I feel lucky to work for a company that provides a free coaching service to parents returning to work. For people who enroll in the program, they have the opportunity to work with a life coach who can help provide guidance on finding the balance between work-life and home-life.
I found out about this program a few months ago and immediately enrolled. Balance is something I desperately need right now.
During our initial meeting, I talked to her about my concerns about not being there for the girls as much as I would like to be. I told her about the fears I have that I may not be able to give them the same opportunities that my own mother, who was a stay-at-home-mom gave me. As a kid, I was able to participate in whichever activities I felt passionate about. I was able to take piano lessons, do 4-H projects, join a Brownie Scout troop, play kids soccer, and generally follow my heart to find what interested me the most. My mom was always there for me, picking me up after school, giving me snacks, getting me started on homework, playing games, talking, listening, teaching me to sew and cook, and just being present. We always had healthy, balanced, home-cooked meals. Our house was tidy and comfortable. But most of all, she was there. She set such a high standard for me to live up to.
What I am discovering, especially now that Gabi is in kindergarten, is that we have even less time than we did before. Juan and I both get up at 5:45 AM, get ourselves ready for work, get the kids up, feed the kids, get the stuff into the car, drop Gabi off at before-school care, drive to regular daycare, drop Katie off at regular daycare, get to work at 8 AM, leave work at 1 PM to get Gabi from Kindergarten, drive Gabi to regular daycare, get back to work by 2:15 PM, work until 5 PM, pick up both girls from regular daycare, drive home, get home by 6 PM, cook dinner, eat dinner, pack lunches for the next day, bathe the girls, read stories, and fall into bed by 9 PM totally exhausted. Then we wake up at 5:45 AM the next day and start it all over again.
Man, I’m tired just writing that.
I told my coach that I’m just struggling with the idea that I am not able to be the kind of mom that my own mother was, and it just eats me up.
I really appreciated her response. She told me that sometimes we just need to find space in our hearts with being good enough. We can’t be perfect. We can’t always achieve the ideals we have in our own minds, but sometimes being good enough is enough. Sometimes it’s better for our own mental health and the stability of our families if we let go of those ideals and learn to work with what we have. If we sacrifice one ideal, it can make more time to be a family.
This won’t be easy for me. I’m a perfectionist. But I’m taking her words to heart and trying to find ways to be good enough in the time that we have. This may mean occasionally sacrificing the whole ingredients of a home cooked meal for some speedy shortcuts. It may mean sandwiches instead of baked chicken to buy time to play in the evening. It may mean sending Gabi to school with money to buy food from the cafeteria to have a few more minutes to read stories at night.
This is going to be hard.
Have you found any great ways to be good enough in your lives with your children?