Wish I Knew…

I wish I knew having a full-time job and being a mom wasn’t easy. I applaud and envy those that can find that balance to be the best at home and work. In fact, I suggest you write a book telling your story. I’ll be the first to purchase it and read it cover to cover.

Before I had kids, I was involved in everything I could get my hands on at work. As a teacher, I joined multiple committees, started school clubs, stayed late, I loved my job, and still do, and felt my intense dedication proved it.

Fast forward a couple of years and my daughter is born followed by my son soon after. Things started to change, and by that I mean priorities. I wanted to be there for them, be the best mom and wife, but the pressure to maintain my dedication to my job was looming over me. I wish I could go back and tell myself it’s okay to let things go. If I pass on a few things, it’s not the end of the world.

As working moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves to perform top notch both at work and home. That’s a fast track to being burnt out and then feeling crummier about ourselves. I wish I had someone to tell me it’s okay to say no and to enjoy every moment. On second thought, I can recall being told this on numerous occasions but chose not to listen. By golly, I was going to do it all! I envy my enthusiasm, although unrealistic.

The inevitable mommy guilt set in as soon as I had to turn down chaperoning my child’s first field trip or had to be at work an extra hour. Not to mention handing off a crying child to the sitter when leaving for a job. Mind as well rip my heart out and stomp on it; it hurt that bad. I remember calling my husband each day after the dreaded drop-off balling my eyes out. What if they need me and I’m not there? As I’ve gotten older and my children are growing up, I have a new perspective on things. Looking back, I wish I knew what I know now. I’d say this and so much more. A letter to myself a.k.a. Working Mom attempting to do it all.

Things to Know:

  1. Don’t try and do it all. Cut yourself some slack. You have nothing to prove.
  2. Take your full maternity leave. Don’t allow yourself to feel the pressure to come back so early. Twelve weeks is given to us for a reason.
  3. Breastfeed as long as you can, if you can. Seek out help.  Don’t stop because it becomes a hassle and there’s no time. It’s a gift.
  4. Life happens. If your child is sick, stay home and don’t feel torn that they might need you at work. The extra Tylenol and sending them to school–don’t judge me– never works and that’s a pretty crappy thing to do. It’s hard taking off two days in a row, but that’s life. Things happen.
  5. Hold your mommy friends close and lean on them. They are a gift. You can laugh, commiserate, and cry together. You’ll feel better.
  6. Learn to say no. It’s okay. This word is the hardest thing to say. But you’ll be grateful you did it.
  7. Just because others are doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. Your friend is signing up their two-year-old for all these enrichment activities. Should you too? Don’t let the pressure get to you. Make your experiences. Sing together, read together, play together. That’s what matters.
  8. You’re not a bad mom for dropping off your teary-eyed toddler to daycare because they want to stay with you. It will hurt, and you will cry in the car on the way to work and when you get there, but other moms do it too. Kids are resilient. They’ll forget you left in no time and be happy to see you when you pick them up.
  9. You’re doing a good job. Trust yourself. Love yourself.
  10. Ask for help if you need it. No one is judging you. Others want to support you.

I wish I knew what I know now. For those mommas going through the same thing, don’t wish you knew, know now.