Work + Life Balance

I’m probably late for something.

It’s called a ‘super inside joke’ – an inside joke between you and yourself!  I Googled it because I was starting to think I was the only one that did that.  Sometimes being a mom with young kids you can go an entire day not having one full adult conversation and when you add in working from home well, sometimes I lose track.

It’s quiet in my living room, my husband is watching something on tv and I’m scrolling through line sheets for spring [it’s 22 degrees outside so this means I’m ahead of schedule].  Both of my kids and the dog are asleep, no one is coughing or trying to eat the needles off the Christmas tree [dog]. Tomorrow is the last day of school before the break so for my daughters class it’s pajama day – this is good news because it will save us about 30 minutes in her morning routine.  There are no emails in my inbox labeled ‘URGENT’ in all caps and I dropped off the last shipments at the post office this morning.

So, when everything is calm and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself, I grin and say: I’m probably late for something. *

It’s my ‘motherhood mantra’ – just slightly more sarcastic than “om” because honestly if I don’t add my own humor in sometimes it can get overwhelming.  Everyone is striving for their own version of work-life integration these days with lines drawn between ‘work’ and ‘life’ but as moms we learn very quickly these categories get very blurry, very fast.  The thing about this mom club that I didn’t realize early on is that we’re invisible a lot of the time. Much of the ‘life’ stuff that gets done would fit better into the ‘work’ category and most of it goes unacknowledged.  We are constantly skipping that self-care thing, but still manage to feel guilty about the things we missed.

I’m realizing, that at least for me, the key to making it work is authenticity. The times when I’ve felt most balanced have almost always been when I wasn’t trying to be one of the millions of titles put on me on any given day. This of course is not an easy feat when you’re overtired and overwhelmed but as pregnancy and motherhood has undoubtedly taught you – you can do hard things [much harder than you ever knew]!

This past year, I learned my Enneagram type is a 3, the achiever. Type 3’s at their best are optimistic, efficient and self-propelled but because we are motivated to achieve I tend to see myself as valuable mostly for what I am able to do. At it’s most stressed this personality type is often misunderstood as inauthentic – cool, the exact opposite of what I was going for!

But, the skillset that I gained with motherhood, which I wholeheartedly thought would hold me back professionally, has actually made me – more resilient, more outspoken, more perceptive, more understanding, more engaged in what matters and more determined to be a sustainable role model for my family.

Side note about role models: We need our daughters to see us not being perfect or always trying to be. If we want our girls to be self-assured women they need role models that show them how to bounce back when they inevitably mess up. Topic for another time!

As we navigate into a new year, as a band of new moms, expectant moms, 2nd, 3rd or 4th time moms [whether you’re scribbling your appointment time down with a crayon or taking a work call while sitting in the pharmacy drive-thru] – here’s an official invite to anyone that wants in on my super inside joke. I’m happy to share it because you’re probably late for something too!

*On that particularly quiet night it was my daughter’s pajamas that I had forgotten to take out of the washing machine!

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