I don't have the option of being a stay at home mom. I always kind of thought that's what I would do - my own mother stayed home with us and Chad's mom did too. That is what I know most well of being a mom and for some reason I just always assumed it is how it would be.
Instead, I went back to work when Dylan was 8 weeks old. At first I was thrilled to just to be able to get up, take a shower, and do my hair and makeup. It was really nice to get back into some adult interactions. I feel that my time at work makes me appreciate the time that I spend at home even more.
However, I also have trouble with the fact that I can't possibly give 100% at work anymore, and I can't possibly give 100% at home anymore. Just to give you a small idea of how much this bothers me, I used to be embarrassed that I got a 95% on a test instead of a 100%. So at work, when I have to say, "I can do that, but it will have to wait until next week", I feel embarrassed, and angry, and overwhelmed. Don't get me wrong - my boss is a wonderful and supportive woman. She always understands that I'm only one, sleep-deprived person and tells me that I'm doing a great job. So all of this is in my head, but it's troublesome nonetheless.
I have talked to my good friend who is the mother of a 3-year old, and she said just to accept it - it is natural and it will get better. But I can't help feeling like I'm at a critical juncture in my life, and I need to make a decision because something is very far out of balance. I don't want to give up my job - I've worked very hard to get here and I really care about what I do. I don't want to be exhausted and cranky all the time either. I don't want to hurt my relationship with my husband (who lets me come home on my stressed out days and cry on his shoulder, while he cooks dinner for me - good man!) and I don't want to miss out on time with my son. I feel torn - whether I work at home, or work in the lab, something is going to be missing.
I think this is a universal and SECRET dilemma in the circle of motherhood. No one tells you that, despite the wonder and awe of this time, finding a balance is going to be more difficult than you could ever imagine (or maybe I just didn't listen). Unfortunately, when I look online for ways to cope with it, I find a lot of competition: "working moms" versus "stay at home moms", "breastfeeders" versus "formula feeders", the list goes on and on. There are very few people that I feel I can truly talk to about this (thank you to everyone with whom I can be open - you are sanity savers!) I am often afraid to tell people that I use cloth diapers, and make my own baby food. Many women become defensive as if I am telling them they are doing something wrong by not doing the same as me. When the only other people on this Earth who can understand what we really are going through is other mothers, shouldn't we band together instead of forming two camps against each other? Why can't we realize that there is no perfect answer, there is no best way to do things? Why can't we openly share our way of doing things and see different choices as simply different, not wrong? Why can't it be enough that we are doing our absolute best to make our own circumstances work for our family?
In that spirit, I want to send a "shout out" to all the moms out there, who are making it work one day at a time. The mothers who, no matter how difficult it is to drag themselves out of bed in the morning, get up and make the best life they can for their families. To all the beautiful mothers who work their way up the corporate ladder, who work part time out of the house, who have to hold down two jobs to make ends meet, who start their own business, who stay at home, who home-school, and to anyone else whom I've missed...
HERE'S TO US!!!