I’ve been a mom for almost two decades, and for most of those twenty years, I didn’t bring home a paycheck. At all. Tax time was easy because my husband’s W-2 form was all we needed to file our taxes.
I was grateful, of course, to be home with my little ones, but deep down, I missed teaching. Yes, I taught my kids at home. One end of our living room was converted to a “learning room,” complete with the kind of wall posters you’d find in an elementary classroom. I taught my kids how to read and write and add and subtract and just about everything else too.
But there were days when the boredom of playing Candy Land for the umpteenth time made me want to eat whatever candy I could get my hands on.
I missed being in the classroom, the kind where my students were old enough to read novels and write whole paragraphs.
Then a few years ago, I returned to work. And it was everything I remembered and more. I absolutely love my job. My schedule is perfect really. I teach composition and rhetoric as a part time professor.
Part time. In a real classroom. With students who can read whole books.
It’s my dream job.
But you know what I’ve discovered all over again?
No matter how “part time” my schedule may be, it’s just plain hard to juggle my “mom job” with my “work job.” <Tweet this!>
There are days when my kids are home for a holiday—like Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President’s Day and, oh yeah, all of Spring Break—but I still need to be on campus to teach my classes. We don’t have the same days off from school.
So my husband and I have become a champion tag-team. He takes “vacation days” to be with the kids when I have to work.
By the end of the semester, he’s out of vacation, and I’m out of sorts. I look around my house as if I’m seeing it for the first time in months. All I see is mess. When was the last time I dusted the blinds? Or washed out that plastic container-thingy that holds all the silverware?
When I’m working, I’m able to keep up with the laundry and dishes—most of the time. But the “deep cleaning” has to wait.
My mess has to wait.
All this is to say nothing of maintaining a blog either. I’ve been completely negligent where my blog is concerned. I don’t know how some folks are able to do it all. Seriously. Five new blog posts a week? Plus tons of interaction on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Instagram?
My blog has collected dust like my window blinds. As a working mom, I have to admit: I just can’t do it all. <Tweet this!>
I’ll be honest: Sometimes I feel like I’m failing at this whole working mom gig. I feel like a mess. I’m spinning too many plates, and something’s about to drop. I’m not even working full time! Sheesh. How do some women do it all? It’s not like I have a dozen kids or anything! What’s my deal?
I confess that I have way too many alarms set on my iPhone to remind me of all the things I’m likely to forget. Wednesdays are early dismissal day. Flag football is on Friday. (The alliteration helps me out there.) And ballet (for the kid who’s not in flag football) is on Tuesday and Saturday.
And you know what the really funny thing is? The tagline on my blog used to be Keeping a Slower Pace on a Simpler Path. It wasn’t just a tagline either. It was my passion and a very real way of life. I believed it. I lived it.
So what happened to my slower pace on a simpler path?
I started working. That’s what happened.
Being a working mom is tough. And I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit that I don’t have it all together. <Tweet this!>
But I’m not giving up on that slower pace and simpler path either. Maybe it’s a good thing that I let my blog and my blinds collect a little dust once in a while. Maybe that means I’m choosing to play a board game with my kids instead. And you know the best part? We’re no longer playing Candy Land. (I could cry I’m so happy about this.) Last month I taught my kids how to play RISK. You know, the one where you take over the world? Yeah, that one. We had a blast.
For real . . . I’m not about to take over the world. And I sure don’t have all the answers for working moms, but I am starting to think that it’s okay to let a little dust collect once in a while. Especially to play with my kids.
Do you ever feel like you’re failing at the “working mom” thing?
You’re not alone!
Share your favorite working mom tip in the comments.
Today, I’m joining Lisa-Jo, taking 5+ minutes to write about “mess.”