Those two words bring up more feelings, thoughts, and emotions than I can even count. Some good, some bad. Some joyful and some flat out heart wrenching. I could write enough to fill an entire book on just those two words.
I started writing this blog post at least 5 times now. Every time I start, I stop. This is a hard one for me to get right. I either start going down random tangents or just get flat stuck on how to put my thoughts into words.
This topic is a BIG one for me….it runs long and it runs deep.
I just finished reading Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming.” There are a million reasons I love this book. I want to tell her THANK YOU for capturing so beautifully the joy, struggle, pain, guilt, pride, and exhaustion I feel as a working mom. I swear she crawled in my brain and was able to eloquently put into words my own struggles over the past 8 ½ years.
Michelle always wanted to work while raising kids. I did not. Yup. I said it. I had NO plans of working when I became a mom. I had big dreams of being home full time with at LEAST three kids. I wanted to do ALL the crafts…ALL the projects…go on ALL the field trips. I was going to host epic parties and have a house that was always full of kids.
You know what? That did NOT happen.
My journey from that “stay at home mom” dream to my current reality is a long one. Too long to write here. However, I CAN say this. Today, as I manage two businesses and motherhood, I would not have it any other way. If you told me 8 years ago that one day I would LOVE balancing work and motherhood, I never would have believed you. If you told me that the anger, resentment, and sadness I felt would be replaced by joy, gratitude, and excitement, I would have laughed in your face.
Don’t get me wrong…there are days I dream of winning the lottery and not working at all. It seems like Grace ONLY gets sick or has an emergency with the retainer thing in her mouth on days I have big meetings scheduled and Jeff is out of town. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
There are days when I look at my calendar and see that I volunteered to chaperone a field trip….on the ONE day I was invited to a conference…..and I just want to scream. There are days when I feel like juggling work and motherhood is flat out impossible and I want to quit…both things. Guilt is a terrible feeling…and it is one that every working mother I know battles often.
Most nights I go to bed rehashing conversations or events that happened with Grace…wondering if I said the right thing or handled it correctly. I’m pretty sure I have said or done something that she will need therapy for at some point in her life. More than once she has said to me, “you love work more than me.” Not gonna lie..it hurts. Even though I know it is only because she isn’t getting what she wants, it still hurts.
Michelle wrote that she wants to “work with purpose and parent with care.” Yes. This. That is the EXACT balance that I strive for every day. Some days I nail it. Other days I am an epic failure and suck at both. My work is not just “work.” It is purposeful and meaningful to me. It makes me whole. It makes me a better mom. It makes me a better wife. It makes me who I am.
Over the last 8 ½ years I have changed from a depressed and resentful working mom to an energized and joyful working mom. I am forever thankful for that. If you have not read Michelle’s book yet, go get it. It is a beautiful book about an amazing women and mom that has done incredible things.