“Mama, please don’t go on your work trip.”
If there were ever words that can stab me right in the heart, those are them.
I love my job. I love my family. And I firmly believe I was put here on this earth to be doing both…working and raising these two little ones.
But since I cannot be two places at once, it’s so easy to feel like I am failing at both my career job and my motherhood job. It’s easy to feel guilty for having a job I love so much. I feel guilty having to say goodbye and crawl on airplanes to go speak on stages. On the flip side, I feel guilty for missing out on some great opportunities because I have to stay home with my kids. I feel like I should be able to publish more and record more and do more in my career. If I am not careful, all I feel is guilt everywhere I look.
And that’s no way to live a life. So, how do I combat this mom guilt?
This year, I have cut back some on work travel. I implemented a rule in my calendar that I will not be gone overnight two weeks in a row. Setting (and sticking to) those boundaries has been helpful. I like to remind myself of a quote I recently read: “The only people who have problems with you setting boundaries are the people who benefitted from you having none.” By having set parameters, it lets me know that I am protecting my family time, while still being able to work hard at my career.
I have also really been focusing on the idea of being present exactly where I am, rather than worrying about where I am not. When I m at the office, I try not to think about not being with my kids. When I am with my kids, I try not to think about the article I need to write or the emails I still have to answer. By focusing on what hat I am wearing and letting go of the other has helped me quite a lot!
I said this on my interview for the Live Your Story Podcast, but I firmly believe that I don’t have to do something just because everyone else does it. I refuse to compare myself to other people with similar jobs and try somehow to measure my success against theirs. I refuse to look at the other pre-school moms and somehow feel inferior if I don’t spend weeks making a Valentine’s Day box. That kind of comparison doesn’t serve anyone.
Lastly, I’ve really reminded myself that doing this job is part of my calling, the same way as is raising my babies. When I focus on God’s purpose for me both places, I find it easier to believe I am right where I need to be.
So to all you other working moms out there trying to balance two worlds, hang in there. Keep going. Set boundaries. Stop comparing. Believe you are doing just what God intended. You are doing so much better than you think you are.