Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Worry and Inadequacy In Their Place

You know you're a working mom when....

-You think about work stuff when you're at home and home stuff when you're at work.

And, even worse,

-You WORRY about work stuff when you're at home and home stuff when you're at work.

When I first went back to work after my maternity leave, I worried.  I had an exclusively breastfed baby that wouldn't take a bottle, and I was therefore trying (against my better judgement) to get around her tongue thrust instinct and teach her to take solids so she wouldn't scream for 6 hours straight at my mom's.  I finally got to the point where I knew the days were no longer torturous for either of them.  But I still worried.

Then I realized: that's the nature of this life.  You will always worry.  You can find the best babysitter, daycare, school, etc for your child.  But you will still wonder if they are okay, you will still wonder if their needs are being met.

You will still wonder if you are damaging them beyond belief if you work for a living.

Once I realized that worry was a part of everyday life, I immersed myself in my job and let the worry just hang out on my shoulder.

Then, came the next realization: You will always feel inadequate.  You can work hard all day long, but you know the reality for most of us is that there is still work to do at the end of the day.  You pack it into your work bag, and go pick up the kid.  Evenings are fraught with evening-stuff: dinner, bath, fights over TV, and bed - more for the older-kid crowd.  Finally after bedtime you either want to crawl in bed yourself or try to relax, catch up on blogs or TV, or actually (gasp!) clean the house, do dishes and laundry, and pay bills.  The next morning at work you pull all the stuff back out of your bag that you never got to, and the inadequate feeling settles over you.

Once I realized that inadequacy was a part of everyday life, I decided to try to do the best job I could and let the feeling just run away.  I strive for "good enough" at work, and slightly better at home, since that's my priority at this stage of my life.  Because the myth of being everything to everyone is impossible to try to live up to.  I just want to be the best I can be for one particular person: my Wee One.  And good enough will just have to suffice for everyone else.


Sarah said...

It's amazingly hard, isnt it, the balance. I have no option but to work, but I fret over it. I fret over everything. Mainly all the grey area, which seems to be almost everything with parenting :)


Delia said...

Thanks for this post...I am such an overachiever...I am worried even before my wee one is here that something will get neglected but I am determined it won't be my little guy.

Funky Mama Bird said...

I hate admitting that I always feel inadequate, but it is so true. There is always something that gets overlooked. Always and it drives me insane, but there it is.

andrea said...

working and being a mom at the same time has been the hardest thing i have ever done!

your whole post is awesome! and, it's okay to not get it ALL done becusae for them, we are good enough!


Cape Girl said...

I love your blog! I found you though ICLW. I'm definitely leaning towards cloth diapering and I love that you done so many posts on the options!

Susan DiMickele said...

Visiting from WMW! Thanks for being so honest. I can totally relate. Is there ever a moment when I'm not worrying about work or home or both?

Lisa said...

I agree with the "good enough" status. My house is never as tidy as my house was when I was growing up, but I don't have the housekeeper my mother had to help her. My meals are never as calm, my clothes never as well-ironed, my childrens' hair never as neat. They ARE good enough. The kids are bright, happy and healthy and that is what matters most.

However, inadequate isn't a word I like or would use, because it means "NOT good enough." Simply by deciding and embracing the idea that not everything has to be perfect, allows you to believe in yourself as a great mother regardless. No matter how tired, unfinished, or disorganized you are at the end of each day, you have worked and played hard and you are a great Mom. Believe it.

Lisa (ICLW #86)

Anonymous said...

Great post. I will be a working mom a few months after my baby is born, and I'm already worried about it! I hope to try to focus on work at work and home at home, but I already struggle to do that.

I'm glad I found your blog. I keep going back on cloth diapering, and see that you've got some resources here that will help me make my decision.

Serifm said...

I think most people are satisfied with good enough, anyway. If they're sitting around thinking, "Is MommieV really giving me ALL her heart and soul and energy or is she just winging it?" those people need hobbies.

Lara said...

I was delighted to find your blog. I am also a choice mom. Working has always been hard and finding the balance is impossible. Thanks for saying that out loud!

Julia said...

it is so hard to find a balance. i used to try to read blogs at work and do other fun stuff, but i find that when i'm at work, i have to do work stuff b/c that will make me a better employee.

and at home, i do home stuff!! so hard to balance and juggle though.

and i always forget about your cloth tushie tuesday meme. i want to do it but i keep forgetting!!

MommieV said...

Ernie - do cloth! It's amazing how easy it is to do, especially from the start. Also, remember that it's not an all-or-nothing thing. Lots of mamas do sposies the first 6 weeks or so whie getting their bearings (me included) and then do cloth after that. In fact, common advice on our Cloth Tushie Tuesday has been to keep some disposables on hand to use when you need/want to. I don't find cloth to be any harder, so I've only ever done sposies to keep from using diaper cream on the cloth diapers, but know that it's not supposed to be something to make things harder, and it's okay to use disposables when you need/want to.

Julia - this week we are going to talk about convincing others to cloth diaper - do you have a hubby, babysitter, etc that you had to get on board with cloth diapering, and how did that go. We'd love to have you link up!

Pixie said...

Yikes. I have a hard enough time finding balance between work/life without a little one. Wondering how I'm going to do it WITH a little one! Thanks for your honesty. Reality checks like this bring comfort to those of us who have yet to cross this bridge.
Cheese Curds and Kimchi