There, I said it. It is nearly impossible to do all of this, and this balancing act is my number one stresser, right after money. Money, which is why I have to work, and why I have to balance all of this.
My attempt at balancing goes something like this. I get up to work between four and five a.m. every weekday. Not only do I need that time so I can get it all done, but it is generally my only quiet time. This makes for a very long day, but it’s worth it. Then generally by 7:15 at the latest, I have to stop what I’m doing and snap into mommy/wife mode – getting everyone up and dressed, getting breakfast and lunches made, and usually trying to get myself dressed and my own teeth brushed. By 9:00 I’m back at it, but I’m in dual mode – work and mommy mode to a very high-energy, high-needs, climbing, getting into things, throwing things around, fit-having toddler. I try to be done with work by 3:45 when my son gets off the school bus. This requires skills in general awareness of time and time management. It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, MOST of the time, I have some wrapping up to do. And then it is time to start dinner. And then the kids go to bed. And then I go to bed. And my husband is up, by himself, because he doesn’t get up until 7:00 a.m. And not only have I not accomplished everything I want to do, but I feel like I have left everyone’s needs behind. Including my own. The short answer to how I balance it all is I don’t. I do the best I can and I spend most of my family time on the weekends. I don’t balance, I juggle. And as soon as I think I’ve everything under relative control, it all changes.
Overall, I am overjoyed to be able to be home with and for my kids and to be able to do what I love. Even though it is a high-pressure situation, I am afforded flexibility I would not otherwise have. What does rub me the wrong way though, is why it is up to the almost 69% of married, working mothers in the U.S. to figure out how to balance work, children, and a relationship. How many times are men asked how they balance it all? I never see this on the cover of any men’s magazine. How worried are men about arranging their work schedule so it meets everyone’s needs? So they still have time to clean, fold the laundry, plan and cook meals? How many times do they wonder when they can squeeze in a shower? Do they constantly feel like they are leaving someone’s needs behind, while rarely considering their own? I honestly don’t know if men worry about these things. I suppose they have their own set of stressers that we don’t understand. I can’t even imagine how I would feel if I had a husband who didn’t help!
Do you see these questions being addressed to men? If so, point me in the right direction!