I do everything 100%. I don’t know how to half-ass anything. (Well, maybe the dishes. I like to just shove those into the dishwasher and hope that the machine can melt off the cheese.) So, when I found out I was pregnant in 2001, I knew that I would be 100% mom.
I dove in with cloth diapers and glass bottles. I took my kid (and then kids) everywhere with me because I had no built-in help system. I cut my own hair for almost seven years because once I took my little baby into the hair salon with me. I watched all those hairs floating around and worried about him breathing them in.
In 2008 I started my own business. So, I had an outlet. And I could manage my own schedule to align with my husband’s 9-5 M-F work week, so babies didn’t need outside care. While my kids were tiny I joined groups and boards and I volunteered.
Once my kids started school I had more time during the day to get more done. My business also grew, so I had to stop volunteering. And then my boys started expressing their own interests. I was shuffling them to piano lessons, guitar lessons, soccer practice, baseball games etc.
And I began to resent my station in life. Yes, I was a mom. But I didn’t want to be JUST a mom anymore. My creative juices were flowing. I wanted to grow my business, but could only do so during the hours of 8-3. After that I had to feed my guys, drive them around, cheer wildly, help with homework and tuck them in at night. I was a person divided.
I called having kids the “plexiglass ceiling.” I could see all of my hopes and dreams for my business on the other side of that plexiglass. But I couldn’t go for it because as soon as I came close, someone had to be somewhere and I was their only hope of getting there.
(Because let’s not ignore the fact that sometimes kid activities require a ride at like 3:30pm. Which is great when there’s an available parent- but what about those who work until 5- or later. Successful work-life balance is impossible with these expectations that the children can arrive in places during “regular” business hours.)
There was a time that I really stewed about parenthood. I felt exhausted and unappreciated. I was tired of chasing the dangling carrot that was just on the other side of the plexiglass. I toyed with the idea of working for someone else and setting myself free from my own business. Maybe squelching ambition would ease my duality. I dabbled and worked for others. Wearing someone else’s uniform and having to report on their needed schedules simply did not flow for me.
So, after a couple of years of experimenting, I’m back in the mom/entrepreneur saddle. And I’m so grateful. Granted, my kids are older now, and need less from me at home- but I’m so thankful that I’m back in control of my time. Yes, I still have to get my work done between 8-3 (8-5 during sports seasons). I still have to shuffle them around to practices, games and meets. Lesson learned? It is my honor to have the flexibility to do so.
I only have six more years of this double role, and then I will release my young into the wilderness. I hope that they will be ready. I hope they will be strong. I intend to enjoy the macaroni making, cookie baking, drop offs, pick ups, cheering passionately and homework. And now, my kids tuck me in at night.