Lately I have been thinking a lot about priorities. Somehow, the hours of each day slip away even quicker than the one before. I wake up and immediately hit the ground running (literally squeezing in my workout before my eyes have even completely opened), yet my to-do list remains untouched.
Being a working mom is hard. That is not to say being a stay at home mom is easy (quite the contrary, as the weeks that I was home on maternity leave were some of the most challenging weeks of my life). However, working full-time means time away from my family, which makes the hours that I am home all the more precious. It means that sometimes dishes remain unwashed and laundry piles up because I want to spend time with my daughter. It means my time over the weekends are priceless and sometimes (most times) I’d rather choose to stay in than go out.
My weeks are crazy. I not only work full-time, but I work many nights as well (often meaning I will be gone until after 9:00 p.m). A typical day for me may mean waking up at 4:30 a.m., feeding the baby, squeezing in a run (finishing before 6:00 a.m.), and leaving for work by 7:30 a.m. On days that I know are going to be long I try to come home for a few hours, but that is not always possible. I then will go back to work and not return home until 9:30 p.m. (or sometimes later). On days that I don’t have meetings I am often so exhausted that I fall asleep early. I enjoy my job. My employer is understanding. But it doesn’t always stop the mom guilt.
Which has got me thinking a lot about priorities.
Obviously my family is my top priority, however, I’ve realized that I can’t always be a good family member (mom, wife, daughter, sister) if I don’t have “me” time. I am fortunate enough to have an incredibly supportive spouse who supports me in my endeavors – but it is still far from easy. Most of my “me time” comes at the expense of an extra hour or two of sleep. I will disappear for a few hours on a Saturday morning for my long run, but still manage to make it home shortly after the rest of the family has awaken. I do often treat myself to coffee with friends on those mornings, but even then I have to fight off the guilt that I should be home.
Work poses its own challenges. I am constantly trying to find the balance to be career motivated while still trying not to miss a moment in my daughter’s life. Some days I think I have it all figured out. Other days (especially when I feel like I am missing milestones) are much harder. I know that I am not alone in this struggle.
I don’t have the answers. To be honest, I’m not sure that there are any. But there is comfort in realizing that balance is not about having every area in our lives equally full at all times. Rather, it’s about being okay with the fact that there will be ebbs and flows. The important thing is knowing that your best is good enough.