Dear Moms of babies, toddlers, school-aged kiddos and teens, I have a little letter for you that celebrates you, includes a bit of reflection and maybe even feeds your Mama soul a little bit. I hope so.
I write this to you because I just read a social media post by a super successful and well known business woman who is balancing it all with her beloved 1-year-old, whom she has fallen madly head-over-heels in love with…oh I remember that falling in love baby time! In her statement, she basks in the love of her baby, but also wonders out loud if she could figure out how to dedicate a little more time to her career, that is also taking off at this point. Of course, that is life’s timing.
As I started to type my response to her, I decided that I wanted to say this to all of you hard-working mothers, maybe struggling with how to balance it all and what to do with the guilt you may feel trying to do so. I can now see those days of mine (that you are currently experiencing) in my rear view mirror.
That in itself, is strange to me. That I am here now and that I got to this part of my almost post-kid life so fast.
It sure didn’t feel like time was moving so quickly then when I was trying to find a balance (and me time) in the haze of it all. There were days back then that I craved to be where I am now. I felt guilty about thinking that at times back then. Don’t do that to yourself.
Instead do this, read my letter to you below. I wish I had known my older self then, who now looks back with a full heart smiling…and sometimes longing for those busy hectic days with children hanging all over me to return. If only for just a day.
It is nice to have more me time now. And sometimes it is also a bit painful as I adjust to my new normal, being almost a compete empty-nester (not quite, thankfully, but almost).
It is also nice to have my current perspective that I earned through 20 years of raising my two kids. I am hoping that my current day thoughts in this letter to you can help those of you wondering how to do it all. Spoiler alert – we can’t do it all and have it all every day, but maybe there are a few little tips in this letter that can help. This is also a letter to my younger mama self…
Dear Moms (and younger me)-
You are doing a great job! Please take a moment to pat yourself on the back! Woot woot to you!
Balancing it all is super hard. I know because my kids are 16 and 20 now and you truly won’t believe how fast it goes. And they won’t need you physically near as much as they prepare to leave home during the later high school years. Once they start to drive at 16, you see them a lot less.
During my years of raising kids, I went from having a big fulltime career as a marketing manager at Southwest Airlines to another big, but less demanding partime TV producer job. Then I had several years off not working while having a toddler and an infant…oh I don’t like to call it NOT working…I worked, as you moms know! Truly, the hardest I ever physically, emotionally and mentally worked was when I was a fulltime mom/homemaker. I then went back to work when they were school-aged to a very fullfilling part-time TV producing/on air contributor position. Then the teen years arrived, so I became a freelance work-from-home mother because my offspring needed to be driven ALL the time to ALL of their activities that were located EVERYWHERE.
Now my boy is away at college and my girl is 16 and driving herself, so I have more time to dedicate back to my career. But it is always a balancing act.
My mom once told me…
“That the one thing you can’t get back is time.” I let that mantra guide me, as well as one a pal told me…
“When your priorities are in order, everything falls into place.”
Being a mom is the hardest and most rewarding job. I found that on some days I could have it all…but on many other days, I had to choose how to prioritize with help from hubs, fam and friends. You figure it out as you go along and then all of a sudden they are grown up. It is a crazy magic trick.
My best advice as you work so hard to find a balance, catch your breath and make daily decisions that affect multiple people, not just yourself anymore. It is this…
Let your heart & your motherly instinct guide you. Take good care of yourself. Remember to give yourself me time, hubs (partner) time and gal pal time, too.
AND most importantly, squeeze those little ones tight because it is so dang true when they say don’t blink!