So I’ve read a few of these types of articles over the past few years, and yes they all resonate in one way or another. And although each of our journeys is different, we are all ultimately trying to do the same thing. Be the perfect wife, mommy and business owner/employee. Right, no small task then!
Each of us has hurdles, some are financial worries, some are health battles, some are emotional struggles; some are all of the above! Some are plain and simply just not enough hours in the day!
This is a bit about my journey.
It’s a rather long post, but please bear with me.
I am a working mommy.
I used to be employed, then I had a baby girl and my world shifted. All of my priorities started to change. Well, I thought they had. What had actually happened; was I was trying to fit as much as I did for work in each day before baby, into the present, whilst raising a happy healthy, well-adjusted baby at the same time. I managed for a while. I did my work. I spent time with my little girl. I barely slept, I ate badly. Exercise, what even is that? I wasn’t happy. So what did I do next, decided to have another baby of course. Because life can always be more challenging! Seriously, we were getting on in years, I had health concerns in that department, and we felt it would be easier if we had our little bundles of joy close together in age. It would mean nappies and wet wipes and dummies all in and out of our lives quickly, at the same time, right. Right? Nope.
Almost four years later, we are still in that phase of nappies, wet wipes and dummies – well the older one we weaned off dummies last month. A big achievement! I think we actually prolonged everything and made things doubly difficult. Not that I would change my kids for the world, but having kids is NOT easy and no one can ever truly warn you what it will be like until you’ve had your own.
What I did after baby number two though was quit my job.
I just couldn’t anymore. There were so many reasons, but the ones I will share here are mostly the mommy guilt ones.
I was sitting in my car in traffic to and from work for about 2 – 2,5 hours each day. I was waking up in the mornings before anyone else to race around, get ready, jump in my car, fly out of my driveway and down the road, and then just sit. I would get to work, race around trying to get everything done in shorter work hours, so that I could race home in more traffic to let my nanny out and spend a little awake time with my kids. By now the older one was in daycare, so I would first have to fetch her and then go home. When I got home I would check my emails, whilst my kids cried for my attention, then I would kind of play with them, whilst still checking emails, starting their supper, getting changed, getting them ready for bathing, eating, etc etc.
Fellow mommies, we know this, the night time routine can take anywhere between two and six hours. Depending on how early we fetch our kids from day care and what time we manage to get them to bed after the negotiated second nappy check, third book and fourth milkies call. (You cannot simply just plan your work around your night time routine ending at x time. And, every time your routine is set with them, something happens, like a new tooth or a blocked nose, and then no one sleeps again properly for days or even weeks.)
I would then scrape myself up off of one of their beds, usually after falling asleep myself. To go and get ready for bed myself. I am very fortunate in that my husband does all the cooking for the two of us in our house, so he would also by now be starting our dinner, after helping put the little ones down. We would get changed, eat supper and then invariably go to our separate desks and work some more. This meant going to bed late most nights, and every night being woken up by the little ones multiple times. Mornings would start early again and with the same type of day to follow.
You start to feel like you are a walking, talking zombie. And, all the while feeling like you are just not coping with anything as you should be.
Mommy guilt, what a fun feeling…
So I quit my job and decided to start my own business from home. My kids needed me and I simply was not there for them. Read more about being an entrepreneur here.
Right, so fast forward about 14 months. Business is off the ground, I have an awesome and varied list of clients. Regularly networking. Working flexibly. Doing everything for my business, myself… My time is now my own, right. Right? Nope.
Now I am splitting myself between my business and my kids and the running of my house. Again, we all have different hurdles here. I am fortunate in that I have a nanny who still comes in a few days a week to help with the cleaning and washing. My kids are now both in daycare and I work from home. I do more chores now that I work from home and more grocery shopping. I drop my kids off early in the mornings for their breakfast at school and fetch them late in the afternoons. Much later than I would like. Is the guilt gone, no. Why? Because I am still a working mommy. No matter what I do, I am trying to split myself evenly between family, business, and running of the home. No matter what I do, I feel I am failing. As soon as I put extra effort into one aspect of my life, I can visibly see the other aspects coming apart.
There is no balance.
A marriage needs quality time.
Kids need quality time.
A new business needs so so much time.
If I have realised anything over the past year, it’s that this is all one life, this is all my life, and trying to put things in boxes is not fair to any one part of my life. Plus, have you ever tried to put a three-year-old in a box, they will not stay there!
Sometimes whilst I am working I have a sick toddler on my lap, then I have to stop working and go lie with and soothe my toddler. I am grateful I can, because I now work from home.
Sometimes on a weekend and my little ones are sleeping and I am desperate for a nap, I will have to go and catch-up on some of my own admin for the week. I am grateful that I have a home, a business and clients.
Earlier this week I had to stop working and clean up vomit that had been walked all the way from the one side of the house to the other. I am grateful I have healthy kids who only really get sick at this time of the year with colds and flu and not serious illnesses.
Last month I had to close my laptop for the day and lie in bed shivering with fevers and try to get some desperately needed sleep. I am grateful I have a hubby who steps in when I can’t.
Some nights I work till 2am, others I go to bed early and enjoy a book or a movie with hubby – most movies we watch in three or four parts these days anyway, as one of us is always asleep shortly after pressing play.
It’s about give and take.
This is life now, we adapt, we grow, we learn from our mistakes. We try not to give into the mommy guilt at every single turn or fork in the road! It’s about setting boundaries and knowing when to take them down. It’s about being flexible and knowing you can only do so much in 24 hours. It’s about doing what is really important and putting the rest on a pending list. It’s about being grateful that I no longer waste time sitting in traffic. It’s about being my own boss. Hey, wait a minute, I need to keep reminding myself of that!
I on no account have it worse than any other mommy. But if you are having a particularly bad day today. Think of this. We had to leave the home we had lived in for almost five years rather suddenly, moved in with my parents for about a year, got pregnant, bought a house, moved in as I was about to pop, had baby number one, 17 months later had baby number two, a few months later I resigned to start my own business, a few months after that hubby did the same thing.
People say we are crazy. I say we are going after what we want.
Life is not easy, it is challenging. But, one day we will look back and yearn for this time when we were learning so much and our little ones were still so little.
Next time you feel you just can’t anymore, take a step back.
Then go run around in the garden with your kids.
You need the fresh air to clear your head
before you carry on again.
And, if you can’t even bring yourself to do that, then get help. Any help, a nanny, a cleaner, a babysitter for a few hours now and then. A friend to come over and play with the little ones, or just sit and drink wine with. The grandparents to take the kids out for the afternoon or for a sleepover if they are old enough. Find your you again. If you don’t find your you, how will you be the best parent you can be for your little ones? How will your business thrive? They need the best you, not the anxiety riddled, sleep deprived, crazy person you may have become.
Good luck working mommies, we are all in this together!
We are doing GREAT!
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