Did you know that more mothers than ever are in the workforce? According to current statistics, women now make up half of all workers in the United States, and 4 in 10 homes now have a mom who is also a full-time working mother. Adding another layer of pressure, we make most of the financial decisions in our households, according to the M.O.O.N. report. Many of us working moms feel scattered, guilty and stressed because of divided attention between home and professional life, and we seek good advice from people who seem to have it together, like founder of Kontrary Rebecca Healy (whom I love). They say the key is to find the right balance, but this is never an easy thing to do. I found this especially hard when I had my second child. In my house, I have four people I must always care for and consider. Guess who is last on that list?! Despite the time, energy and focus my 2- and 6 year-old-children require, I love being a mom more than anything. And despite the fact that I love being a mom, I still love my professional work. How can you and I find this balance we so desperately need?
Just last weekend, I found myself in the urgent care center, waiting to be seen by the on-call doctor. I squeezed this appointment in on Sunday morning, because I knew the list of commitments I had waiting for me come Monday morning would be a long one – a parent teacher conference, a volunteer shift at the preschool book fair, plus my full-time job, all carefully arranged like a Jenga puzzle. One piece shifts and you can guess what happens. But this particular Sunday, I could thank preschool germs for the seemingly endless cycle of cold viruses coming and going around my household.
Wanting to take my mind off of the germ-infested surroundings, I scrolled through a parenting website on my iPhone. An article came up that posed the tiresome topic we have exhausted for the past couple decades in the media: “How to Have it All!” It was an article for working mothers with a photo of a well-dressed, perfectly poised-looking business woman. I wanted to laugh – except I couldn’t manage to do so, with the horrible sore throat that put me in that doctor’s office in the first place.
What does it even mean to “Have it all”? While I imagine the answer is different for everyone, this year I found my answer. I stopped trying to live up to someone else’s standards, or what the media wants us to believe is attainable. Instead, I started writing my own rules and spending my time on the things I’m good at and that need my personal attention and outsourcing where I can. Finding reliable help has never been easy…until now.
Moonlighting is my answer.
By Jennie Deege