In this week's episode of Toddler Tips Tuesday, we're going to talk working mom tips. This may seem obvious to everyone else, but in case it's not (and because I don't have the brain capacity to come up with some earth shattering tip at the moment) here is my tip for this Tuesday: ask for help when you need it.
June is historically my busy month at work. This June is no different and due to some unavoidable circumstances my group is down a few key players right now, which makes this busy month even busier for me. In a nutshell, I have more work than I can possibly keep up with. But I'm doing the best I can and weeding out most extracurricular activities (hence the lack of blog posts).
Today marks my 9th day in a row at the office. Meaning that I worked IN THE OFFICE both Saturday and Sunday this week. Our daycare isn't open on Saturdays or Sundays, so that meant I needed to make arrangements for Lukas. My parents kept him Friday night through Saturday afternoon and then Mr. Cob kept him all day Sunday. Working all weekend also meant that I couldn't run any of the usual weekend errands. But my boys did the grocery shopping for the week and Mr. Cob took Lukas on the scheduled play date. Mr. Cob folded all the laundry and took care of the yard. He's been making dinners or taking us out to eat. My mom even sent us home with food and a girlfriend fed my boys on Sunday afternoon.
A year ago I would've been really upset about missing both full weekend days with my little guy and husband. I would've wondered why I'd had a baby when I had to put him in day care all week and not even get to spend every waking hour with him on the weekends. I certainly would have felt extreme guilt about not "raising" him myself.
While I wouldn't go so far to say that I love working all weekend, I now know that I'm not a bad mom for being a working mom who has to work long hours and sometimes all weekend. How do I know this? In the 24 hours that my mom watched Lukas this weekend she taught him how to say circle, "momma work", and noodle. She convinced him to eat fruits that I can't get him to touch and she also taught him to jump into the pool. When I walked in my parent's house Lukas looked up at me, smiled and yelled MOMMA, but continued to read on the sofa with my mom. He was happy to see me, but was clearly continuing to thrive without me.
On Sunday, Mr. Cob didn't keep the same strict schedule with Lukas that I usually set. He took a nap an hour later than usual and he gave him some snacks I wouldn't have chosen. But Lukas was happy and still went to bed on time without a fight that night. We have different parenting styles, but both work equally well. (A fact I have to periodically remind myself.) And my husband loved spending the entire day with his son without having to compete (my word) with me for Lukas' attention. What can I say, he's a momma's boy, but I know it can be hard for Mr. Cob to hear Lukas always ask for me instead of him, and the least I can do is step out of the way once in a while.
So instead of looking at my "lost weekend" with mommy guilt (as I would have a year ago), I now see the weekend for what it was: I gave Mr. Cob the gift of daddy time and my mom the gift of grandma time. And it's OK that other people were doing the things that I "should" have be doing myself.
I'm not a bad wife for not being able keep up the house, always watch our son, iron my husband's shirts and make breakfast, lunch and dinner with a smile. I'm a good mom and wife for helping to financially support our family and continue to succeed in my chosen career path. I'm a good mom and wife for maintaining an identity that is important to me other than "mom" and "wife". I'm a good mom and wife. Period.
I think as moms and wives we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves and feel as though our little world will fall apart if we're not always there holding it together. But we need to give ourselves a break and know that the world will continue to spin, with or without us. We need to accept the help when it is offered. And more, we need to ask for help when we get in over our heads and are having trouble continuing to swim.