I always knew I’d be a working mom. Our family needs it financially but, more importantly, I need it mentally. One of my favorite moments of the week is Monday mornings when I reach my desk and sit and drink my coffee quietly while my computer wakes up. It’s a wonderful respite after a weekend with two loud, small-ish children in a messy, small-ish house. I’m happy with my life and my choices, and having my kids in daycare from an early age is what worked for our family. But it has taken me almost six years to come to terms with some of the sacrifices that come along with this choice.
Whether you are a working mom, a stay at home mom, a working from home mom, or a mix of these things, it is impossible to reap the benefits of all of them at once. Figuring out and accepting the balance that works for you and your family is, in my opinion, one of the greatest challenges of parenting.
For us, this means that I will never have a clean and tidy house because even though this drives me crazy, cleaning is simply not what I want to spend my time doing when I’m at home. It means that my kids will eat hot lunches at school (and complain about it) because I just can’t add packing lunch boxes to the already chaotic mornings in our house. It means that there are many fun activities that we cannot participate in because they take place during the workday. It means that my kids often eat dinner late, don’t bathe as much as they should, and go to bed late because evenings are short and the grown-ups are tired.
But it also means that my kids have a happier, calmer mom and my husband has a much nicer wife. My kids have incredible social skills and no fear of new situations. We have money to spend on fun stuff and access to very cool cultural opportunities because of where I work.
I have grown to accept that I cannot excel at all the things. I’m not going to vacuum the house or clean the kitchen counters or wash the towels or bathe the kids right now because you know what? I don’t want to. And I’m finally okay with that.