“There is no such thing as balance… That is motherhood. If you are a working mother you are often not there as much as you’d like to be.” ~ Shonda Rhimes
Before having kids and getting married, I imagined myself to be the type of mother that is always present, pays attention to every detail, involved in the bake sales, always at every game or recital and part of the Parent Teacher Association. You know, that dream mother and wife that is organised and got it all together, has dinner ready every evening, heavily loaded packed lunches for the kids and my house always in tip top shape. Also, the boss mum and wife who has got her own, killing it in my career or side hustle, and making moves alongside my husband.
Fast forward to now being married and a mum of twin girls, I see that these dreams and imaginations are easier to dream than to live out daily. Currently torn between the joys of getting out of the house to work and make money, and staying home with my babies – baking, painting and going out for walks. When I’m working, my home may be upside down and I don’t always have the energy to be fully present and plan activities with the girls. If I’m putting in the hours to make more money, I may not even see the girls for a few days, and there are times when my laundry room is overflowing to the point that I can no longer differentiate between the clean and dirty clothes (don’t judge me). When I am enjoying present uninterrupted time with my girls and my husbae, I sometimes feel I’m behind. Behind on work, behind on a project, slacking on my goals, not working hard enough etc. It’s not all as gracious and harmonious as I had once imagined it to be.
Growing up, my mum was ALWAYS WORKING. She was never really home for dinners during the week, she didn’t make my packed lunches and sometimes I wouldn’t see her for a few days in the week due to her coming in late and leaving the house really early for work. I remember my mum getting a Masters Degree when I was about 8 and another when I was about 13, she was always busy GETTING IT.
At Middle School, in Year 6, we were all asked to write a poem about our mothers for Mother’s Day. I had a look around at what the other kids in my class were writing about their mums and I followed suit and started writing about how amazing she was for always making me yummy dinners and how I loved her for looking after me. One of my close friends at the time, Lisa had read it and bluntly said “Gloria, that is such a lie, your mum doesn’t make your dinners after school your sisters do!” I think I replied something about how she does on Sundays to cover up how embarrassed I was. That was a big moment for me, I questioned why my mum wasn’t home making my dinners every evening or getting my packed lunches ready like Lisa’s mum did and why she worked so much. After all, she’s a woman right?
A couple years later my parents got a divorce, I watched my mum move out and buy a new house within 3 months or so, she probably struggled a little more than I may have been privy to but she really was strong enough and smart enough to look after herself and her kids. She owned a couple of properties and really pushed through with strength. I only began to appreciate and admire my mums work ethic as I got older. Now that I’m a mum myself, I see that it’s not easy to always be present for your kids and husband whilst also showing up for your self and working on your own dreams, especially as a woman. However, that’s not to say that I feel I have to choose one or the other, I just believe I have to be intentional about what I want for MYSELF and what I want for my family, understanding that when I’m fully present in one area of my life, I may not be 100% present in other areas and being okay with this. It’s obviously a lot easier said than done.
My journey being a woman, mum and a wife, is no longer a journey of balance but a journey of working with the times and seasons of my life.
So, I guess the question is Can We have It All? My answer to that is, yes, but not all at the same time.