Balancing full-time work and two young children at home is more difficult than I expected. Not only is it physically and mentally exhausting to switch gears between work and home, there’s an underlying feeling of guilt of not spending enough time with your kids when you’re a working mom.
I’m at home sick today, so have an unscheduled “day off”. My voice is temporarily lost, so hopefully my boss could hear my voice message saying I won’t be coming in today!
It’s been 3 months now since returning to work after an extended leave and we thought we had it all figured out. One thing we didn’t factor in was how busy and challenging my work life had become in two years. Although I went back to the same job, all the people have changed, responsibilities have increased and so has the volume of meetings. Add to that daily panics when I arrive at work – which usually happen the days I’m running late! – and it’s a recipe for burnout.
We’re doing everything right, or so it seems. Mr. Mama and I take turns cooking for the week and we have someone coming in to clean the house twice a month. Mr. Mama does most of the daycare pickups and dropoffs. Lil M&M are sleeping all night, every night (except for occasional teething episodes). We have help from the Grandparents once a week and on the weekends. We’re on a very tight schedule.
Our morning routine is consistent. I wake up before everyone else to get ready for work and make breakfast. Little Missy wakes up next and we have quality time together while Mr. Mama gets ready. Then it’s Little Mister’s turn to come down for breakfast while Missy and I take off for daycare. Or some mornings I help to see both little ones out the door before hopping into the car myself.
In the evenings, I’m home 10 minutes before the twins which is enough time to get dinner warmed up. Then follows bathtime and an early bed. Some nights I’m even in bed by 8pm.
I found a route to work that cuts down my commute to 35 minutes each way. I spoke to my boss about cutting down on the number of meetings I attend each week, especially those that require commuting.
Other things I do to save time and energy during the week: pack lunch for 2 days; write down daily priorities at work; write up weekly “To Do” list at home; set out the twins clothes for the week; and set out my clothes for the week.
Despite all that, we never see the neighbours, let alone our friends, and barely have time to catch up on the rest of life. Like, submitting an insurance claim for my eyeglasses I bought in the summer, getting the flu shot, scheduling a routine two year checkup with M&M’s doctor, or getting the car rustproofed for winter.
For work, I’m alternating between 2 pairs of pants every day because I can’t find the other two new pairs I bought (or them need hemming). I head out the door with no makeup and every hair out of place. A far cry from my first week back when a co-worker commented on how put-together I looked.
As another twin mom put it, every day is on the edge of chaos. Another mommy with kids of different ages says her life is organized chaos. So true.
I know this is for a short time only because the kids are so young. But that’s the sad part! Every day they seem to grow an inch and learn to talk at an exponential rate. And I’m too tired right now to enjoy it.
That, my friends, is mommy guilt. We all go through it, but what to do about it? I found this helpful article on iVillage.com that talks about it. How do you manage mommy guilt?