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The Struggle is Real: A New Working Mom’s Perspective

I grew up with a stay at home mom. While she worked for a bit after I was born, the years that I remember she was home. She made our lunches, volunteered in our school, was home for us after school, and attended all of our events. I longed to do the same when I had kids, but the reality of having a husband as a teacher doesn’t afford that possibility. I am fortunate to have my summers off and be home by four o’clock most nights, but the balance still isn’t easy.struggleisreal2

When I was pregnant, I had in my mind that I would be able to do it all and dedicate myself to my job and my family. I would have dinner made most nights, the house would remain clean and I would feel accomplished each day at work. I also believed I would still have moments to myself to relax. I quickly realized when I went back to work after twelve weeks, how impossible this reality would be. Most days I don’t even sit down to relax until it’s time to go to bed and start the day over again.

I’ve been a working mom for only a short time, but the stress of this balancing act has already gotten to me. I honestly feel like I’ve lost my mind most days, and I can’t focus long enough on a single task to get anything accomplished. The laundry remains in piles or half folded on the basement floor, while another load is waiting to go in the dryer, and I have clean clothes sitting in a basket upstairs that I get dressed from each morning. The dust is piled up on furniture and the bathrooms haven’t been deep cleaned in who knows how long. Our guest bedroom has piles of stuff to go to Goodwill and paperwork to be sorted through, and toys are scattered across the living room. Embarrassing, I know, but it’s the reality at this point in my life.struggleisreal

My work pulls me in one direction, and my home (husband, child, housework) pulls me in another. Each place and person requires 100 percent dedication, but I can’t give 100 percent to both. I rush to work in the morning, but all day my mind is on my child. What is she doing at daycare? Is she being good? Did she take good naps? I rush home in the evening to be with her, but at night my mind is on how much work I have to do the next day.

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These moments are worth having a messy house and leftovers for dinner!

As my child gets older and is nearing the end of the baby stage, I keep telling myself that things will get better. My house will eventually be clean, and I won’t feel like I’m trying to divide myself in a million different pieces to get things accomplished. But the opposite is true—as my child gets older things are only getting worse. I come home from work and dedicate every moment to spending time playing with her until bedtime. Cleaning doesn’t happen and dinner barely gets made some nights. By the time she gets to bed I’m exhausted and want to sit on the couch and relax. The last thing I want to do is spend time cleaning bathrooms and putting laundry away.

Is there a solution to my situation? I’d love to know if you have one. But to me I’d rather spend every moment with my daughter since I spend eight hours a day away from her. The cleaning, laundry, and bathrooms can wait at least until she’s off to college, right?

 

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12 Responses to The Struggle is Real: A New Working Mom’s Perspective

  1. Alli October 7, 2015 at 7:04 am #

    Right there with you, mama! I clean on the weekends, kinda sorta. Also enlist the help of husband – either with childcare, so you can do housework, or with the housework itself.

  2. Jamie October 7, 2015 at 7:12 am #

    I’m in the same boat. I’ve been back to work now for 2 months and still trying to figure out what works best! I recently had someone at work tell me that I seem distracted. I was thinking no kidding? But it really hit home with how hard it is balancing both work and family time and not feeling exhausted! This person who told me this has no kids or family they have to worry about so it made me realize I shouldn’t take it personally because they have no idea. But I’ve made a goal going forward to try my hardest at staying focused at the task at hand and living in the present. This helps me cross things off my list so I don’t feel overwhelmed and allows me to feel OK with saying hey I worked my butt off today so I get uninterrupted family time or hey I have my son and husband my full attention last night and now I need to concentrate at work today. So far it’s helping with the guilt and keeping me somewhat sane.

  3. Kate October 7, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    Figure out what you can let go of…I work w 3 kiddos and realized early on I couldn’t do everything for me I let go of two things–cooking every night and decorating for holidays. Every Tuesday night is take out Tuesday and Wednesfay is clean out the fridge night–both of those nights we eat on paper w plastic silverware. I found this break in the middle of the week to be just what I needed to regain a little sanity 😉 My Halloween/fall decorating now consists of putting out a pumpkin spice scented candle!

