Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Strife of the "Part-time" Mom

Let me preface this blog post with the proclamation that YES, the grass is indeed always greener on the other side, and that NO, being a part-time mom isn't better or worse than being a full-time mom or full-time employee. I'm just writing from the standpoint of my life, in which I have my paint brush in a million buckets of paint and am starting to realize that I will never finish my masterpiece. Ok, maybe that is a bit excessive, but any mom who has gone to bed at night feeling like an utter failure at LIFE gets my dramatization.

Let's go back to the beginning. The beginning of my life as a mom, a sleep-deprived blur of trying to do it all but failing miserably, probably because I spent all of my "free time" perusing Pinterest for the best crockpot recipe and posting a trillion pictures of my newborn child on Facebook. I think that is maybe where it all started, this desire, no self expectation, to do it all. With the internet, full of ideas and words and thoughts about what it means to be a mother. But after a month or so of staying at home with my little precious cherub, the pull of my job responsibilities became stronger, and I decided to go back to my job of being a speech-language pathologist "part-time."

"Part-time." I have begun to loathe this word. Because there is really no such thing. Not when it comes to work, not when it comes to family, not when it comes to anything really. But, for the sake of the story, I did return to work part-time, which at the time I thought would give me the best of both worlds. I would get to wear my speech therapist hat half the time and then come home and wear my mommy and wife hat loud and proud. Rinse and repeat every single day. Sounds heavenly.

When you are a part-time employee and a part-time mom, guess what? The job doesn't understand what part-time is, and your family certainly doesn't understand either. This is not a slam to your workplace. It's just that there is always something to be done. It might not matter that "oh, I only work til noon," or "I don't work on Fridays." Because of the nature of my job, I bring a lot of work home with me in the form of report writing, billing, etc. So there is a lot of overlap. This is not a slam to the families either. You can't really tell your 18-month old that mommy has to write this report or take this phone call, so to please sit quietly and entertain yourself.

So enters the struggle. The strife. This mirage of getting to "do it all" really turns into doing a half-ass job at everything, or at least that is how you feel. Your job as a speech therapist is never done, and your job as a mom is certainly never done either, nor will it ever be!

Why am I writing this? Partly, to whine. I had a sick child for the first half of this week who has run me a little ragged, plus I'm 17 weeks pregnant and full of emotion. But also because I feel like the "part-timers" are an under-represented bunch of parents! Stay-at-home-moms (SAHM) have their feelings expressed out there (and rightfully so, you have a tough job), as do I feel moms who work out of the home (WOH) do (also deserved, you have a tough job too). Where are my part-timers at ??

Sometimes I feel like I'm carrying the responsibilities of being both though (a SAHM and a mom who WOH).   

This is not a battle of who has it better (or worse). I hope to not get hate mail from any momma who thinks this post is negatively about them. It. Is. Not. I think all parents have a tremendous load of work on their plate, and we should be celebrating each other instead of tearing each other down. I'm just hoping this resonates with some people out there who feel like I do, regardless of what title you hold in your household.

When you are a "part-time" mom, you still miss out. You might be working during music class on Wednesday or when your kiddo has a Valentine's Day party at school.

When you are a "part-time" mom, you probably don't make the income to justify a housekeeper, so YAY, you get to do that too.

When you are a "part-time" mom, often times work responsibilities disrupt family activities, and vice versa. Let's not forget how quickly that part-time work builds up when you have a sick kid.

When you are a "part-time" mom, it is expected that you have "more time" to do things, when really you have less.

I feel like I'm teetering on the line of being a big, fat, annoying whiner, when really I'm just (unsuccessfully probably) trying to articulate a feeling.

Here's my realization: It's all hard. Every version of parenthood comes with it's unique set of struggles. In my constant search to find the perfect cleaning schedule, an easy "make 30 freezer crockpot meals" plan, and a magical way to keep up with my office work, I've only found that none of that really exists.

And isn't everything that I just wrote, from the perspective of a "part-time" mom, the way that most parents feel anyway? Regardless of how much you are working in the home or out of the home? I think we are all just trying to do our best and giving ourselves a hell of time about it all. Good luck mommas, and dads too, the struggle will get easier. One day... maybe when the kids are graduated from college. :)

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