It’s 4:52AM, Magnolia has just been put back down after her 4AM feeding, and I’m 8 minutes away from my alarm going off. I really just set an alarm these days in case Magnolia decides to sleep through the night, but she’s my real alarm. Most nights she sleeps from 9PM to around 4AM, which is really nice! It’s crazy though to think that I essentially wake up for work every morning at 4AM. I feed Magnolia in the 4 o’clock hour, take care of myself during the 5 o’clock hour (shower, blog, have breakfast, pack my bags, etc.) and then feed and take care of Magnolia during the 6 o’clock hour until I leave for work at 7AM.
Being a working mom is hard. There are two types of working moms, the ones who choose to continue with their career and the ones who must continue with their career. Both are hard and have given me a whole new respect for the working mother (and an even greater respect for the working single mom!!!). Not that it’s easier in a smaller city, but I also think being a working mom is a large metropolitan city only adds to the challenge. Hitting traffic in DC after work is just about the worst thing in the world. I don’t want one more second away from Magnolia and it’s hard.
The blessing though is that Magnolia is fine. She’s loved, she’s cared for, and she’s not going to remember that I had to return to work 6 weeks after she was born. It’s just hard for me.
On the flip side, I know that being a stay at home mom isn’t a cakewalk. Many of my friends who are able to stay at home with their kids express how draining it can be. While they are so grateful to be able to watch their children grow and to care for them day in and day out, there are days when they wish they could just go into an office and have an additional purpose. They often remind me that whether you’re a working mom or a stay at home mom, being a mom is hard.
It’s funny because being Magnolia’s parent is just about the greatest thing in the world. Sure there are days when I feel like I’m doing everything wrong or she’s sick and I can’t take away her pain, but being her mommy is truly the greatest gift. Being her mom isn’t hard. What’s hard is the balancing act.
Balancing her needs, Neal’s needs, Theodore’s needs, my needs, my career, and all of the day-to-day tasks that make it all work. That’s what’s hard. It’s hard getting up at 4AM and never returning to bed. It’s hard feeling like you don’t have enough hours in a day. It’s hard wanting to care for your own daughter instead of paying someone else to do it. It’s hard living in a city without any family. It’s just hard.
What’s awesome though is that each day it gets easier. Everyday we learn something new. We find new ways to get things done and to balance our lives. I’m working hard to make the most of each moment and to be efficient with my time….
- blogging at 5AM while enjoying a hot cup of coffee
- working out during my lunch break at work
- listening to audiobooks and podcasts or talking to friends and family during my commute (gotta do something with those 2 hours)
- sitting down for dinner with Neal each night and talking about our days
- documenting how Magnolia has grown or changed each day
- attending Weight Watchers meetings on Saturdays
- going to sleep when Magnolia does (the to do list will be there tomorrow)
Doing these things each day (or week) keeps me whole and helps me to live a balanced life. Sending Magnolia to daycare this week was incredibly hard but I know she’ll be ok. It helps me to know that a lot of women do it, the kids will be ok, and it won’t be like this forever. Yes, I’ll be ok too, but for now, it’s hard.
Today, do something special for a mom! Whether it’s your mom, a mom you know, or for yourself, do something kind for a mom around you. It might just make a hard day sweeter, for you and for them.