Working Mothers – A Delicate Balance

by Melanie Edwards on July 11, 2007 · 22 comments

in Motherhood, Women, Working Mothers

It’s Wednesday!

What a hectic week so far.

Work is super busy. Of course, the home life is always hectic.

I find that more often than not, I have an inner battle going on.

Part of me knows that I can’t possibly keep up with everything – home, work, husband, daughter, myself, parents, etc.

Yet, the other half, for whatever unknown ridiculous reason, has it in her head that she should be able to keep up with everything. Not just should, but MUST.

It’s insane.

I realized the other day that this is probably due to years of brainwashing from my mother. And, when I say brainwashing, I mean that in the nicest way possible. Obviously, she did not set out to corrupt my mind. But, through example, it happened.

You see, my mother was a stay at home mom – way before that was even a term; in fact, I believe the term at the time was “housewife.” 😉

Anyway, since she stayed home with us until I was about 12 or so, I watched her keep the house in an impeccable state of cleanliness. She had no clutter, no baskets of laundry just waiting to be folded, no dust, and always had dinner on the table when my father came home from work.

Even when she did start working, she still managed to come home from work, and get right to the kitchen. Maybe it had something to do with our Puerto Rican culture. But, whatever it was, it still amazes me how she did it.

I struggle on a daily basis to be able to just put a quick dinner together. To spend some time with my baby girl after a long day at work. Don’t even mention trying to squeeze in some time for the husband.

I think (well actually, it was brought to my attention by the husband recently) that because I grew up seeing her manage so well, and because she often talked with me about having to be a “good wife”, I now have these extremely high (and false) expectations of myself.

It’s very frustrating.

How do you manage to keep up? Do you find you have false expectations for yourself?

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1 Mary July 11, 2007 at 10:02 am

I’m with ya! I don’t know how women manage to work out of the home and keep their houses clean.

I guess part of the problem – at least for me- is that we have all of these high tech things to occupy our time, plus it’s now socially acceptable for women to work outside of the home and be out of the house for prolonged periods of time.

Back in “the day”, women were EXPECTED to be at home or the grocery store, that’s about it.

2 Christine July 11, 2007 at 4:13 pm

For a long time while I worked FT, I struggled with these feelings, and one day I realized, my mother didn’t have to work FT. After I made that connection, I wasn’t as hard on myself to get everything done. I’m teaching my daughters now, how to help Mom out, if ever the time comes for me to go back to work, so they learn if they ever need to work outside the home, how to ask their family to pitch in and help with things that need to be done around the house.
Great post.

3 ModernMami July 11, 2007 at 4:29 pm

Mary: I think you’re right. There are plenty of times I sit down to watch TV, play video games, BLOG (lol), etc., instead of doing house work. My mom doesn’t watch too much TV (even to this day).

Christine: Thanks! When my daughter gets old enough, I will definitely involve her. In fact, thinking about it, I DID help my mom out and I’m definitely thankful that she taught me how to clean and cook.

4 mommy the maid July 12, 2007 at 11:26 am

I grew up with my mom at home and the walls bleached once a week. When my parents divorced and she went back to work I watched her fall into the exact opposite. Her house is a stye now and is just plain gross.

I like to think that she taught me a happy medium, but I find myself going OCD on cleaning somedays and others, like today, I have a mound of vacation stuff in the living room and here I am on the computer LOL

5 Modern Mami July 13, 2007 at 10:19 am

That is so true. I have my OCD moments too and then other days where I do nothing.

6 Women's Health Zone July 16, 2007 at 8:08 am

It’s really hard for the working moms to keep up with the work and home. But they do because they have to, a better understanding husband or partner is must for them to keep up with the all the things. You are doing a great job… hats off to all the working moms.

7 ModernMami July 16, 2007 at 9:56 am

Thanks, Women’s Health. You’re right, an understanding husband certainly helps.

8 laura July 16, 2007 at 1:07 pm

I definitely struggle to maintain a work/life balance. It’s easy to get caught up in perfectionism and forget to focus on what’s really important. I’m not quite sure where those expectations come from, but I definitely know that they are there. I think it’s time that we mothers relaxed a litte bit. We may not be perfect, but we are probably good enough.

9 Da Mack Daddy July 16, 2007 at 2:08 pm

I think if you can come to grips with the fact that you just can’t do it all, you’ll at least preserve your sanity for a bit. (#):)

10 ModernMami July 17, 2007 at 4:44 pm

laura: You’re right. We do need to relax.

mack daddy: So true, yet so hard to do! 😉

11 Tere July 17, 2007 at 10:12 pm

Cubans and Puerto Ricans are alike in that we watched our moms do it all (my mom worked), and everything was organized, neat and disciplined. And yeah, on top of all that was the notion that we had to be *good* wives.

Given all that, we have no choice but to have high, unrealistic expectations! You’re definitely not alone there!

12 ModernMami July 18, 2007 at 4:19 pm

Thank God I’m not alone! lol

I still get comments here and there about being a good wife, mom, etc.

13 Mike July 18, 2007 at 5:58 pm

I know what you mean. I do, however, tell my wife that, when she arrives home each day, she should relax and worry about nothing. She deserves that after a long day at work.

Have a great Wednesday (and Thursday, too).


14 ModernMami July 19, 2007 at 9:36 am

That is very considerate of you Mike. I’m sure your wife appreciates that.

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