I had always dreamed of having kids, (lots of them) and always imagined that I would be a stay at home / work from home mom. However, it has proved to be impossible. In today’s generation, (some of us) are fighting a continuous financial struggle that is ultimately effecting our children’s lives.
Even though I had the privilege of having my Mom look after Jamie for 2 years and Riley for six months, and currently with them going to crèche, they are lucky enough to have Granny pick them up at 2pm every day, It still saddens me to think that I have missed out on the greater part of my kids’ lives.
While I was on maternity leave, I had never been so content. Having the freedom to comfortably look after my children without the fear of inconveniencing the next person, not worrying if you are about to lose your job (okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but that’s they way it feels!) because you chose to stay home and take care of your sick child, and as much as it was not an effortless “holiday” as most people think it is, I felt relaxed. I began to battle with the thought of the dreaded moment I had to return to work.
As I have witnessed, being a stay at home Mom is not for the faint hearted. It is a full day, with no breaks, it is nothing to be compared with; however, the rewards are endless. You get to witness every part of their day and be a part of everything that they are. How I miss that!
Being a full time working mom is a challenge on its own. You unfortunately miss out on those cherished moments you are naturally meant to be a part of. You may miss their first steps, their first call for “mommy”, the first time they clap their hands, or their heart sore cries for your comfort when they are sick. You start to wonder what they must think of you for leaving them for what seems like an entire day.
Waking up in the morning, I prepare the kids for crèche, followed by a long indecisive search through my wardrobe for an acceptable outfit. After I put my face on and get dressed, I rush off to drop them off at crèche (sometimes forgetting the extra nappies or something of great importance – worst mother ever) and make my way through traffic to work. Upon arriving at work, I step into work mode and go about my day hardly thinking of what they could be getting up to and what they could possibly be thinking or feeling. I leave work at 4.30pm to get home by 5pm. I walk in the door – I am drained from my work day, and still trying to recover from the lack of sleep the night before. I see their faces, they smile and they have never been so happy to see me. I realise that I had not thought about them, I was innocently too preoccupied with all that occurred that day, I regret it every time.
Dinner needs to be prepared, Kids need to be fed and bathed, and in all this chaos, I need to find time for them, to force myself to sit down and pay attention to them.
I tuck them into bed and get ready to call it a night. Where has the time gone? I lay in bed thinking about them and wishing I could have spent more time with them and enjoyed their company, yet I was irritable and neglected to pay attention. I am filled with guilt.
Most nights I am woken up by a cry for mommy, or a little tap on the shoulder to climb into my bed and snuggle next to me. I barely glance over as I pull him up on the bed. The sun rises, my alarm sets off into the same monotonous tone every morning (snooze , snooze and snooze again!) , I am tired, but I am a Mom, so we do it all over, again.
The Weekend arrives, and is generally taken up by running errands and trying to catch up with life in general.
Life of a working mom can be difficult. Its drains your energy and dampens your spirit at times. What we naturally seem to forget is the fact that it doesn’t make you less of a mother. You are just as incredible as any other Mom, and in fact, extremely brave to have this ‘job’ that never ends.
We cannot beat ourselves up about it. Especially when it is out of our control and we don’t have the means to change our situation. Accepting that this is the life that was planned for us can be difficult. Change your approach. Embrace it. Embrace these moments that you are blessed enough to be a part of, and the moments that you are fortunate enough to spend with your kids. Make a conscious effort to make time to think about them during your active and occupied day at work, and when you walk in the door and greet them, leave your work-influenced emotions behind. This is important, as negative emotions breed and cling onto those around you, they don’t deserve to endure the consequences of your rough day. All that they innocently longing for is your presence.
Hopefully, by adapting to these habits, you will naturally find a balance and find an order that works for you in your home and everything will fall into place, you might find yourself making time for your kids, your partner, as well as yourself. It may be easier said than done, but not unreasonable nor unimaginable. Remember, you are brave, count your blessings, and always take the opportunities you have available to be present in their lives, enjoy their company (always – yes, even when they drive you crazy), for these moments are unattainable, you cannot reclaim them.
Make them count.