I was inspired by my last hair update as well as Thando’s from Modern Zulu Mom to write a mommy version of an update. My main quest on this new blog of mine is to share more of me and really embrace this platform as a space that’s a more honest reflection of my life.
I had a really rough week last week. When I usually say that, it’s because of one or two things: Kai’s teething so I’m sleep deprived or a meeting didn’t go well or I don’t feel like I’ve spent enough time with my husband. Last week, everything rolled into one, seemingly endless week of stress, fatigue and worst of all, mom guilt. Every once in awhile since going back to work, I get a pang of it but last week it reared its ugly head every day. Increasing in increments until I had a little breakdown at the end of the week. It’s funny how even if only 60% of your life isn’t great, you kind of let it spill out to the rest of your life and then everything feels like crap. Yeah, it was a bad week.
I had to work late most of last week and also on the weekend. Three out of five nights I got home knowing I was walking into a quiet house as it was already past Kai’s bedtime. In the mornings I’d be rushing to go back to work to try and avoid working late again. Kai’s currently going through some separation anxiety and cries when he sees me leaving. Usually, I know it’s ok because I’ve spent the morning with him and will spend the evening with him too. Every time he’d do that this past week my heart would sink. I’d be on my way home praying he was waiting for me to put him to bed, I wouldn’t even mind if he was cranky-tired. I just wanted to have those moments with him. Bedtime is our time. And although me working late isn’t a regular occurrence, it got me thinking about the whole debate of whether working moms could have it all. What is ‘all’ though? Is it having a social life, job, friends, hobbies, partner and family? Or is it being balanced in it? To which for me I’m currently struggling to see how the latter happens.
In my blogging life, I’m also juggling a lot, which I’m really grateful for but trying to figure out the balance there too. I recently took part in the launch of a big brand and was one of the influencers in the gallery they showcased at the event. I’d been looking forward to seeing the final portraits the whole week, only to have to face the fact that I wasn’t able to take that time off of work to attend. I hated calling the organiser to tell her I wouldn’t make it and I had to experience the launch via social media. I was very proud of being a part of the campaign so it was a really hard pill to swallow.
At home, besides me being absent, our water was cut for four whole days because of a burst pipe in our neighbourhood. And to add salt to the wound, on the second waterless day, the power went out. Lovely. No water to clean Kai’s bottles and no power to sterilise them. Never mind the fact that it’s the coldest week of the year so far. So we stayed at my in-laws until everything was restored. I wish it was that easy for the mom guilt part.
Why do we as women feel so guilty when we have to do things other than spending time with our kids? Obviously, work is important, so are our passions, and other things, right? In 2017, people keep saying that women can have it all but I’m currently not experiencing that. I messaged my friends (fellow mommies and wives) on Friday, and told them that I don’t think we can have it all. I feel like, we as women, have to choose. You’re either a doting mom or you’re a career woman. Then you have the judgment of ‘she’s just a stay at home mom’ or the opposite ‘you’re being selfish for choosing your career over having children’. There’s just no winning is there? And even if you manage to do both, one will always be much more of a priority than the other. The world is still very much a man’s world. And as much as fathers are becoming more modern and very involved in childcare (I see you Kevin O’Reilly), society’s expectations on mothers is still much higher than those of fathers. So we definitely bear the brunt of feeling the guilt. We’re not necessarily paid equally, but we’re expected to perform just as well as our male counterparts in the workplace. Yet, when it comes to parenting, mothers still carry more of the load, whether you’re working or not is almost irrelevant. There’s a huge gap in expectations and I wonder if I’ll ever figure it out.
I’d love to know if and how you’re balancing it ‘all’. Please share below.
Photo by Carike Ridout.