I never really had a paying job. In fact, I still don’t.
I started a new business and as anyone who has taken the leap and started a business knows, that doesn’t mean you’re getting paid or will get paid any time soon. For the first time in my life I have “job job”. And to tell you the truth, this is not how I imagined it would be.
This was my plan: Have a dream (check), work really hard to achieve it (check), be happy…
Now, I’m proud. I’m excited. I’m feeling engaged and doing something I love. The problem is that I’m having trouble finding the happy. I find myself with a full time job that seeps into my thoughts at nights, on weekends, on family vacations and during school plays.
To put things in perspective here is what my life was before this: I had a husband who I saw often. I had time to sit with him, talk to him and watch TV together. I used to be available for him. I also have 4 children for whom I was always available for as well. I played with them, picked them up from school and did homework with them. In fact, if I wasn’t home in the morning I was most probably at their school on the PTA or volunteering in the library (yes) and enjoying it. I volunteered at Saut Down Syndrome School. I was very good at staying in touch with my extended family. I was so good that I was at every family thing we had. Always!
When I started properly working on making my vision a reality, I worked all the time with the “excuse” of it being the beginning. I kept telling myself that it takes this much effort to make it happen. Then it didn’t let up. In fact it got worse.
I have always formed my opinions of working mothers from the cushiness of my ‘stay at home but work when I want to’ life. My opinion was that it was totally valid for a woman to stay home with her children and that it was, if not impossible, then unbelievably difficult to be fully available to your children and husband while working. Why men don’t have to think of being fully available to their wives and children is beyond me but we are being honest and this is what goes through my mind. It may be because while I don’t have to work for us to live he does, so the least I can do is be available when he does come home from work.
I never actually thought about this issue from the point of view of the working mother. Does every working mother constantly feel like she is failing her family because of her work? I do. Always. Every day. It’s gotten to a point that it puts a damper on any success I have in my work life because I know it came at the cost of time spent with my family.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed by my family either. They are missing me and feeling the difference in their day to day life. The upside is that I guess I know I’m wanted and needed. It does however makes the vision I had for my professional life blurry and a little less important every day.
What kills me more is that I don’t have to do this. I just want to. I am very proud of what I have accomplished and grateful for all the help that seems to have walked into my life to aid me in making this all work. At times I take it as a sign that I have to do this because of all the doors that opened up to me when I seriously started working on it.
It’s a strange feeling to be so proud of something I have accomplished but at the same time feel ashamed of the sacrifices I have made to get there.
It has been 6 months since this change in my life began and now I’m finding it harder and harder to come to terms with how much of my life it has taken up. I have a business I have committed time and money to, AND a family I feel I ‘m letting down daily.
So here’s my plan: Hire people who can take a load off of, so I can pick my kids up from school and see my husband while I still have enough energy to engage with them! It may be easier said than done but I will try and find a balance.
Is there such a thing as a balance between working and being a mother?
Does one have to suffer in order for the other to prosper?
Mostly, is it fair for me to do this at the expense of time spent with my children and husband, especially since I don’t have to, I just want to?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama B from Saudi Arabia. She can be found writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa.
Photo Credit to Lauren Sachs.