Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How do Working Moms do it?

My butt is officially whipped. I started my internships in September and have come crashing into the middle of that work/life balancing act. How do working moms do this? How do you work full time while raising children, not to mention keep up with laundry, dishes, groceries, bills, housework and still maintain some kind of relationship with your husband? I'm not working yet, but I might as well be. My crazy life has been forced to conform into another person's schedule and I am losing my mind!

I've worked in the past while raising my daughter, but all of those jobs were flexible. Even when I was a program manager at a non-profit, I pretty much made my own hours and if I had to work from home due to a sick child, I could. But now that I'm working in the field of O and M, I'm dealing with a whole new set of expectations and deadlines. School districts and the Department of Rehabilitation have strict regulations and both are working on shoe-string budgets. Everyone needs it done NOW, and heaven forbid if I miss a day due to illness or child care problems. I feel stretched to my limits, physically and mentally. And when I go home after working all day, I have a needy, still dependent Queen Teen to feed, bathe, spend time with and then send to bed.

That's the heart of the problem. Queen Teen is 15 but is developmentally about 11. Physically she requires a lot of help and still relies on me to provide the majority of her security and emotional needs. I rarely have down time; when I'm not working, I'm caring for a severely disabled child who requires 24 hour care. Rick is fabulous and does his best, but I am the center of Queen Teen's world, and will probably be for many more years.

It's frustrating because I want to learn more and work more and expand my horizons and perhaps even get my PHD (someone can kick me now and remind me how stressed out I am and NO I do not need any more years of school!). I want a steady income, health insurance, a 401K and retirement, all things I have never had (I'm 43! I should have some kind of savings for when I'm 70!). To get those things I need to work full time.

I can not work full time. Not now, anyway. Instead of looking for full time jobs, I'm considering being an independent contractor so I can go back to making my own schedule and having more control over my time. I need the flexibility to give my daughter the care she still needs from me. I have to be full time mommy a little while longer.

But I'd still like to know, how the hell do you moms with full time jobs do it!?


Mother of Chaos said...

One day at a time - that's the only way I think we CAN do it. That, and being OK with imperfection.

And believe me, my home office is EXTREMELY imperfect right now...ay-yi-yi...

Terena said...

you are amazing, though. You have FOUR kids and a huge garden you keep alive. The last of my broccoli bit the dust.

Melanie (ModernMami) said...

One day at a time is absolutely right. You end up prioritizing what needs to be done NOW and what can wait. You make schedules so you don't go insane. But, most of all, you try to do what you can and forgive yourself for the rest. You can't do everything.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I don't know how working moms do it. I have a full-time job but no kids, just cats and a dog, but I nearly need a personal assistant myself.

Good luck, love. Sorry you are so bogged down. Everybody needs some time for themselves.

Love you.

Terri said...

One thing I find is that I get used to the things I have added after a while and start doing somewhat better (It's a long while--months!) I have usually been exhausted and frustrated so long that I think it's permanent, then one day I notice things are somehow clearer--I hope this happens for you and soon!!!

Confessions of a Closet Hoarder but you can call me Judy said...

I honestly have no idea how working moms (especially of special needs kids!) do it! I haven't worked in 25 years, and I don't know how I'll ever be able to work outside the home with the girls.

Developmentally, Hopper is maybe 5 to 6, and Scooter is 3 to 4 or so, so working outside the home won't ever happen for me. I'd like to get a CNA certificate, so I could at least get paid for the job I do with the girls daily anyway.

If/when you find out how to manage it all, please share it with us all at some point! :)