As a working mom, I live for my weekends. Weekends are when I get to maximize my time with my family. They are not quite as relaxing as they were pre-parenthood (the days of sleeping in are far behind me), but I cherish the time we get to spend together.
Before I became a mom, I was anxious about how I might handle “the juggle” between my career and my family. I always knew I was more likely to be a working mom than a stay-at-home mom for a variety of reasons. While I was open to the possibility I might want to stay at home after Aliya was born, I always envisioned myself working and having a family. My mom was a prime example for me. For over 25 years she worked over 40 hours a week, sometimes working two jobs when we were younger. And somehow she managed to cart me from one lesson to another, driving from work to school to home to my rehearsals, all without a single complaint.
Then there were my friends who are working moms. I remember having lunch with an old colleague of mine who shared that as a working mom, she never felt like she was giving 100% to any one thing. When she was working, she missed her child; when she needed to miss work to be with her child, she felt guilty. I suppose every one of us experiences “mama guilt” from time to time, and it looks differently for each of us.
Towards the end of my maternity leave, I sometimes questioned my decision to return to work – not because I did not want to work, but because I wondered if returning to work meant that I did not love my baby enough to stay home. The doubts were self-imposed, and I am fortunate to have a husband, family, and friends who would have supported whatever decision I made.
It has now been over a year since I went back to work full-time after having my baby.
Some days I find little hidden reminders from my girl while I am at work:
And some days Aliya will use my work items for her personal use:
As a mom, I am learning there will be good days and there will be bad days. On a typical day I go to work, I rush home and it is a mad dash to get dinner ready, feed Aliya, play, give her a bath, and begin her bedtime routine. Once she is down for the night, there is always cleaning to do (toys, dishes, floors, etc.), and then sometimes I am back to work, checking and answering emails. If I am feeling extra productive I will shower, and then sleep around midnight, only to do it all over again the next day. A fellow working mama friend calls this “the blur.” And lately my life has felt blurry.
Perfectionist tendencies (oh who am I kidding – PERFECTIONISM) have/has not served me well in the course of my life. That “mama guilt” I mentioned before? Mama guilt is not my friend, and yet it is a close companion, often in my head telling me I should be doing more. I should be an excellent wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and employee all the time. And I should always know what I am doing and never make mistakes.
Now that you all know this about me, I will share that becoming a mother has been, and continues to be, one of the most humbling experiences in my life.
And in this blurry season, I have decided to follow the mantra of one of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist, which is to be “present over perfect.”
After all, the sooner my daughter realizes I am not perfect, the better off she’ll be.