To my fellow working moms, I salute you. Whether you have one, two or even a half dozen children, you are making it happen. Be it for passion, for purpose, for money, for sanity, or a combination of all four, you take on a lifestyle that may sometimes compromise the expectations of your dependents and significant other. And if you’re like me – an eternal goal-driven optimist who always thinks there’s going to be more time in the day – you set yourself up for disappointment when the final few things on the to-do list aren’t checked off. Hear me, when I say this – instead of feeling bad about what didn’t get accomplished, give yourself a BIG deserving high five for being the awesomely multi-faceted woman that you are. High five, working moms. You’re all rockstars, even when you forget your kid’s lunchbox at home.
We all have our moments. And we put a lot on ourselves to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect sister, friend, boss, employee… the list goes on. I think you might agree with me when I say that there’s no one on this earth who expects more from us than we do of ourselves. And when we screw up, there’s no one else who feels worse than we do. To keep things real, I’ll share a story that I’m not super proud of – but can’t necessarily promise won’t happen again. As a mom who works, shit hits the fan sometimes, and I can either choose to cry about it or laugh about it. So, today let’s all have a little laugh at my expense. I earned it.
It was just a typical weekday on the home front. My husband was off to the gym at the crack of dawn, followed by ten-plus mouthfuls of teeth (or lack thereof) to attend to. The older kids were at school, and Baby Brody and I at home. As much as I’d like to pretend this was our mommy and me quality time, I actually work for a living. And today, work meant writing. Have you ever tried to write sitting next to a really cute, yet bossy three-year-old? Well, it’s simply not possible. And just as I was about to give up, the unthinkable happened. He fell asleep watching his favorite Disney film. A nap! How about that?! This was my window. And, so it began. I did a little happy dance right off the couch to my makeshift desk at the kitchen counter to continue writing…. in peace.
Completely in the zone (mamas, you know what I’m talking about), and loving every minute of that feeling, I was flying through this project. Words started flowing beautifully. I was at the top of my writing game. And then, I got the text. It was a photo of my daughter receiving her student of the month award at school…. from another parent in attendance. At the very moment my heart dropped to my stomach, I realized that something else had dropped, too. I had dropped the ball. The one that’s labeled “mom of amazing and sweet, award-winning daughter”. While flying high on creative cloud nine, I had forgotten all about Dylan’s award ceremony at school. While I was at the top of my writing game, I was most certainly not at the top of my parenting game.
Why is it, that just when you think you have a break, you realize there’s something else that you were supposed to be doing? Just looking back at the scenario, I immediately feel bad. Why? Let me count the ways…
1. Bobby works out every morning; I’m lucky to squeeze in half a pushup in any given week.
2. I should be playing with my son instead of letting him watch TV
3. My son watches too much TV
4. I was thrilled when I realized my son fell asleep. That’s selfish, right?
5. My daughter won an award, and I wasn’t there for her celebration.
6. Someone else sent me a picture of it. I’m a photographer. That’s even worse!
7. I am sorry/not sorry because I have an amazing article to publish now.
8. What mom does that?
9. I’m too tired to think about it anymore.
10. I gave my daughter ice cream and cake on a school night to make up for it.
The #momguilt is real, my friends. And sometimes it can get the best of us…. only if we let it. That pesky feeling of parenting inadequacy stems from one place and one place alone. It’s the expectation that we set for ourselves. So, if I can make a suggestion: Set the bar as high as you’d like, but know that you’ve got an army of fellow moms to lean on if you happen to be less than perfect on occasion.
In the grand scheme of things, when my kids grow up, as long as they look back and know I was there for them 99.9% of the time, I’ll be okay with that. Being imperfectly perfect is the new bar I’m setting for myself. And instead of feeling bad about things, I’ll look to my fellow moms, friends and family to laugh together, wine together and celebrate our wins together. At the end of the day, my kids know their mom works hard, and they also know that I’m their biggest fan. That’s all I can ask for. And for my fellow parents of four or more – let’s face it. We might drop four times as many balls as the rest of them…. But we’ll also get four times the love, and four times as many chances to make up for it! Here’s to you, working Mamas, for recognizing all that you have to offer – perfect or not – you’re #winning at this game we call life.