Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dear Working Mom: You Are Enough



Something I really struggle with as a working mom is being enough and doing enough. And let's just add in there "letting things go," for good measure. 

I've covered this before and also in my Working Mom Series, but being a mom - either a working one or a stay-at-home one is hard. These tiny humans who call you "mom" are dependent on you for absolutely anything and everything. When they're babies, it's wiping their bottoms, feeding them and doing a myriad of other tasks for them. When they're older, it's being a shoulder to cry on when a boy breaks up with them, or when they need help picking out a dress for prom. 

Something my grandmother said to me once was, "Once you're a parent, you are always a parent until the day you die. I will always worry about your dad and want to make sure he is okay. It doesn't matter that he is married and has children of his own; he is my son and will always be." When she told me that, I was a teenager and it kind of confused me. I remember thinking, "Geeze, let him go." But now I get it. I carried Walker, I birthed him, I have been up at 2 a.m. rocking him when the whole world is asleep, I have cared for his every single need - figuratively and literally - and he will always be my son, my baby. The boy who made me a mama. 

But where I struggle the most as a working mom is being enough, doing enough. 

We started Walker on rice cereal recently, and I loved that I was the one to give it to him at night when I got home. It was a sweet time between us. But then his day care told me he was acting hungry at "school," so I had to just give it up and allow them to be the ones to give it to him. 

And I will admit that I thought, "Well, my kid's in day care, he's about to start taking formula because I'm so stressed at work that I'm not making enough breast milk, I'm giving him rice cereal out of a box, he's not swaddled anymore, I've got him in disposable diapers, he takes a pacifier…and with all of that, I'm not even the one who gets to give him his dang rice cereal." I am now everything I never thought I would be. But here we are. 

I am struggling with that. I'm struggling with balancing a work life and a home life and being enough and doing enough. It breaks my heart that I don't get to see my son 24/7 and that he's in day care 8-9 hours a day. And I'll freely {embarrassingly, ashamedly} admit to you that when I see these moms post photos of their kid happily napping in their crib at 2 p.m. with the caption, "So glad ________ is asleep so I can catch up on laundry!" I just want to punch them in the face. It's not their fault. But I still do. 

I'm glad for them. But I struggle with it. I'm jealous. I struggle with getting home at 5 p.m., starting laundry {that usually doesn't get folded until two days later}, trying to get dinner on the table, bottles made for the next day, and still spend time with my husband and baby. I struggle with the fact that after my child is in bed, I still have to catch up on work, fold said laundry {if I get to it}, clean up the kitchen, go wash my face and then notice that my toilets haven't be cleaned in who knows how long so I rush to do that, and then collapse in bed at 10 p.m. I struggle with trying to be a Mary instead of a Martha. I will admit to you that I have cried wondering how in the world I'm going to do it all. 

But what I try to remember is that I can't do it all, and Walker isn't going to notice if the toilets are clean. Or if I have fresh sheets on my bed. Or if the wood floor has been cleaned with hardwood floor cleaner. Or if I've dusted my living room. He's going to remember the time spent with his Mommy. 

Growing up, my view - from a little girl's eyes - is that dinner was on the table between 6-6:30 p.m. While our house might not have been clean, per se, it was always picked up. And my mom always had it together: lunches packed, everyone off to school, forms signed, etc. 

But from an adult's eyes, I see it all differently. Yes, dinner was on the table, but it wasn't always gourmet; it might have been chicken strips, Velveeta Shells and Cheese and some canned peaches. But to me, I look back and remember that dinner was on the table. I don't remember the details. I didn't see, in my little girl eyes, the mounds of laundry my mom did and how overwhelmed she must have felt with the 10+ loads every Monday. I didn't see that, in my little girl's eyes, my mom put us to bed and then signed all the forms, packed all the lunches and did all of her other things. I just saw my mom do it, and that's what I remember from my childhood. 

I know I've said it before, but all moms are enough and do enough. But to you working moms, those who don't get to spend but about three or four hours a day with your baby, you are enough. You're a good mom, and you do enough. 

I say this more than anything to remind myself. To remind myself in the middle of a fight with my husband because there is bacon grease on the floor after he made "brinner" {yes, we fought about that}; to remind myself when I'm so tired I feel drunk; to remind myself when I break down to the daycare teacher when she asks me if I'm okay; and to remind myself when I contemplate joining the circus…I remind myself that I'm good enough, and that I'm a good mom. 

I'm working to provide the best life I can for my child. And while he may not get quantity time with me, he gets quality time, and that's what I'll hope he remembers. I hope he'll remember the times he laid on the floor and I made silly faces at him and he fell into giggle fits; I hope he'll remember the conversations we have around the dinner table; I hope he'll remember the fun Saturdays we have as a family; and I hope he'll remember how much his Mommy loves him. 

Dear Working Moms: You are enough. 

3 comments:

  1. Hey Brit, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this post. Even though I don't have a baby yet to make these decisions for, it is something I think about and go back and forth in my head as "pros v cons." We share a lot of the same thoughts and actions, so know there are others out there that share your pain/happiness/thought process/etc. Thank you for opening up and sharing!

    I wanted to tell you a sweet story that I hope will keep your spirits high. I went to daycare as a baby, child, etc. and it was the same situation as you; my mom worked 2 minutes from the facility and had a great peace of mind with the "teachers" and staff but struggled with the same things you are going through. When I was a "busy bee" (6mth - 1 year) one of my teachers was a lady named Cindy. She and my mom were not far in age and ended up becoming good friends. A year after I was in her "room" Cindy had a little girl named Danielle. 23 years later, Danielle was in my wedding, and 25 years later she was one of the first 5 (including family, oops!) people that Jase and I told we were pregnant. We have always been and will continue to be best friends! We do not get to see each other nearly as often as we would like, but like my mom and Cindy, we pick up right where we left off every time! It's rare to have those types of friendships in 2 generations and it's so special to know it all started from a hard decision but God has continued to bless us tenfold in this friendship throughout life!

    Know you have made the best decision for you and your family. Know that so many blessings will come from your decision because you have prayed for Walker, prayed over this decision, prayed for God to lead you and Brandon to be the best y'all can be, and God will always bless you because you keep faith! You do a wonderful job and you are enough!

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  2. I found your blog from the Five for Friday link up. Walker is precious. Thank you so much for this post. My son is almost 4 and I still struggle with being a working mom. Like you, I get so jealous of the post at the park in the middle of the day or mid week play dates that some of my SAHM friends post. Even though I work, Parker knows that he is my number one priority and that I love him more than anything. I'm enough and so are you! Thank you again!!!

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  3. I just found your blog on Thoughts for Thursday link up! Your story is so much like ours, I'm also working in marketing/PR and working full time while balancing mommy hood with a one year old baby boy. Your post is really heartfelt and resonates so much with me. Stay in touch! - Julie @ Everyday Happiness Blog

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