Balancing work and motherhood, does anyone really think they do it well? Is it even possible to truly balance it all? Children’s musician Laurie Berkner recently wrote a song about what it means to her. As I read the lyrics, I found myself laughing out loud and nodding in agreement with so much of it. I appreciate her putting this out there for other parents like me to relate to.
I love how Laurie is so honest in her admission that she doubts herself and feels a lot of guilt. It’s refreshing when someone openly talks about these things since it seems like a lot of moms feel that they need to appear outwardly like they have it all together. This perpetuates the idea that we can and should be all things to all people, all of the time. It would be nice if we could let go of some of the self-doubt. Are we as moms just programmed to feel guilty and to constantly second-guess ourselves?
I share in her appreciation of those sweet moments where I’m snuggling my child on the couch and soaking her in but then my mind inevitably wanders to back to my ever-present list of things to do. I can relate to the feelings of never being able to get anywhere on time (literally never), always rushing around and just when I feel like I’ve got things under control, everything changes. Laurie does an amazing job of succinctly summing it all up.
As soon as we become parents, the clichés start to all make sense; time flies, children grow up way too fast. Most moms I know admit that their lives are a frenzy and they feel stressed a lot of the time but they also say that they wouldn’t change it for anything. So we take comfort in knowing that we’re all struggling with similar issues and feelings and it’s nice to know that we’re not alone. I may always be late, always feel rushed, and am always up past 11, trying to get “just one more thing” done but I know I’m not the only one.
Balancing Work and Motherhood
The journalist asks me, “How do you do it?”
My answer is “Not very well.”
Each day is different
And when I think I’ve found a rhythm
All the plans I’ve devised
And so carefully scheduled
Get all shot to hell.
So I’ll take a taxi,
‘Cause I might get there faster
But the subway would cost me much less. . .
Ugh, the trains are delayed!
Now what if there’s traffic?
Either way, half my days
Are spent out of breath
Running from one thing
Late to another
Looked away for two minutes, and now there’s a line!
Forgot to bring lunch again
(Mine, not hers)
Slow down, slow down
I’ll get there
Just not on time.
Talking with Brian
And planning for sitters
Who’s home today,
You or me?
That feeling of panic
That hits when I think,
“I forgot to make sure she was free.”
All my years of therapy
And yet I still cling
To the guilt I feel when I’m not there.
It’s such a cliché but I find myself thinking,
“I wish I’d been born as a pair.”
In some ways it’s easier now than it was
Lucy’s used to me coming and going.
She’s older, has friends, even tells me
“Get out Mom!” but each time it’s hard for me
That I’ll miss some of what she was feeling that day
And I’ll miss hanging out with her too.
Time moves so fast (oy, another cliché!)
And there’s only so much I can do.
I run my own business.
I’m both artist and boss,
But pretend I’m a mom who stays home.
Then I’m gone on the weekends
Or when we’re together
Spend less time with her than my phone.
So I accept from a colleague
A derisive laugh when I say,
“Sorry, I can’t make it then.”
Because I’m picking her up,
There’s a potluck, class play
Or perhaps there’s just no school… again.
And I get to spend time with her
We read on the couch
Her body all snuggled with mine.
I breathe her in deeply
So I won’t forget
Just how good that feels
(Then I notice that I have a pile of new messages and texts and I haven’t made dinner or taken
the dog out. When did it get to be 6:30 p.m.? When did she turn 8 years old?)
So I stay up too late
Doing work, sending email
I’m addicted to “just one more thing…”
I haven’t yet found
A different way, a better way
Or just a way
To fit everything in
I spent all that time getting ready for birth
And I think of my good friend, who said,
“Remember Laurie, this is just the curtain rising,
The real show is what lies ahead.”
Ok, so there’s no rehearsal for life
(But I’d hoped as a parent things that I’ve learned would help)
And they certainly sometimes do.
Yet often I catch myself being the child,
‘Cause I still want to be mothered too.
-Lyrics by Laurie Berkner
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