Can a mama really have it all? Be present with her family while having a thriving career and personal life?
These questions have been circling my mind as of late. As mentioned in my last Keeping up with Kat, I’ve always struggled with the age old quest of balance in my life. But I’ve been struggling with that more so recently.
It all stemmed from a few weeks ago, when I found myself helper-less. Now before we cue Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River”, let me firstly say that I recognise what a blessing and privilege it is to have a helper in Hong Kong. Then let me preface this whole spiel by saying that my family lives in Canada and I don’t have extra help like grandparents, aunts and uncles or even drop in day-cares readily available. I honestly don’t know how some people do it and I salute those who are killin’ it on that end. But I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s simply impossible to do 100% of both. And by both I mean, 100% stay at home mum (present in all family related things) and 100% working mum (while also maintaining a personal life).
I found myself feeling torn at many moments this past month. If I devoted all my time to my work, my kids and husband were neglected. If I focused all my time on my family, then my work suffered. And let’s not even get started with my New Year’s resolution of going to the gym on a regular basis. I barely had time to squeeze in date night or go out with friends. Gosh, I barely had time to sleep. It always felt like when I focused on one area a tad bit more, all the other areas would feel the repercussions. (Oh yeah, it’s getting #real up in here!)
I’m sure I’m not the only out there who feels like they’re juggling a million balls or wearing multiple hats at once. There were several nights this month, where I laid awake (even though I knew I would need to wake up in a few hours) thinking about the never ending list of things I had to do. Meet this deadline, book that appointment, message this friend, schedule in that playdate, FaceTime my family, order my groceries etc. Why is it that everything you forget to do during the day pops up right before you need to sleep?!
On one particular night, I reminded myself to message a group of dear friends whom I had been wanting to check in with for a while now. I knew that if I didn’t do it right away, I would forget again. We’re scattered all over the world but there’s this tiny window of time where we’re all awake.
One of them mentioned that I had been a little MIA lately and asked me how I’ve been. What was meant to be a quick “hello” text ended up being a huge therapy sesh where I basically unloaded all this guilt I had been feeling. And as good girlfriends do, she sent me an article she had read recently that was written by a mumma who was feeling similarly. You know those moments in life when you know nothing happens by coincidence? Well, this was definitely one of those moments.
That article spoke to me so much and I was basically a hot mess by the end of that piece. The author addresses mums like myself (basically the early 30-something mums with more than one kiddo in the toddler age range) and offers empathy and encouragement. She hit the nail on the head when she talked about all the guilt one can feel in a day and just how mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting this stage of life can be. However, one thing she did remind me of was that even though this season in my life is beyond hectic, it’s a still a season. And with all seasons, they come to an end.
There will only be a window of time that I can pick up both of my kids at the same time and have them fit perfectly on my lap. There will only be a window of time when both of them still want to cuddle, hug and shower me with kisses. There will only be a window of time when they need me for every day basic things like being fed and having their shoes tied. Their biggest problems now are if I cut up their food the wrong way or if I turned on Peppa Pig and they wanted to watch Paw Patrol instead. There will come a day when their problems become significantly bigger like heartbreak or failure…
There will also come a day when these two precious babes of mine grow up and leave home to start their own families. The husband and I will be alone again and I don’t want to suddenly realise that I had not invested in one of the most important relationships in my life. We need to be intentional… to date one another, pursue one another and make our relationship a priority.
I was also reminded what a privilege it is to be doing something I love to do as my work. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to learn, grow and stay challenged. It’s humbling. It’s also something I want my kids to see me model. I want them to see their mama and papa hustle and work hard but also stay grounded and open to learn new skills.
At the end of my reflections, I was left feeling bittersweet. There really is no perfect balance you can achieve. What’s most important is being present while wearing whatever hat you’re wearing that day, mamas. Motherhood is hard… but this season is fleeting and I’m hanging onto these early years with all I’ve got.
If you feel the same way or have a different perspective on the “balancing act” and want to write about it, I’d love to hear from you! Contact me at [email protected]