Being a working mom is hard. I think that every mom feels guilty about saying it out loud, but there are definitely days that I feel like I am barely able to keep it all together. Somehow we all find a way to push through and keep going for our families.
While I was doing research before writing this blog, I posted on Facebook asking for content suggestions. A dad friend suggested “Topic #1: How do you survive??” and I responded “Coffee, Pilates, and baby snuggles.” It may sound silly, but those three simple things really do help keep me mentally healthy. Two more important ways that I keep myself motivated are prayer and perspective.
Let me tell you about the roller-coaster morning that I had.
This morning I took Peanut to my cousin’s house because our babysitter is unavailable this week, and he was kind enough to agree to help us out. I drove the half hour to his house without feeling put out because I was grateful that I have family members who are able to take care of my son for me. As I was parking, I realized that I never packed the container of formula that was sitting on our kitchen counter. Of all of the things to forget, formula was the worst one. Anything else, my son could do without or my cousin would have for his own baby.
I kept moving as I thought about what to do next, but the only option was to go get formula. I went into action mode – I quickly explained to my cousin, asked where I could go, and hastily handed him my baby before running out the door. I drove the short distance to the nearest grocery store. I went to the baby aisle, and did not find formula! I felt defeated and frustrated that I could do something so stupid as forget formula for my infant. I texted my husband to call his dad about dropping some off, and then asked a cashier just to make sure that I was looking in the right spot.
She told me that the store carries formula, but they have to keep it behind the counter because it is so frequently stolen. Talk about putting things into perspective.
I purchased the formula, took the container back to my cousin’s house, kissed my son, and left for work. I work in a very casual, understanding office, so I knew that running late was not a big deal. In the end, I made it to work just a few minutes after my start time and everything is just fine.
A few times during this experience, I really wanted to just cry. I started to think about how I wouldn’t have to deal with things like this if I didn’t have to work. Sometimes, I really resent that I don’t have the option to stay at home with my son. Then I remind myself why I work so hard. I work hard so that my family can have the materialistic things that help us to live well. I work hard so that we can afford to take trips and make memories down the road. Most importantly, I work hard to set a good example for my son. I want to teach him that hard work and faith will be rewarded.
All of that being said, we live on a very tight budget, and sometimes I feel like all of our hard work isn’t being rewarded the way that it should be. The truth is that we live on a very tight budget because we have been blessed enough to take care of ourselves well. We own our home, we own our cars, we are paying for our educations. All of those things are much more important to us than having extra money to spend. The most important blessings that we have are the things that we didn’t have to buy – our family, our health, the ability to work and be self-sufficient as a family. God has taken care of us through each other, and sometimes it is the bad experiences that remind me of that.
In the scheme of things, having to run to the store to buy an extra container of formula is not a big deal. At least I am able to buy formula. I am frugal about my grocery budget, but I have always been able to feed myself and my family. That in itself is a wonderful gift from God. I thank Him everyday for my home, my family, and our health. Tonight I will thank Him for the ability to put food in front of my family without having to even think about stealing from the grocery store.
So that is how I kept my s*** together today.
I wasn’t a perfect mom, but I took care of my son. While I was at work, I took care of him by making sure that he was with someone who loved him. I know that Peanut won’t remember the day that I forgot to take formula to the babysitter’s house. I know that he won’t remember the day that I accidentally washed the dishes with hand soap (yesterday…) or the days that the house wasn’t as clean as I would like it to be. I hope that what he remembers is how much his mom and dad love him and how hard we work to take care of our family.