As the mother of a one-year-old who works over fifty hours a week the thought of balancing work and motherhood often arises for me. My son was born in July 2019 and to be honest, I never really stopped working. I remember going through my invoices for 2019 and seeing that I was sending out invoices to clients in August, which means I was back to work right after my son was born. Crazy.
I remember looking at that invoice and thinking to myself what was I thinking about working with a newborn. But there were two reasons I kept working: As a business owner, I didn’t qualify for maternity leave pay and work had become part of my identity and honestly felt like something I could do that was just for me in the first year of my son’s life.
With all that said, it’s never been easy. I’ve had to learn a few things and I would love to share them with you. Let’s look at a few things I learned about balancing work and motherhood in the first year of my son’s life.
Let go of the idea of balance
This has been a really important one for me. You have a baby and then boom- all of the sudden there is this sweet little life who needs you for literally everything. Your sleep is affected, life feels brand new and your world has done a 180. You have this new priority that at least until they are of school age (maybe older? I haven’t gotten there yet lol!) won’t allow for much balance in your world. So now is the time to let it go.
One of my other big discoveries this year is how little sleep I actually need to function. While I value and put high importance on my sleep if there is ever a situation where I need to burn the midnight oil I flash back to those newborn days and remind myself whatever it takes, I can manage it.
Don’t think about it too much
My mom preaches this one to me a lot and it has gotten me through the days when I feel like I can’t breathe because of all that is on my plate. Focus on the task at hand and don’t think about all that is left to do. This thought process shift made all the difference when it came to pushing through when it felt impossible to. I would do a little and if it came down to it, I would reorganize tasks and deadlines. Mental health really is of the utmost importance and when life is affecting your peace it is critical to stop and get some perspective.
Be gentle with yourself
This one can not be said enough. Being gentle with yourself is the difference between I’m the worst mom and I’m trying my best. We tend to be so harsh and not as mindful with our words when we are talking to ourselves, but those conversations that go on in your mind are powerful. So, don’t make a hard situation harder by using unkind words towards yourself.
Work on being present in every moment.
In the moments I do get to spend with my son and partner it makes all the difference to be fully present at that moment. It makes the three hours feel like a quality time where I get to indulge in my son’s interests and connect with my love. I try my best to let anyone who could contact me know that I have certain boundaries in place to avoid any issues.
There you have it my take on balancing work and motherhood. If I can reiterate one major take away from this it would be no matter what be gentle with yourself. Being a working mother is no joke, and we really don’t give ourselves enough credit for all that we do.