I suppose it means somehow achieving a happy medium between work and home. But how does that work exactly? You could go about your day, perfectly content with the way things are going. You get your perfect cup of tea, your boss is happy with you, no one (at home or work) has killed each other, the bills are paid, you make a few extra splurges which won't affect your monthly credit balance and everything looks peachy... But like most things, this won't last.
One day, you realize you have to get to a meeting at 11 am and your kid's swim meet starts at 1030am. You know your child wants you to be there since he has reminded only 10 times this morning alone. When you somehow manage to pass the meeting to your work colleague and run into the school, you pass by some pretty posters made by your son's class. They all read how much they love their moms. Some read "My mom is so beautiful..." and draw a cute slim mum with bows in her hair and the sun shining overhead. Some posters have "My mom is a princess warrior" depicting a woman with a crown and a sword. What does your son draw "My mom is a hard worker" and shows a frazzled mom with a rushed look on her face as she runs to the car? Yup, you've made it.
But listen, it is not all gloom and doom. You're doing a great job. I know you need to hear that. Being away from your kids is not easy and hey, if you're the sole breadwinner in your family like me, who else will do it if not you? So you are a miracle worker, in anyone's eyes. It is one of the hardest things to do, and I know because I am you.
You need to know you are not alone in this struggle. Working Mom, the workforce is full of women like you – whether you are a tea plucker in a tea estate, or the marketing executive trying to hit the monthly targets. We are strong, determined mamas who are trying to set out to do the best for her family and hopefully enjoy ourselves along the way. I know there are days, you feel you cannot win. There are days you succeed at work, and you feel like a failure at home. You feel like everything you do away from your kids outside of work becomes a choice between that thing and seeing your kids that day. You wish you had more me time than just the commute to and from your workplace. You long for more time with your kids while at the same time, you wish it were their bedtime so you can wash the dishes, pick up the toys, prepare for the next day, and go to bed yourselfYou wish days were 36 hours instead of 24.
But you're really not alone when you're teaching your kids—engaging them, rocking them, laughing with them, crying with them, and showing them the difference between right and wrong. You do this every day, Mama. You kiss boo-boos, shoo away monsters, sing silly songs, and read one more bedtime story (and skip pages so you can get to the end quicker). You cherish your time with them and tell them you love them at every opportunity.
You're not alone when you're trying to figure out how to buy groceries, cook dinner, wash the dishes, clean the house, do the laundry, run the errands, and basically just keep your house running in addition to working, commuting, and spending quality time with your kids. You're not alone when you're struggling to physically and mentally relax because there's always something to be done. A mother's work is never done, Mama. You know that better than anyone.
Mama, you're building the world for your kids. You're shaping who they will become by setting the example that it is possible to have it all—that, while difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible, you can balance work and family. You're a world builder. Sure, you have to sacrifice some other things along the way, Mama, but your kids know you love them, and they're learning from you every day. One day they'll know that even if you're doing it because you want to when it comes down to it, you do it all for them.
Working Mom, don't worry about the judgmental people out there. They could be other Working Moms like you, miraculously balancing it all. They could be the SAHM (Stay At Home Moms) who either secretly envies you for having a life outside the home or judge you for leaving your kids. You are doing amazing, and you will continue to do so.
Create a team of people around you – whether it be your mother, your dreaded mother in law (who can surprisingly be on your side when it comes to the grandchildren – most of the time), your domestics – daily help, live in nanny, driver. You need them to help you but don't feel guilty you are not there yourself for these things. You are not alone.
Which brings back to my original point (they don't call me the Rambler for nothing), what is work-life balance? I believe it is truly doing the best you can with the circumstances you have dealt with. Not all days will be perfect, and there will be sobs from mother and child but you've done your best and that's what counts.
We're great mothers, Working Mom.
We're doing the best we can.
We've got this.