Today I took the baby to visit my workplace. It was so nice to see everyone and show off my new little man. The strange part was seeing how everything was moving on without me. There is a lot of changes happening and I am at home knowing nothing about it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not an integral part of the process. I didn’t expect the whole place to stop moving once I went on leave but seeing how the world kept on going got me thinking.
I have taken an extended leave from work and since I am in Canada that means when I go back my youngest will be 18 months old. Obviously, I am very lucky. We will be past the hardest part when I return but parenting doesn’t end there. When I return to work in September 2018 I will still be the mother of three. I will also be a University student and have two jobs (both of which mean a lot to me). When I think I about it I get hives. It is a scary thought but I also know I have done it before (although with one less child). This time last year I was a full-time University student with two jobs and two kids. I got through it, and so did they. I would like to think we are all better because of it.
This made me think about how we (Moms) can have it all. A career, a family, a life and in my case a student career and I have come to a very important conclusion. We can’t do everything 100% all of the time. Accepting that is the secret to our success.
I am on maternity leave and will be for over a year. Right now my motherhood bucket is full. I am giving 90% to being a mother and 10% to trying to have a life outside the home. There is only a total of 100% of me so I need to split myself at some point. In a few months I will be starting University courses, so there goes another few percentages. How much of me goes to that will depend on how difficult it proves to be. In March 2018 I will return to one of my jobs and because it is a casual position at a job I have been doing forever I expect it will take just a little bit of me away from motherhood. Then in September 2018 I am returning to my fulltime job. This is where the real sacrifices will come. My time will eaten up and I expect to be exhausted.
Home, school, work, and life will all draw different parts of me at different rates. Those rates will even change depending on the day and the needs of the people and priorities in my life (school is going to get more of me during exams for example).
This isn’t easy. In fact, it is damn scary. Sometimes I really hate that we live in a 2 income world and I can’t stay home with my babies. Sometimes I wish my career could stand still until I usher my youngest off to school. I am terrified I am making mistakes and those mistakes will hurt my children. I wonder if I am doing this correctly because there is no second chances in raising children.
On the other hand I love that I am showing my daughters that girls can do it too. I love that I am working really, really hard and they see that. I love that I am making education important and I hope they can too. I want them to know I value myself as a woman outside of being a mother.
I have discovered the secret to having it all; we can’t. We just can’t have it all, all of the time. It is not possible to give 100% everywhere but we can make decisions as we go and know that we are all doing our best.