How I Create Balance in my Life as a Full Time Working Mom
Let’s face it, as moms we love our babies but we also have our own lives and want to live somewhat independently at times. We are living in an interesting time period in which women are “allowed” to be stay at home moms, working moms, whether that be in a conventional work setting or entrepreneurial, and continue to thrive in their own personal lives. What isn’t really talked about on the surface though is women are subconsciously “shamed” for each of these options as well. Stay at home moms are often categorized as being lazy and not working hard enough (or staying at home with her children isn’t a full time role by itself). Working mothers are often branded as being selfish and not spending enough time and energy with their kids. Unfortunately both of these leave many moms feeling like they aren’t doing enough either for themselves or their families leading to unnecessary life stress.
While I was on maternity leave of absence from my job this past summer, I honestly thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom. After being with my newborn son almost 24/7, in my mind , I made it difficult to fathom the idea of returning to work and putting him in daycare for 11 hours a day. The thought simply terrified me if I’m being completely honest. However, I was also bored most days while I wasn’t working. While I was able to fill in dates to the zoo with my sister and her kids, go for long walks, coffee, read a good book or write a blog post while he naps, the reality was I wasn’t being intellectually stimulated as an adult. And as much as I love my son, I also craved adult time and my independence. The reality was, it wasn’t that bad once I actually returned to work. It was a little difficult at first but the transition became much easier with time.
I discovered what I really needed was balance. I needed ample time away to recharge my life as a working adult woman and plenty of time to unwind with my son at the end of the day. It also helps knowing my son is being taken care of in daycare and I get regular updates on the daycare’s mobile app.
One of the things I do to create and maintain balance in my life is keeping our nightly routine fairly consistent. For example, my husband mostly drops off and picks our son up from daycare on a regular basis. At night, I usually nurse him right when I get home from work, my husband plays with him while I wash and sanitize his bottles and prepare them for the next day, one of us makes dinner and we put him in his high chair at the table, then I do a bath time ritual with him, baby massage, get him in his pajamas, we read a short book and off to bed he goes. The rituals we have in our routine helps me remember as a working mom the quality time I’m spending with my son is everything. It isn’t always the quantity that matters, its the quality. Once we put him to bed, we then have 1-2 hours to ourselves as adults to take care of whatever we need to do. At that time I typically take a bath and listen to a podcast, talk with my husband, play with our dog, stretch, or enjoy a delicious late dinner. It can get pretty hectic and busy at times but having the routine is totally worth it and I feel way more fulfilled and happy as a working mom.
I’m sure there will be a time in my life where my feelings change and nothing is ever perfect but the moment I surrendered control and remembered I am doing my best, that changed EVERYTHING. My son needs the best version of his mama and that is what I choose to be everyday. True balance is created through the choices we make everyday.
What is your own definition of balance as a working mother? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!