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Why does being a working mom feel like I am trying to accomplish the impossible?

Updated on January 21, 2015

Note to self, ” I need to have some quality time with her somewhere between 6:45 and 7:45 this morning. Or maybe tonight between 6:15-8:15. And why isn’t she focusing at school? I don’t really believe in ADD. That’s just code for your kid is lazy in my book. I have to return her teachers’ call, but when? Maybe my lunch break?

Is this working? I mean my life, my child's life, my marriage, my extended family, friends, and anyone else who means anything to me in my life. Is being a working mom benefiting anyone?

My life consists of minimal sleep. You may say that is true of any mom, single or married. At some point, you have to give up the idea that you are going to "sleep in." I just can't seem to let it go. I was a person too, before I was married with children. I used to like my job, but I didn't let it consume me totally. I traveled, stayed out late, slept get the picture. I know many can relate to "the life before".

Fast forward to today. Myself, as a person, takes the back burner in every imaginable way and my family became the priority. And my job would be considered okay if I started and finished the same time every time every day. Then I wouldn't have to race to try to get my daughter from day care before they close because something didn't go as planned at the end of the day. Or because some thoughtless workaholic boss decides to have a conference call after the day is done, as to not interrupt the actual working day. Off to the daycare I go. Now, besides the annoying $1 they charge for every minute you are late past closing time-I can't bear to see my little girl, all by herself in the lobby waiting for me-again. The last kid picked up-again. The evil eye given to me by the director for being late-again. The guilt just piles up to no end and I can't push that feeling off onto anyone else.

No, I can't afford a nanny. No, my husband can't pitch in because his work hours are crazier than mine. No, I don't have magic grandparents for the kids that pitch in and help. No, I don't have any mommy friends that can help me because I am too busy working to know any other parents at all. Only me. The work/life balance is more stressful than I ever imagined it to be, yet so many of us do it. So I ask, Is it worth it?

Pros vs. Cons: Obviously a paycheck is the biggest pro, unless your job gives you great personal fulfillment, then maybe that is your biggest pro and kudos to you. Feeling rewarded and appreciated more often occurs at the workplace than home, so that's a pro. You certainly don't get plaques or certificates for doing household chores, reading to your child or many of the other daily tasks you do by being a stay-at-home mom throughout the day. It's a thankless job. Socializing with adults and keeping your mind sharp are also pros to being a working mom. Typically, being a stay-at-home mom means you are mostly alone with a little one and don't have as many adult conversations as you do in the workplace and your mind isn't challenged in the same manner either.

The cons will vary woman-to-woman, but there are definitely consistencies with all of us. First and foremost, the guilt alone is enough to age you 10 years right off the bat. Then the stress will age you another 10. So, by the time you began your career and had kids, you look like your about to retire. All right, maybe I exaggerated that part a little, but to some extent it is true. It's the balance of putting in your time at work, leaving it there, and then focusing on your family and spending enough time with them. Can you really even leave your work at work? Was there something you didn't quite finish that you had to take home? Will you check your e-mail all night, will you get a call or text? Does your workday ever really end? Minimal family time is definitely a con. Spending money on daycare, take out(who has time to cook?), dry cleaning, lunch, work attire, gas, etc. What about taking care of yourself? Doctors appointments, working out, or maybe a little r&r. There simply isn't time for that. And then the guilt kicks in again because you feel like you are not fully succeeding at work and not succeeding at home either. There is only so much of you to go around.

There is so much running all day, you are bound to miss crucial life moments. I always think in my mind,"Will my kids just remember me working all the time? Will they even remember that I took off 1 week a year for vacation to spend time with them?" Probably not......there goes that guilt again.

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