There is No Such Thing as Work Life "Balance"

hanginthereAt this moment, as I write this, Jack (16 months old) is standing on the table (his favorite thing to do), drawing with a pen on a Lowe's coupon thingie that we got in the mail today. Finn (6 years old) is playing Legos and Levy is watching TV. Sure, it's gorgeous out, but we spent a ton of time at Finn's class picnic and mommy (me) needs to get some work done. Yesterday, because of work, I left the house at 10:30am and got home at 9pm, seeing the kids for a grand total of two hours, give or take. I got up early to work so we could go to Finn's class picnic, and now here I am, working. And I will be working again tonight. I've committed to no less than three events tomorrow, most of which will involve the kids, but still. My head starts to swim. Welcome to my insanity.

There are some days when I have it all together, really there are. I'm firing on all mom cylinders and I remember the right t-shirt for field day (and it's CLEAN!!), I remember what time t-ball practice is and actually get there on time, I answer emails, respond to texts from friends in a timely manner, feed the kids healthy food and have enough clean underwear for the whole family and we have plentiful diaper and toilet paper supply. I sometimes pat myself on the back after putting all the laundry away and making sure we have enough groceries and everyone is sleeping soundly in their little beds. Because it's hard.

Then there are days where I have NO idea where Finn's t-ball shirt is, we've eaten pizza more than twice in the week, Jack is still wearing his pajamas at noon and the laundry is threatening to take over my bed. These are the days where my emails pile up, the work gets overwhelming, and I run out of time. I run out of energy. I just run out. Sean said recently my new catchphrase should be "My phone just died". Because it does, pretty much every day, because I'm on it, A LOT. And I feel bad about that.

And I feel like a BAD MOM.

I'm a bad mom for having to skip baseball because I have to cover a gala for work. I feel like a bad mom when I'm running out the door and Levy says "You have to go to a meeting AGAIN?!". I'm a bad mom when I let them play the iPad for juuuuust a little while longer so I can get some projects finished. I'm a bad mom because I don't have TIME to stop and appreciate the little moments every time they pop up. I just don't. I wish I did right now, but that's not the case. And like many of you, I don't like to be reminded that OMG IT GOES BY SO FAST YOU'RE GOING TO MISS THIS WHEN THEY'RE OLDER.

An article I come across often is something usually titled "Finding a Work/Life Balance as a Mom". I'm here to tell you, there is no balance. And if you're trying to find one, give up. When people ask me how I juggle everything I tell them I just keep going, and that's all there is to it. Some days, some weeks, I get to spend more time with the kids. Some weeks are more work focused. Sometimes my juggling act fails miserably. I get home way past bedtime and kiss their hot sleepy foreheads. The book I was supposed to read on the floor next to the bed. The laundry I still haven't put away getting wrinklier in the basket by the minute. Appointments I have to cancel, bike rides I get to watch the beginning of as I drive away...

I'm lucky in the fact that I have incredible support from Sean, who is there to whip up dinner, throw the soccer uniform in the wash, play Chinese Checkers, build forts and do movie nights. I'm lucky he's a hands on Dad that throws himself in there and gets the jobs done. I'm lucky I have my mom close by to babysit, to help lend a hand when I have a crazy photo shoot schedule or there are two games or practices in one day and I have an event I have to cover. I'm very lucky.

I try to carve out time no matter what to be there for them, but there will always be times I am going to miss things. T-ball games. Ballet lessons. Birthday parties, oh SO many birthday parties we have missed, either because I forgot the date or we had something else going on. When you're in the mix, just go with it. And you know what? You are a good mom. You are. Don't worry about the things you might miss, don't worry about making a mistake or not being there as much as you'd like. Don't worry if you're plopping them down in front of the TV with the iPad because you need ten minutes to just THINK STRAIGHT. Don't worry.

Both of my parents worked full time when I was growing up, and my dad was often out of the country on business trips for weeks sometimes. But you know what? I love them both so much, and I don't think about the time we didn't get to spend together when I was a child. What stands out in my mind are the times we were together. And I think that is what my kids will remember too. I'm a busy mom, for sure, but I'm a loving mom, and that cancels out the busy.

To finish up, as Jack literally tries to pull me off my chair to play blocks with him, I just want to say that even though balance is hard to find, I want to send out my support, my "You Can Do It!!!!" rah rah cheerleader vibes if anyone else is having one of those days. You love your kids, you have bad days, you have good ones, and the love will come through no matter what. Hang in there moms, I will do the same. xoxo