When I was pregnant with my son, I was looking forward to being a stay at home mom. To be completely honest I thought that it would be easy. I would get to stay at home with my kids, take advantage of different play dates, meet new moms, and watch my kids meet their milestones. I couldn’t wait to devout all my time to them, and never have to worry about working outside the home.
After my son was born I was very busy. We were going out a lot, and I was catching up on chores and e-mails when he was napping. We had a great routine. But as he got older I started to question whether I wanted to stay at home or not. I was enjoying my time with my son, but I felt like there was something missing.
I started to explore these new feelings. I felt like I was torn between wanting to stay at home full time and pursing other goals. I was swimming in diapers, feedings and sleep schedules, and found I needed a break from my mommy role. I wasn’t rushing out to get a job but I started to explore other options that allowed me to stay at home with my son, but also stay busy while he was napping during the day. I wanted to help out financially too so all the financial burden didn’t fall on my husband’s shoulders. Most of all I wanted to find a job that I was passionate about.
I started working online as a Project Manager and Virtual Assistant. Every day I was challenging myself, learning new ideas and concepts. I was conversing with team members and clients about websites, newsletters, and social media, and really enjoying the networking. After struggling to find what I was passionate about for so many years, I had finally found the perfect fit for me. Now that I was a mom, could I find the balance for both?
My boss understood I had a family and the schedule was flexible, fitting easily into our routine. Being a mother herself, she encouraged me to work around my son’s schedule. I couldn’t believe that I found the balance that I was looking for.
Over the last year my son’s routine has changed, therefore changing my work schedule. There were days that I had to stay up later to ensure my work was getting done, but I knew that it was a sacrifice I needed to make in order to maintain my workload and be with me son when he was awake.
Eventually the balance that I once had was completely lost. My spare time was dwindling, and I felt like I couldn’t keep up. I was exhausted trying to keep up with work and not allowing it interfere with my time with my son.
After some soul searching and A LOT of mommy guilt I realized I couldn’t do it all. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to be a full time stay at home mom, and a work at home mom. My problem was I was seeing them as mutually exclusive; I could only do one or the other at a given time.
I was struggling with feeling like I was neglecting my son over work when I did need to catch up once in awhile. I didn’t want to let him down by taking time away from us. I was trying to do it all instead of asking for help. There is no quick guide to being a successful work at home mom. What if I was doing it wrong? Some days I wished I had a job outside of the house so the decision was easier for me, being more cut and dry. But I know that’s not the case. The grass is always greener on the other side.
After a lot of brainstorming I finally found a solution for me and my family. I knew all along what I needed to do, but felt that I would be judged if I didn’t make the right decision. It came down to finding that balance in my life again. In the end, I know I made the right decision and my family supports so I couldn’t ask for more.
Have you ever struggled with working outside or inside the home while raising a family? How did you find the balance between parenting and working? Did you ever feel any guilt as a parent?
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I describe what we did to find this balance again. Its A Work In Progress.