daughters

On being a (working) M-O-M!

working mom tired pic.jpg

There’s no crying in parenting!

It was nearing midnight as I folded the corners of my clean sheets over my mattress - to merely climb in my bed 5 minutes later - as I reflected on the many dark facets of my Saturday. It started at the breakfast table when my youngest, who is on the older side of being 5, started crying for no apparent reason. Thick tears and pure exasperation came over her as she hunched over her full plate of home-cooked waffles, bacon and fruit. Stubborn as all hell, she also wouldn’t say what was wrong.

All I wanted to do was rectify the situation and make her stop crying. For heaven’s sake, it was only 8:30am on a Saturday morning and my brain couldn’t function with what appeared to me was sheer nonsense. What possibly could have happened when I turned my back to get something in the kitchen?

A few hours later, I ran (literally ran, pushing both of them in our non-jogging stroller, ha!) to the park. We hadn’t done this in quite possibly a year and it was the perfect day. Not a cloud in the sky, the first warm temperatures of the year, and we were ready to get our wiggles out.

Again, I have no clue what set off now my oldest but as she climbed off the stroller her temper flared and she kicked a branch. Sometimes as moms we should really keep our mouths shut, but as I tried to tell her that she should be grateful we were at the park, the branch got stuck to her foot and I laughed.

Perhaps I was shaming her some - call it what you want - but of course that made her more mad. More so that I was laughing, not that the branch was now attacking her shoe. Karma lady!

This quickly escalated. Once she got the branch free, she threw it at me, resulting in a time out. Not that anyone rejoices in a time out (except for me perhaps, when I lock myself in my room to take a parenting breather), but this contributed to her anger going up another 5 notches. I get it, you’re at the one place where you want to be to have fun and you’re not allowed to have fun. This also included myself.

I’m a firm believer in teaching my kids that there are consequences to their behavior. You don’t get to be mean, rude, or hurtful and not get away with it. Not all of life plays to those rules, but I think there is value in teaching little people that our actions *most of the time* will have repercussions – whether good or bad – and that the good ones make the world a nicer place. 

Let’s be honest here, you can’t be an asshole and expect your life to smell like roses.

As you can imagine, this didn’t go well. She got louder, disrupting everyone on the playground and I got more annoyed as I just wanted to have some fun in the sun – and selfishly get a workout in as they played. I suggested doing what she needed to do - a reset of her liking, breathing techniques, a good ol’ conversation, but nothing worked. Never mind that every time I stepped away to make sure I could see her sister or to possibly diffuse the situation, she screamed “MOM” incessantly.

Since she wasn’t calming down, I decided to remove all of us from the situation. With the library nearby, I thought that perhaps changing her environment, where she had to be quiet, would be helpful.

Needless to say, it was another fail and we basically got kicked out for being loud.

Completely frustrated, I simply ran us home. Thankfully I had headphones with me so that I could drown out her complaining the entire 1.5 miles back. Do note that this was the FIRST time I’ve ever run with headphones with my kids in tow. I like to talk with them on our runs, but this time it was necessary!

Long story short, motherhood – parenting in general – can suck. Especially when there isn’t another adult to punt to, I easily find myself in a tizzy.

Motherhood.

Work.

Commutes.

Drop-offs and pick-ups.

Side hustles.

Household chores.

Dreams to chase.

Piles of books to read.

Relationships to nurture.

Summer planning (in March!)

Exercise.

Self care.

Fun.

Sleep.

Phew!

Everyone has burdens to carry, that’s life. However, I do feel that mothers carry a disproportionate load.  We don’t need articles like this one, reminding us that here in the U.S. working moms are “drowning” in stress. We already feel it, as we live it every.single.day.

Nor this study about how moms are sleep deprived until their first child is 6-years old! Or another outlining that the average moms work is 98 hours a week - basically 2.5 jobs!

Simply put, give yourself grace and share these studies with your spouse to confirm that you’re not crazy, simply tired!

Yet, what’s the solution?

Sadly, I don’t have one.

I’m the last person to say buck up and deal with it. However, I do want more women to recognize their value, their worth, their voice, and their power.

Too many times I see moms completely fall apart when their husbands are away for any length of time. Their whole world is turned upside down and they go insane. I get it, a two-parent household is so much easier than doing it on your own. I understand the comfort of having an adult to talk through your day with or the arms to nestle into in pure exasperation or to handle the nightly battle of brushing little people’s teeth. A family was designed to have two parents and therefore, yes, it’s amazing when intact.

As a single parent though, I’ve experienced both worlds, and let me remind you, ladies, YOU CAN DO THIS!

  • You can ask for help.

  • You can have a conversation with your spouse about how to help around the house or with the kids, or simply how to love you best.

  • You can speak up at work and see how you can contribute differently (not more) to get the raise or the promotion.

  • You can create boundaries – at home and at work – to help you stay sane and be present. It shouldn’t be an all or nothing mentality, nor should you feel like you’re shackled to your desk missing out on all of the school potlucks or the only parent present to do all of the parenting duties.

I do believe we should expect greatness and look for wonder in all things in our lives, but that doesn’t mean it will be void of hardships or hard conversations or some introspection to help decide what it is we truly want.

In short, you can use your voice, create balance AND you can do all of the hard things! You’re more powerful than you think!

In closing, at the root of my recent internal wrestling, is that I’m understanding more how the political side of the corporate world works. Not that I didn’t have any idea but being closer to the inner circle has given me insight into the policies and procedures. Looking in from the outside, I’m more frustrated than ever, especially being a woman.

I stepped away from the corporate world for four years.

Four years, which now seems like a death sentence.

I shouldn’t have to, but forgive me for stepping away from a J-O-B to raise my daughters. For wanting to spend time with them and be their primary caretaker from day one.

Now I simply feel overlooked, undervalued, and “behind” in my career. And you know what? Sure, I have some lofty aspirations on how I want to help people, but ultimately, the only thing I really, really care about is being present with my girls - being the best mom I can be.

At this point quite frankly, I’m too burned out to be any good..

At the end of the day, I don’t mind putting effort in and working hard, but when you trade dollars for time, miss out on your children’s lives, and feel like you’re barely scraping by because of the economic climate (and living off of one income) in the area, I think something is wrong.

The mere fact that we’re having this conversation today, that women are still fighting their way in the work force for equal pay and acknowledgment is disgustingly wrong.

Honestly, I could rant all day, but I’ll stop! I’m truly curious….

  • How do you steward your money?

  • Do you have the same sentiments?

  • How do you feel about being a working mom?

  • What works for your family?

  • How do you handle the emotions of your children?

  • How do you execute time-outs or how many bottles of wine or CBD oil to you go through?

Curious minds want to know!