The Work/Life Balance... Or Lack There Of
I've been back to work for almost four months now and the transition has been anything but smooth for me. I work on average forty hours a week and Mía is a spot in daycare on four days throughout the week. I work twelve hours shifts and I have one day a week where I'm off and Mía has daycare so it allows me to have some time to catch up on errands, workout, blog, and maybe catch up on housework... ugh housework!
Until I was a "full time working mom" I didn't fully appreciate how my parents or any of my friends that have kids did it. I have some super star mama friends out there (you know who you are) who have their home tidy and clean, laundry put away, meals prepped for the week... that is NOT my situation. On any given day if you dropped by unannounced you will likely find my dining room table littered with baby items and my work/gym bags (Jon's pet peeve, yikes!), Mía's toys EVERYWHERE, and a few piles of laundry that has to go in the wash. This is not an exaggeration... I'm constantly trying to work on strategies to help us out with these things but obviously they aren't working.
I've identified that I just don't have enough time in the day on my days off to get everything done that I want to... this is a constant struggle for me. It may be a generational thing, or a me thing, but quite frankly my time is valuable to me and I don't have a whole lot of it to dedicate it to everything that I want to accomplish in a given day. The most important time allotment for me is quality time with my family, and that takes a good chunk of our weekends. We treasure our weekends because Jon doesn't work and for three of the four weekends a month, I'm off as well. If we have a choice between tidying the home and meal prepping or spending the afternoon exploring the city... you betcha that we choose the quality time option. Perhaps when Mía gets older we can teach her the "fun" in helping out around the house, but for now she needs far too much entertainment to allow both of us a chance to get a lot done. Then there is "me time" and you guys know that I'm a big advocate of self-care and making sure you take care of yourself emotionally and mentally. This could literally be any activity (or no activity) that makes you happy, gets your creative juices flowing, gets you excited to start the day. I can promise you that if you take care of yourself first (I can see my mom shaking her head now) that you will be a positive and happy self for your children.
It took me nearly twelve months to figure this out and the more I got a little more of myself back after Mía was born the more I felt whole again. It's hard to think and have this mindset because I grew up in a family dynamic (which I assume most people my age did also) where our parents lived and breathed for us, they worked hard to provide the best possible life and future for us. I can't recall them ever taking a vacation without us or time for themselves to do anything... all of their energy was focused on us. I love them tremendously for that. They engrained the hardworking mentality into my being. I am their daughter and I want my daughter to know and understand the value of working hard for something but I also want to connect with her on another level. I don't want to just have her think "you are my mom and you go to work and you feed me" it is important that she gets to see that life is about balance and to get the most out of it, you have to be able to do the things that make you uncontrollably happy as often as you can.
Photos: Amy Lee Studio
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