Charlotte's 7 1/2 months now, and I've officially been a working mom for almost 5 of them. And guess what? It's just as hard as I thought it would be.
As with anything else (stay-at-home, work-at-home, etc), there are some women (and men) who make it look easy. They breeze through their daycare drop-offs and pick-ups, their morning and evening routines, and they savor their adult time during the daytime hours. They make the most of their weekends with their families and, by God, they really seem to make it work! Good for them.
I know I'm still technically a new mom, but I've really been struggling with the work/life balance of being back at the office. It doesn't help that there's been mounting pressure at work over the last few months. There's just not enough time in the day to get everything done, and there's certainly not enough time to get everything done well. This applies not only to my work life, but my home life and marriage as well. And, seeing as that I'm a perfectionist, it's making me a bit twitchy. I'm also not sleeping well - I have episodes of intense abdominal pain in the middle of the night that keep me awake for hours at a time. I'm going back to the doctor on Thursday morning for an ultrasound to pinpoint if it's my gallbladder or some other issue. Fingers crossed it's nothing serious!
Anyway, it's all coming to a head and I need to figure out how to make the most out of this new working-mom life. To quote a popular uber-dork work of literature, "...I'm beginning to feel it in my heart. I feel...thin. Sort of stretched, like... butter scraped over too much bread."*
I love my little girl so much that it's an actual, physical pain to leave her. She's growing up so quickly (she started crawling last week!), and I'm worried that I'm going to wake up one morning and see that she's 18 years old and off to college, and that I've missed the key years of parenthood by dashing around and fretting about everything that needs to be done.
I haven't meditated in months. I haven't exercised regularly in months. I've already lowered my housekeeping standards since there's hardly enough time to get even the minimum done. I've cut out everything extracurricular that isn't absolutely essential.
So... what's the solution? I'm on vacation this week, but when I return to work next week, I'm going to take a new approach. I'm going to get better at delegating the "busy work" and keeping the big-picture analysis to myself. I'm only going to work from home one night a week. I'm going to give 100%, but no more and no less. My priority will be my husband and child first, job second. When I get home at the end of the day, I need to have tunnel vision and NOT worry about the state of the house. And, after I put Charlotte to bed in the evening, I'm going to make myself meditate for 10 minutes of quiet time before I start evening chores.
Above all, I have to make time to meditate every day. My mental state is clearly frazzled, and that anxiety is going to bleed into my marriage (already has!) and lead me to be a distracted parent.
BREATHE. It's only time - there may never be enough of it, but I refuse to waste what little I have.
*"The Fellowship of the Ring," J.R.R. Tolkien