As a working mom who struggles with the life-work balance, finding ways to make my kids feel special is crucial. The summertime brings on an entire new level of pressure as a working mom. Am I spending enough time with them? Are they being entertained by electronics? What can the kids do over the summer to have fun and be kids that doesn’t require me to become a chauffeur or hire one? Seriously. I think I often over-think this whole summer thing.
For the last three summers, I’ve been working non-stop in my company, writing cookbooks back-to-back, and traveling a lot for work. I often think of the times before deadlines, when I didn’t have to arrange childcare or fight for a spot in a good summer camp. I remember the days where I would load the kids and their things inside the van and head to the park, in a hot summer day, and I thought that the task alone of getting there was a huge feat.
Nevermind the meltdowns that would occur on the way, the sibling nagging, and the arguments over who will get to do something first. As soon as the minivan doors would open, the bigger kids would giggle all the way to the park while I’d carry baby G on my hip. Amazing how such an ordinary activity can now seem extraordinary.
I’m sure I am not the only parent that looks back and wonders: how did time pass so fast? It seems like yesterday that I was contemplating returning to work, and here I am today trying to figure out how to make it all happen. The last couple of years have brought a lot of incredible opportunities, much at the cost of time spent with my family. Of course, motherhood is life-giving, but so is living a giving life.
As I navigate another summer of exciting projects filled with deadlines, I can’t help but wonder, how exactly does one find that work-life balance? After three years of soul-searching and wondering, I’ve concluded that it does not exist. It’s a myth. A myth that many books have been written over and will forever continue to shape the working-mom conversation.
All I know is that I don’t want to lose track of my priorities. To live a life filled with colorful adventures my children will remember forever. Adventures that will shape their character and teach them to be loving human beings. After all, my only hope is to raise loving humans; the rest will follow.
As for me, I’m learning to turn off that inner voice that is always measuring the parent I am today with the mother I used to be. Mostly, it measures the quantity of time given to my children and not the quality of the time spent. This is a forever struggle, but it’s something that I recognize happening. I’m trying to not get hung up on the hard parts, the daily grind of making meals, running errands, or getting the kids from point A to point B. All of those things are part of the incredible world of parenting, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.