For the first time in a really long time, I felt like I had this mom thing down. I woke up before my daughter, was able to brush my teeth and start getting ready, my husband got up and got her ready for school, helped load us into the car, and as I drove down the street, I thought – I can do this! Being a new mom who has a career is hard and most days I feel like I fail but this morning I hugged my daughter extra tight at drop off and before I had walked away, she was already off playing. I walked across our campus to my building, soaking in a beautiful March morning of spring air. I got to work on time, made my task list for the day, and was off running.
Then it happened – back to reality. One email reminding me of a work obligation on a Saturday night and I remembered my husband will be working a 24-hour shift and I have no babysitter booked. That confidence totally shrank away. And just for the one-two punch? A fire drill at 9AM. Not only frustrating for interrupting the day, but this mom totally forgot a light jacket for my daughter, who now was outside with her other toddlers in bloomers and a t-shirt.
I’ll admit I’m a perfectionist. I need to be in control. I need to give 100% to my job. I need to do my best. And so having a kid totally throws a wrench in that plan. A few Fridays ago, the nursery called to say my daughter was showing signs of hand-foot. I dropped everything and rushed her over to the walk-in clinic at her pediatrician, barely making the 9:30AM cutoff. Diagnosis confirmed. I had to cancel all of my appointments the rest of the day, not to mention I was already going to be out the following Monday for her adenoid and tubes surgery. A few days and 250+ emails in my inbox later, I felt like I was drowning at work, which as it turns out bleeds over to home, where I haven’t exactly been pleasant to be around. Feeling inadequate at work coupled with the reality that I don’t get to spend as much time as I want with my daughter is absolutely the worst feeling ever.
The reality is that I love my job – it truly is my vocation, my calling. Most days I leave feeling fulfilled by the work I’ve done. While it isn’t financially feasible right now with my husband’s training, I’ve contemplated whether I’m meant to be a stay at home mom in the long run and after some soul searching, I realized that my work gives me purpose. I recognize that everyone has strengths and mine shine in my position at work. So, knowing that I’m career-minded but also love my daughter more than anything else in the world, I’m hoping that maybe soon I’ll get this working parent thing down. But in the meantime, I can rest easy knowing that on days like this, days where I feel like am not enough, that I have a husband who takes care of us. I have family that will drop anything to help us. I have friends that support me no matter what. And I have a job that fulfills me, provides childcare, and has given me the opportunity to make meaningful relationships with colleagues that make me a better person.
After all, I am enough.