As life continues to ebb and flow around me and I learn to traverse the sometimes choppy waters, I keep returning to the same spot. It is as if I am swimming in the middle of the ocean and in front of me I see a beautiful tropical island (my goals for myself and what I genuinely want to do in life), but then there are two smaller islands; one to the left of me (my role as mommy) and one to the right of me (my career) and I am treading water longing to swim straight toward the large beautiful island. But the waves are pounding me laterally from both directions and I tire not knowing which direction to swim in. If I swim to the left, I engulf myself in my mommy role wanting to do everything and anything to be the best mom that I can be to my beautiful Cubby. If I swim to the right, I am submersed into the employee role where I want to excel and further my career. If I were to swim straight ahead, I would feel horribly guilty knowing that other areas of my life have suffered. And there lies the conundrum of how to balance it all and how to be good at everything.
The older I become, I realize that I am getting stuck in my ways and have “OCD”, as my husband and I like to call it. I used to be really laid back and relaxed. I was a procrastinator who excelled in school, got many subject awards, had a straight A average in OT school along with scholarships and awards. I never once thought that I would not be good at something. After graduating, I joined the working world and devoted time and effort into my jobs getting glowing references from employers and managers. I had great self-esteem and thought that I could do anything that I wanted. Then along came marriage and learning how to compromise and support another person. This did not seem like an easy task as I had always been concentrating on myself and what my next steps were. So it took some learning, practice and a lot of patience. Then along came pregnancy and my daughter, Cubby and everything that I knew up until that point was out of the window. Here was a situation that was unstructured, unpredictable, and lacked boundaries and familiar routines. I was thrown off balance. And there began my journey into self doubt, anxiety, and undiagnosed OCD.
This week was particularly challenging. As the winter season is upon us in Canada, it brings cold weather, snow and of course the dreaded daycare sicknesses. Cubby came down with a fever, sore throat and horrible cough the day before my husband was leaving for New York for four days. Compounding that was the fact that my parents were on a vacation in Cuba. And compounding that was the fact that I am at a new job and on probation. So in summary, Cubby and I were not sleeping, I was worried about her progressively worse cough and bloody nose, and I had to go to work. Thankfully my mother in law was available to watch her for a day while I went to work; however, all day I felt so guilty. It was difficult to concentrate as I felt that I should be taking care of my sick child. It was a tough situation to be in and so spurred this blog post about the thin line between being a mom and being an employee. How do you choose? And more importantly, how do you excel at both? This is something that I am still learning. There have been some tough lessons learned along the way and of course, as any mom knows, there have been some sacrifices and items that had to be put on the back burner for a later date.
I am certain that I am not the only mom who has gone through this. This is probably the plight of every working mother. I welcome any thoughts or advice from those of you out there who have mastered the balancing act.
And with that I am off to bed, unable to keep my heavy eyelids from closing. Goodnight!