I Am Not Living Up To My Expectations As A Working Mom
My mom and dad both worked full time when I was a child so I grew up knowing all about life as a mother working outside of the home. Watching my own mother gave me certain expectations as a working mom. I have always deeply admired my mom and her ability to not just keep it together, but to keep things around our house perfect and downright thriving. She was out of the house all day but I never felt it, if that makes sense. Everything was always clean, we had awesome dinners every night and I felt cared for in every sense. My mother very rarely showed signs of being strung out from everything she had going on. I suppose over time, I simply came to accept this as the way life must be for any working mom.
Fast forward to now and I can confidently say that my mother must actually be some kind of cyborg robot. Either that, or I totally suck at this. I stayed at home for my first three years as a mother and that was interesting as I had no blueprint for how things should go never having witnessed this kind of arrangement. I kept up with the house fairly well and I tried very hard to be a loving and present mother. I was anxious and unhappy staying at home but I had my groove and keeping our household humming wasn’t that hard for me. When I went back to work, I wasn’t too concerned about how it would all pan out. After all, I saw my mom handle it like a total boss. It couldn’t be that bad.
Ok, it was not bad. It was horrific. At least, in the beginning. Going from staying at home to working felt like skimming over a placid lake in my kayak only to have a giant whale rise underneath me fucking all of my shit up. I couldn’t keep up with housework, I was too tired most evenings to cook a decent dinner and I stressed constantly about missing out on time with my kids. I was not the pulled together, energetic and organized phenom I had known growing up and I felt like a failure.
It’s been nearly four years now and there are still many days where I feel like I’m not doing anything right but there are fewer of those days as time goes on. It’s not that I’ve gotten much better at juggling it all. I guess I’ve just changed my vision of how a successful working mom appears to those around her and I know now that I don’t have to be just like my mom. It’s her personality that made her the way she was when I was a kid and we are not very much alike. I’ve had to accept that I may never live up to my expectations as a working mom. I will probably always have a mountain of laundry and several chores that need doing. I won’t make perfect dinners every night. I will go to bed some nights feeling like I’ve failed everyone. I am simply trying to do my best for my kids and not go completely insane in the meantime. And I now know how intensely grateful I should be for the childhood my mother so lovingly crafted for me. She may have made it look easy but I know from my own experience that it definitely was not.