As a mostly stay-at-home-mom of two small children (ages 4 and 20 months) who also works about 25 hours a week at two different jobs, many people ask, “how do you do that?” Some days, I just don’t know. I sometimes think that I have the best of both worlds – I am with my children every morning of the week (and two afternoons), I am still progressing in my career, and my life is never boring. Sometimes I think that I have the worst of both worlds, as I grade papers at nap time, see clients long after my children are asleep at night, and feel that the only “me time” I get is in the car on the way to, or from, work.
Some days it goes beautifully. I spend some glorious hours playing with my children outside; I feel energized after a student says she really learned a lot in my class; a client I have been seeing is doing better. I come home, the house is straightened up, the kids are asleep, and I can catch up with the hard-working hubby after a long, but satisfying, day.
Some days it all falls apart. The kids are sick, my clients are in crises, my students are being difficult, and my babysitter is running late. I lose my mind, cut corners as needed, accept help when offered, and have mommy melt downs. Mostly though, I worry about the impact on my kids.
Am I teaching them how much I value time with them or do I say “in a minute” too often as I try to balance too much?
Am I teaching them that they can be fulfilled in many different aspects of their lives or am I teaching them to run a rat race that never ends?
Am I teaching them the value of friendship as we run to yet another birthday party or am I teaching them that it’s hard to say no?
Am I teaching them balance (or an attempt at balance) or am I teaching them an insane juggling act, which leaves little time for self-care?
Only time will tell, I guess. For now, I will just continue to go to the park and play “Pooh and Piglet” while ignoring my students’ emails, be present for my clients and not worry if the babysitter is feeding the kids crap again, and answer my students’ questions while not thinking about the baby’s nap schedule. I will continue the insanity and hope that I have chosen the right path for myself, because most days I feel that I have. Maybe, just maybe, my kids will figure out how in the hell to live balanced lives, and they will explain to me that I didn’t get it right but I did my best. At least one can hope.
Oh, and I made it to the fundraiser. At least on that one day, I was able to get everything done and achieve some sort of balance. Maybe during the elementary school years….