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth October 7, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

      Love these ideas! I’m not a holiday decorator already, so I’m good there! Love the idea of themed days in the middle of the week.

  4. Marisa October 7, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    Amen Sister! I feel you. …This is a daily struggle in our house as well. All the stress, messy house, uncooked meals, dirty laundry, layers of dust, and uncorked wine is worth it when you stare into the eyes of your baby and watch them giggle, scoot around the house, hold your face and give you wet kisses, etc.

  5. Megan October 7, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    These pictures could so be from my house: laundry out of control and toys everywhere, but also spending wonderful time with my two-year-old son. I feel like a failure most of the time because I can’t focus on getting any one thing done, so nothing gets done. My husband also works 12-hour rotating day/night shifts, which throws a kink into the whole mix. I still haven’t figured out this balance! Thanks for posting; maybe these comments can help me too. I’m reassured by knowing it really isn’t JUST me. 🙂

  6. Nichole Sorgenfrey October 7, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    I understand your pain. My children are now 14 and 15 and I still can’t figure it out. I feel like all I can tell you is it doesn’t get better. It changes and things get added. Your house will never be clean, get over that first and foremost. It is what it is! I wish you and all the mothers out there the best of luck!

  7. Elizabeth D. October 7, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    Oh, exactly! My kids are 10 and 15 and they have to shoulder responsibility for themselves now. I do not help them get up in the morning or make their lunches, they have a chore contract on the fridge, and they have to maintain a bank account and use their own money for things they want. (My 15 year old also has a job) But, I still have to run them to a million afterschool activities, work, friends, etc. You figure out a rythym to get it done, but the exhaustion never goes away. And I’ve heard people say working mom’s get days off and vacation, but that is only from work. We still have our kids even on our sick days and it is overwhelming.

  8. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth October 7, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

    It’s so helpful to know I’m not alone and we just keep trucking along! Thanks, ladies!!!

  9. Lois O. October 7, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    Dear Elizabeth,
    Yes! Spend all your time after school with that precious little girl! And yes, it will get better! Hang in there. Soon it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then Soing Break and finally, summer! You will get a break and you willl find a rhythm that works for you. In the meantime, just do the best you can and let God handle the rest. When you’re feeling like it’s too much, talk to Him. Tell Him. Let Him provide. He will. When I look back on my life as a teacher mom married to a teacher dad, raising two very active boys, I see that He was there the whole time, weaving everything together for our good. We had a crazy fun life together and God took great care of us. And He will take great care of your family, too. Find your rest and peace in Him. You’re not in this alone. 🙂

  10. Emily October 10, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    I have been working mom for almost 3 years now. I also work in aschool and I know how hard it is to try and get everything done in the house and at work and for your family. I’m also pregnant with my second time and what we found that works for us is that we clean on the weekends we don’t do it every weekend that maybe every other weekend. We also clean up the toys off the floor each night and that makes the house feel less cluttered and more manageable. On week nights dinner is a priority as a family and we as a couple, or alone relax soon as our son goes to bed and it’s not always easy. What’s does help is having realistic expectations and giving ourselves grace when things are extra hectic. Also, as your child gets older you get into a really nice groove and things start to feel less intense. It gets better!

  11. Amanda October 10, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    i have been a working mom for 3 years now. I have a 3yo and a 1.5yo and it is definitely crazy. One of the biggest things we do is freezer meals and crock pot meals. I have found a group that I do a freezer meal swap with. We do it once a month and I have 12 meals that just basically have to be heated up or put in the crock pot, and they are healthy. It takes me 2 evenings after bedtime and it’s done. I also store prepped crock pot meals in the freezer.
    The other thing is I have hired someone once a month to do the deep cleaning. I can’t afford for one of us to stay home, but by being frugal in some areas I can afford to have some help with the cleaning.

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