, can be entirely different than what it means to others. Balance isn’t a constant state. Sometimes, work has to take a priority and sometimes family life does. The key is to not let one always take precedence over the other, but to ebb and flow with the situation at the time.
Nonetheless, along my career and life journey I have found a few things that work for me in terms of balance that I think are worth sharing with others who may be struggling with the issue.
“How can I find time to attend this networking event when I am already spread too thin between work, my 2 year old, and my graduate studies?” asked one thirty-something overwhelmed professional/student in my office a few months ago. Great question. And one I didn’t have the perfect, fix- it solution for. If I did, I would perhaps be better at my daily juggling act as well.
In life, there are certain stereotypes that just don’t end. One is that a woman’s place is in the home. And for working women like me, there is still the expectation in many homes that we are somehow primarily responsible for the cleaning, cooking, taking care of any home needs, etc. I’ve gone through the feminist feelings that men are ultimately as responsible for household duties as women are, but it doesn’t get through to most women because we are actually raised to believe this is our contribution. I take pride in having a clean home, one in which my family enjoys living and loving.
What methods do you use to help manage your household? As a working woman, do you feel obligated to take on the lion’s share of the household responsibilities?
Weekends rock in our household. We sleep in and whoever sleeps the latest is the winner – we’re trying to convince my daughter that sleeping late is a good thing. There’s time for pancakes for breakfast and cozying up in a sleeping bag with a movie in the middle of the day. Regular rules fly out the window and everything seems to slow down. And then Monday comes.