This Week I Was A Shitty Mom


finding work life balanceHow do you do it?

How do you balance work and life and self and all of the bullshit in between?

This week I was a big fat failure in the balance department. I got flooded with freelance (which is awesome) and I ended up on some sort of bizarre hamster wheel ride that felt like I was simultaneously sprinting and getting nowhere all at once. And let me tell you, I don’t sprint. I worked my little (ok, shrinking) ass off and still managed to feel like an utter failure.

Yes, I got my projects done. I even managed to squeeze in a workout every day this week. But getting dressed? Pshhhhhht! Only on Tuesday when I had to take Ellie to preschool. And there was definitely no makeup or hair grooming involved. Sleep? Yeah right. I was up until one each night. That might have been nothing during the college years, but with a child who enthusiastically wakes me up at about 5:30 every morning, it made for a smidge of unpleasantness. I was kind of a raging bitch.

The kicker for me though, was when my sweet terror of a child climbed up onto the couch next to me with a big book of princess stories pleading “Momma will you read to me?” and I heard myself telling her that I was too busy.

What the what?

I work from home so that I can spend more time with my babies. It is the main reason I didn’t go back to my job after Ellie was born. I wanted to be home with them. Luckily writing and editing gives me a little leeway in the location department. I wanted to read stories and paint pictures and bake cookies all day. But I also have to work. How the hell do I do all of it?

I’m slowly starting to realize that, like most things, balance isn’t something that’s stagnant. In fact it’s in constant motion, ebbing and flowing with whatever life throws at you. You have to adjust and catch yourself when you get thrown off a little bit. And that’s not always easy.

It’s impossible to be all things. Or, I guess what I mean to say is, it’s impossible to be good at all things all at once—no matter what social media wants to tell you. Chances are, if you’re doing really well in one department, another area is seriously lacking. You just have to be sure to get yourself back in check once you catch yourself so that you don’t remain all lopsided. Putting all of your attention in one area isn’t good for the whole. Maybe that’s why so many Oscar winners end up divorcing after they take home their statues.

But do you know what else doesn’t help balance? Obsessing over it. Becoming so concerned with perfecting it and building it up into this Big Thing can only make it too heavy.

So you know what? Today my kids get an extra book at bedtime. They get to decide what we do after school—without a computer or an iPhone in sight. And I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

photo credit: Josh Liba via photopin

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  1. First of all, I LOVE the title of this post. So many blog posts are about the amazing accomplishments,clean houses, meals, adorably put together children..which is fine and great, but its refreshing to see this…I was a shitty mom last week. “It’s impossible to be good at all things all at once”..totally true. Between networking and writing for my blog, Helping my husband wit his business, to the Girl Scout leader brainstorming the PTA volunteering I got suckered into..then the girls school projects, …i felt It was just shitty me left over for my 3 year old to hang out with. We all have those times. Thanks for posting about it. Great read!
    sara recently posted…Hello world!

    1. Thanks Sara!

      I’m so with you! I don’t have a problem looking at pictures of perfectly styled children and their unmessy rooms as an ideal—sort of like perfectly symmetrical models in fashion editorials—but at the same time, I want to see real too. I want to know that I’m not the only one drowning in laundry with a filthy house and bored children while I try to meet a deadline. And I think that’s what makes me feel worse about myself when I notice it. I DON’T see it and it makes me feel alone and like I’m the only one struggling. But we all have our versions of this. And sometimes it takes unloading your guilt in a blog post to realize that. 😉

  2. I think it’s definitely something that everyone deals with – with or without kids. Since I started working an actual career, I’ve been a notorious work-a-holic, and that was okay back then because my family all lived far away and it kept me busy. The past few years really put things into perspective for me, and since I’ve shifted priorities, the whole balance thing has been a real struggle. The thing I’m trying to remind myself of is that there are going to be projects that could have been done better, there are going to be hours of sleep missed, and some really miserable moments. It’s not always going to be perfect. But I’m totally okay with that, if it means I get to spend a few hours every other night binge watching netflix with the husband or being more than a once-annually presence in my niece and nephew’s lives. I always love that saying thats something like: you’ve got to work to live, not live to work.

    Every now and then it may not feel like it, but you’re doing a great job. And don’t worry about the whole getting dressed thing, either. I’ve been wearing the same pair of shorts for 3 days straight and I don’t even have kids 😉
    Jac recently posted…11 Free Script Fonts

    1. Hahaha! Thanks Jac!

      And you’re right. Sometimes I get caught up in the mom thing or the woman thing because they are two of the biggest pieces of my identity—but that’s not to say this whole lack of balance thing is an exclusive mom club. And it’s good to hear other ladies chime in and say they feel it too because it forces you to realize it’s a universal thing. We’re all just trying to do our best. Some days we wish we could have a redo.

      I wouldn’t mind having some non-momcentric posts to help drive that point home if you ever feel so inclined! 😉

  3. The title also grabbed my attention because I have been feeling the same way. Just when you think you got it all or almost closed to being balanced there is something that tips the scales again. All we can do is keep on trying our tight rope balancing act. I’m visiting you from Sits Girls Saturday Share Fest. It is always nice to know that we are all in the same place. Great post!
    Bonnie recently posted…DIY Phrase Blocks

    1. Thanks, Bonnie!

      I think that’s the problem with balance. We’re so used to thinking about it as a constant, but when you visualize things being balanced—like your tight rope walker—things are constantly in motion, shifting and readjusting. I think we’d all be so much more sane if we could think of balancing our lives the same way and not like two things of equal weight sitting on a scale. When things are more important in life, they weigh a little more and we have to move things around to make it equal again.

      Thanks for coming by!

  4. First of all, what a clever name for your blog — I love it! Sometimes, I think balance is a big myth that was made up to make us all feel guilty. But it’s still something we must strive for. Great post, and I’m looking forward to reading more here! Visiting from SITS Sharefest.
    MB recently posted…Open to New (Yet Old) Horizons

    1. Thanks MB!

      It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it? I guess we just have to remember that nothing is ever perfect and as long as we keep shifting to make sure one piece of the puzzle isn’t dominating all of the time, we’ll be good.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Oh man, do I ever hear you. Go easy though, we all have those times. I find that as much as I want to be able to dedicate all of my time to my husband and little dude, sometimes I just can’t. I can’t. It’s ok for our kids to know that sometimes we have things that we have to do right then, and I kind of feel like as long as we get to the other things too, and read an extra story, or have longer cuddles or do something special later, it’s all good. I would only feel guilty if it happened all the time, and then it might feel like something needed to change. But nah, you are golden. And I am also glad to know that I am not alone in the perfect house, perfect kids, perfect everything department. So glad I found you through the SITS Saturday share fest.
    Brandee recently posted…Let’s talk

    1. Thanks, Brandee!

      And I agree—it’s probably a good thing for kids to realize they’re NOT the center of the universe sometimes. It’s just hard to think that way when you’re overwhelmed and in the thick of it and feeling like a guilty failure. Talking about it definitely helps though. Like you said, it’s always good to realize you’re not alone!

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