Just breathe is my new mantra these days. I am shocked I have not passed out from holding my breath for weeks at a time. This working mom thing has got me flying faster than usual. I have been so go… go… go, and I’m not complaining in the slightest, but I am definitely feeling overwhelmed with guilt. This new working mom title has my eyes wide open and my mommy heart feeling all the feels. Is that what you working moms have been talking about this whole time? This overwhelming guilt? Guilt you are not home enough? Guilt you are missing the little things? Guilt for loving what you do? If so, I get it now.
As a mom who has been home for 13 years, I will say this, there is not a job harder on this planet than being a stay-at-home mom. It is rewarding but the pay is zero. You cook, you clean, you tutor, you play, you discipline, you drive, you do it all. With COVID-19 it has been even more work. How many of you have cleaned just to see it a disaster an hour later? Laundry? That is a joke. If your kids are like mine, they manage to stay in the same outfit all week long, yet I have 25 new loads to do every day. It is pure evil magic.
I know there is this stigma working mom vs. stay-at-home mom like we have some secret competition, but now that I have done both I understand it is two totally different worlds. We both have guilt for different things, we both feel taken for granted, we both work our butts off, but at the end of the day I think right now we are both exhausted. COVID or no COVID the pressure to be perfect is real. The anxiety is real, and the struggle is real.
To be honest I feel guilty for loving my job, for getting out of the house and doing something for myself. I feel empowered for the first time in a long time, like 15 years long and it makes me feel guilt for being excited about it. I am working a lot and running a charity, sometimes I am up till 11pm writing contracts and offers. Again, not complaining I love this. I love my charity and fundraising I am just trying to find this balance and I do not know where to start. I am trying to do it all and I do not want to let anyone down.
This week I was getting the kids ready for school and making breakfast and I just had this anxiety surrounding me. It was consuming and I could feel it starting to swallow me. It started with that pit in your stomach and then heaviness in your shoulders and crept its way to my chest. I just started crying. I needed to let it out. The pressure I have put on myself to do all the things and to do it as perfect as I can rattled its tail for the last time and struck. All the questions and doubts came rushing in. Am I doing a good job? Am I being a good mother? Am I being a good wife? Am I helping enough families? Who do we decide to help this month? Are the chores done? Are the kids getting enough attention? Am I being safe enough for COVID? Am I giving my clients enough attention? Do they know I am there for them? Does my family? Do my friends understand that I am sorry I keep saying I will call back and forget? That I do not text as much because I am swamped and any free moment I have I want it with my family. It all hit me, and I just could not control it. That is when the tears came.
Then as I was cleaning the ugly cry from my face my middle child came snuggling. He hugged me tight and looked up at me and said did you sell your house mom? I said yes, I did. He jumped up with the biggest smile and said way to go mom. I felt like the child at that moment and he was the teacher. I was so happy to get such an encouraging “way to go” from an 8-year-old. At that moment I realized this is what they see. They see me hustling and helping and they are excited for me. So, if they are excited for me than why can’t I?
I woke up at that moment and I realized it is ok to be excited for the things I am doing. That I can pat myself on the back and say way to go. That my kids are amazing, and I am so thankful for my husband for stepping up. That it is ok to have this time to be a successful businesswoman I have dreamt about. Who knows how long I will have all this energy for? So, for the time being I am going to keep flapping my wings and keep being that hummingbird I am. When the rattle of guilt starts to him in my ears, I will do what I can. Pray, take a moment to listen, and try to balance as much as I can. For I am not perfect, but I am loved. I call that a success story any day.