Confession: I left my son’s book buddy bag at home today. He even reminded me about it, frantically explaining that he would not get a sticker if he didn’t turn it in this morning at drop-off. I also managed to off my daughter’s favorite toy, “Pinkie Pie,” a little pink unicorn, while vacuuming the living room last night. Not sure I’ll be voted “Mom of the Year” for 2014. I try so hard, just like every mom I know. — and believe me, I know lots of moms. Mommyhood is at the center of my life right now. Both of my children are little so for me being a mom never takes a break. I’m not only a mom though; I also work, and prior to having kids, my career was my obsession.
When you become pregnant, there are all kinds of books, websites, and resources available to help guide you through. But in addition to all of the physical and emotional changes that came with having a baby, and the changes to our household, there were monumental changes that impacted my career that no one ever told me how to prepare for. This may be the idea behind my first book –which I’m sure I can pen in all of my spare time. Having a baby affects all aspects of your lifestyle – I’m laughing that I just used word, “lifestyle,” because mine is ridiculously lame, but that’s a separate blog for another time. My point is having kids definitely affects your career. Managing all of this is often referred to as the great balancing act, and we parents (moms AND dads) try to juggle as much as we possibly can. Juggling this much creates frustration, stress, pressure, and guilt for so many of us, making it really difficult to balance it all. How many plates can you keep in the air?
When looking for advice, http://www.workitmom.com/savetime has some great tips and tricks that I have used countless times, and I love the checklists they provide! I’d like to offer some advice from my personal experience. Take control of your schedule. It is the only way to stay sane. If 9 to 5 does not work for you, then stop trying to make it. Square peg, round hole. Try creating your own hours that work for you and your schedule. Freelancing may be the right answer for your career and family right now. Or, make 9 to 5 actually work for you by letting other people take care of tasks you don’t have time for. When I started working for Moonlighting, I felt like I had struck gold because the brand encapsulates me perfectly. I need flexibility to work and also care for my family; and when I run out of time to get things done, I now get help.
I have also learned that balancing isn’t about keeping the plates spinning but forgiving yourself for being human. I have taken the pressure off that I have to be the master of every task and that it is some sort of failure if I ask for help. Moonlighting has been a perfect way to say “I give” today – and ask my network to help me do those things they are good at so I can do the things I value the most. The other side of that balance is I can do to work that I a good at – work that is meaningful. I don’t have to be a slave to an office and schedule that means I miss the walks home from school or volunteering. My world still feels chaotic and I will still have those days where I forget the book buddy bag and vacuum up a prized toy – but I don’t feel like I am compromising the big stuff. Moonlighting has been the answer that has given me the option to chase my dreams and my kids at the same time. It gives me back what is most precious: my time. Time that I can hopefully use to buy a new My Little Pony before my daughter gets home from school and notices Pinkie Pie is missing her mane.
By Jennie Deege