I’m working on it…
Balancing my home life with my work life is not easy. I don’t have it mastered, I do feel overwhelmed, and I wonder every day if I am giving enough to my family, and if I am giving enough to my job. In other words, I am still working on…being a working mom.
Before I even got pregnant, I knew I would be a working mom. For one thing, it is what I know. My mom, now a retired biochemist, worked my entire childhood. She was lucky enough to tailor her schedule around my school hours, so she was home in the evening, but she did miss field trips, wasn’t always able to stay home with me when I was sick, and had to send me to summer camp when school wasn’t in session. And to be honest, I didn’t mind. I admired my mom, and felt proud that she had a job that made people ooh and ahh when they found out what she did. I distinctly remember her coming to my classroom in grade school and showing off a petri dish to a room full of kids. They were enthralled at the way the germs on our tiny hands popped up the next day, and grew for a few days after. Gross, yes but very, very cool.
It is also because I love my job that I couldn’t imagine giving it up as soon as a child arrived. I grew up knowing I wanted to be a reporter, and working for CBS and KCAL is truly a dream come true.
But, I think the main reason I never considered being a stay at home mom is because I worked far too long on my career, moving from one tiny town to the next, away from my family and friends, for very little pay. Once I finally got a job that paid, and allowed me to live in a big city, I wasn’t prepared to simply give it up.
I want it all. I want the handsome husband, manicured lawn, adorable kid, and amazing job. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Um, I think it may be. When I am at home, I worry I should be setting up stories or making calls, and when I am at work, I worry that I am thinking too much about what is going on at home. How can I give 100% to my work, and my boys (Griffin and Mike)?
Just last Friday, I was off work, enjoying dinner with my baby, my husband and my mom at our favorite local deli. Mid way through my BLT, my cell rang. It was a relative of the woman accused of trying to drown both of her young daughters earlier that week. One daughter, who was the same age as my son, was dead, the other, just 5 years old was in critical condition at Children’s hospital. He told me the woman’s husband, and father to the girls, wanted to do an interview, and I should get to the hospital right away. What did I do? I packed up our food, and asked my husband and mom to put my son to bed, which they did without question. They, like I knew this was a big interview, and I could be getting an exclusive on a story that had led all of our newscasts all week. Did I have second thoughts? Sure. I felt bad for leaving my family for work, but I also knew that I would have the next 3 days to cuddle, spoil and enjoy my son (and my husband). And I make it a point to put Griffin to bed every night, so if I miss a day or two, I figure it gives my husband the opportunity to bond with him.
When I got home I was tired, and spent but my husband told me I did a great job, and my son was happy to see me the next morning. I pleased my bosses, and I made my boys proud (even if Griffin is too young, yet to know what I do).
I am learning that I will probably never feel like I am the perfect mom and wife, and employee. I am lucky enough to spend 3 to 4 days a week at home, and 3 to 4 at work (I have been mostly part time since returning from maternity leave). I am grateful my bosses work with my schedule, and don’t fire me if I can’t always come in on a moment’s notice when I am with my son. And I am grateful my son and mom (who cares for Griffin while I am at work) don’t get upset with me when I need to work late, or change our plans to accommodate a work-related commitment.
Let me be clear, I don’t look down on stay at home moms, or think I work harder than they do. Both working moms and stay at home moms end the week exhausted, physically and emotionally spent, and stretched to their limits, only to do it all again the next week. Staying at home just wasn’t for me..at least right now.
It’s a constant balancing act, but I think I am starting to get the hang of it. And I hope one day, when I go to Griffin’s school and talk about covering the latest breaking news story or driving around in a big live van (oh, and maybe I will tell the kids I get to meet celebrities and presidents), he will be proud of me, too.
How do you balance work and family? And if you chose to stay home, what influenced your decision?