As Lucy gets older, one of the challenges I face is the balance of work and motherhood. It is a very delicate and often confusing balance. Lately, I am beginning to realize that it is more complicated than I expected.
Before Lucy was born, we decided that I would continue to work. I have a very flexible job, and I am fortunate that I am able to work from home most of the time. Fortunate because I get to spend all day every day with Lucy.
As you might imagine, this is not easy. When Lucy is awake, she commands all of my attention and energy. On a good day, I can set her up with some toys and manage to get half an hour of work done here and there. But most days, I have to wait until she is napping, or asleep for the night. This would be fine, except that there are other things to be done as well. I find myself asking questions like, "How important is it that I shower today?" "How clean does my house need to be if no one besides me will see it?"
It becomes a game of time management. And even with the fancy, modern-day inventions (like smart phones and dry shampoo), it seems like an impossible juggling act. I don't know how other moms do it.
Childcare, which is a great option for many working moms, isn't practical in my situation. But I definitely see the appeal and even the necessity. I would love to have a Mary Poppins esque figure to clean my house and teach Lucy how to use her imagination.
The struggle for me is feeling as though I am half-way doing many things, when I want to be wholeheartedly doing one thing. I know all moms live in this tension constantly. We feel guilty for not being able to do it all. Why? When did this even start, this idea that we should be able to do it all and still manage to have dinner on the table by 6? It's a myth, and we all know it's a myth. But we still buy into it.
I don't have a solution or anything. I just think we need to give ourselves a break. I am speaking mostly for myself, but I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. The struggle is universal.
(I strategically used the 30 minutes I allotted for dish washing to write this blog post. Oh well.)