I’m starting a new feature on the blog where I will host a mama and she will give insight into her life as a mom. My hope is to provide a space for these beautiful moms to come and tell a story about their journey through motherhood. This week I have the distinct honor of hosting Rita Williams from Graceful Guessing. She makes beautiful things to sell on Etsy including cards and printable art.
I have had the amazing privilege of being a Mommy for 6 ½ years now. I have also been a working mom the entire time, minus maternity leave. I am incredibly lucky to have two beautiful, healthy children, an amazing husband, and a job that provides. Somedays I feel like I have it together, and some days I want to put on sweatpants, crawl back into bed, and binge watch Supernatural. Overcoming the challenges of being a working mom takes some time, experience, and patience.
But fear not; I’ve learned some things that put my life into perspective and allowed me to find peace as a working mom. My hope is that these tips will help you find some balance and peace in your life, too.
Put on Your Life Jacket First.
A little over a year ago, we were selling our starter house. I underestimated the amount of time and stress that goes into having a home on the market. I was trying to balance home life, work, selling the house, and church responsibilities. I was stressed but balancing life relatively well…until I wasn’t. One day, my son caught an incredibly nasty case of pink eye. I was out of work for three days and tasks were piling up, the house to-do list was growing, and my poor baby was absolutely miserable. I was miserable. I was a tangled ball of stress waiting to explode.
That Sunday I uncharacteristically broke down crying at church. One of my amazing friends said to me, “You’ve heard instructions on an airplane, right? If there’s an emergency and the oxygen masks come down, take care of yourself first before helping anyone else. You can’t help anyone if you’re on the floor passed out.” I had been so busy taking care of everyone/everything else that I wasn’t taking care of me. As a result, we backed off on church commitments that month. I asked my team for a little extra help at work. My husband pitched in more at home. But most importantly, I made time for a weekly bubble bath for myself. Learn from my biggest mistake: don’t be afraid to unload your plate and take care of you. Practice self-care and be kind to yourself.
Put Things on Auto-Pilot.
Being a busy working mom means that your attention is pulled in so many directions at once. Why not make your life a little easier and put some things on Auto-Pilot?
- Set up auto-pay on your bills. I will take peace of mind wherever I can get it. A big place for me is auto-pay on our bills. I don’t have to second guess if I sent a check out, everything is taken care of.
- Break out the Crockpot. The first year of my son’s life, our crockpot singlehandedly fed us. If you need inspiration, Pinterest has a ton of delicious and easy crockpot recipes. Having dinner ready when you come home is a major relief and you’re still eating a home cooked meal.
- Use Amazon Subscribe and Save. Put some household staples like toilet paper and paper towel on Subscribe and Save. Then you don’t have to make unexpected trips to the store, it just shows up! Work smarter, not harder, right?
Comparison Steals Joy.
There is no one-size-fits-all parenting handbook. Just ask anyone who’s potty-trained more than one child. 😉 Don’t compare your parenting journey to someone else’s, it’ll only stress you out and discourage you. Find beauty and joy in being you.
Motherhood isn’t Easy.
Two years ago, a now good friend invited me to lunch and asked me how I kept everything together as a mom. Quite frankly, I was shocked. To me, she was already “perfect”; she was running a successful and rapidly growing daycare, she and her husband were even (and still are) pillars in the community. I had no idea that she was struggling with this whole mommy gig, too. I partially blame Social Media; it warps our perception of life. We often share what is perfect, appropriately filtered, and cropped before publishing it to Facebook and Instagram. It’s all too easy to believe that someone has it all together when the truth is that all working moms are tired working moms, and we’re all taking things one day at a time.
It’s Ok to Have Career Goals and Dreams.
Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean that you need to let go of your goals!
- Maintain a list of professional development goals. Be sure to keep your career goals simple but measurable so you can track your progress.
- Seek out career guidance from a trusted mentor or friend. Sometimes our futures aren’t always clear to us, and it helps to have someone to point out strengths and areas to improve.
- Motherhood gives you a unique set of skills; work them into your resume! Dan Miller, Author of 48 Days to the Work You Love highly encourages this. Budgeting, creative problem-solving, and a slew of other skills come as a result of being a parent.
Mommy Guilt is a Real Jerk.
When I went back to work after having my son, mommy-guilt was so rampant that I cried in the bathroom for 20 minutes on that first morning back. I was so upset about not being a stay at home mom that the only way I could calm myself down, was to calculate the hours my kids were at daycare versus the time they were at home. Mommy Guilt is a terrible, rotten beast. If you take nothing else from this post, remember that even though you’re not at home every single moment with your babies, you are providing for them and giving them an amazing life. YOU are amazing, Mama.
Whether your goal is to transition away from work or continue a career, my plea is that you realize your undeniable worth to your family. And hang in there, Mama. Enjoy the ride!
Rita is a happily married mother to a daughter, 6 and a son, 2. She is a working mom, a craft junkie, an entrepreneur, and a die-hard Doctor Who fan. You can find her at Graceful Guessing.