Sometimes being a working mom just really sucks. You have so many roles to fill that you don’t know where to turn. You have duties to fulfill, perhaps staff to oversee, or a business to run. And while those things plague you by necessity, when you get home, you may realize that: The dishes are in the sink. The laundry hamper is overflowing. Your kids need haircuts – not to mention showers (or baths if they are younger). The house is in a state of chaos. And although this all beckons loudly, as a working mom, sometimes these simple things don’t even hit the radar. It’s like your brain filters things out based on priority, changing every given day.
I don’t know what it’s like to be in practice without having the responsibilities of young kids at home. I don’t know what it’s like to have only one or two focuses in my life. Since graduating chiropractic college, my focuses have been a constant mix of growing a business, growing and learning for myself, taking courses, public speaking, community involvement, networking, writing, helping people in my practice.. and being a mom. All of which are huge undertakings.
And I wonder – how can a simple three-letter word contain so much? ‘Mom’ on its own must symbolize at least dozens of different roles and responsibilities. But ‘Working Mom’ is a whole new ball game.
I am a working mom. And most days it probably looks like I’ve got my stuff together. But so many of those days – despite being one myself – I ask myself: “How do working moms do it all?!”
Here is the reality for me: My life is most centered on my kids. They are the center of my world. And yet… I am a working mom. And I am a mom who LOVES my work.
I run a business – and one that I have come to be very proud of. And yet. There have been days that I wonder, “Am I really making a difference?” “Would ANYONE notice if I just stopped doing what I’m doing?”
All of this countered with the ‘mommy’ voice that asks: “Why can’t I get it all done?” “Does anyone else find it hard to juggle so much?” “Why is this so exhausting?” and “Am I missing something here?” “Why does everyone else make it look so easy?”
My thoughts today were stimulated not so much from challenges I am personally having at this time (although maybe that’s just a part of daily life I have become accustomed to). Instead, it is coming on the tails of a friend’s cry for help. A cry that rang so heart-breakingly true to the same kind of moments I have had so many times in the past.
I think that being a mom is the hardest job on the earth – and the most important. I love (LOVE) my work as a chiropractor, and revel in the growth and challenge that running my own business entails. But some days it is just a little overwhelming. Some days I wonder: “Would I be a better mom if I were home full time?” Or even worse: “Does it show when I don’t have my %^& together?”
But really, at the core of it all, I think that we have to face the truth. Whatever that truth is for YOU. I believe that I am a better mom because of the balance I have found over the years between my chiropractor/business owner side and my mommy-ness. And I willingly admit that it is lightyears easier on this side of toddlerhood.
But when I hear the challenges and heartbreak coming from friends and colleagues and practice members – powerful, inspiring, amazing women – who are doubting themselves, my heart goes out to them.
YOU are the best expert on what you need, what serves your family best, matches your values and fits with the life you want to create for yourself.
Maybe during these times it simply helps to know that moms everywhere struggle sometimes. This job as a mom is one thing we just don’t want to mess up. Nor do we want our working-selves to be less-than-stellar.
And so I’ll offer a perspective that has helped me in the past: Approach yourself in these moments like you would if it were your child who was hurting, feeling low, or full of self-doubt. What would you say? What would you do? And maybe – just maybe – from that place as a compassionate, wise, and loving mother – you will find a way to be gentle on yourself as well.