Making It In Motherhood: Finding the Right Balance

Motherhood. The word means so many things to so many people. It is a broad term, and yet it really is so specific to each of us… Whether you wear PJ’s to school drop off while sipping coffee out of your “Tired As A Mother” mug or you give birth to a prince and greet the world in heels two hours later – you’re still a mother.

Maybe you were “born to be a mother.” Maybe you didn’t want kids, but life had other plans. Maybe you married a man with a child. We’re all a little different and we all do it a little bit differently, and that’s OK.

Me? Well I guess I always wanted kids. I mean, I never really thought about it growing up, I just assumed it was something that would happen. Maybe. Possibly. OK, so looking back I guess I was indifferent, but boy has that changed.

Having Kids

I am a mom of two – an eight-year-old girl and a two year old boy. To say theses kids are my world is an understatement, and I mean that in SO many ways. Yes, I mean that they mean that much to me, but I also mean that my world literally revolves around them. And their activities. And their nap schedules/bedtimes. If you thought you were busy before kids…

After I had my son two years ago, I made the difficult decision to stay home with him instead of going back to work full time in the classroom (I taught fifth grade History and Language Arts.) It was difficult because I truly loved my kids – well your kids… the kids I taught. But I didn’t want to miss anything with Reece. I missed a lot with Sophia. Sure, summer is great, but in Sophia’s preschool years, I missed SO many things – circus performances, Christmas pageants, field trips, Thanksgiving feasts, Mother’s Day Teas. I even missed her very last preschool performance because it fell during testing season, and I couldn’t get out of my classroom. So, the choice was difficult, but it was also easy.

Staying Home

What wasn’t easy was staying home. 

Dear Lord, I wanted to love every minute of it. I really tried to cherish every second, but the days dragged on. I desperately wanted to see other adults, but Reece was a high needs baby and his schedule was king, so I was tethered to my house, to my living room, to that darn exercise ball so I could bounce and shush him until he stopped screaming. Even once he grew out of that phase, I had such a hard time being home. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t, and I felt like a failure. 

I fell into this horrible rut – I was a failure because I didn’t like staying home. That should have fulfilled me. I was also a failure because I didn’t have an exciting career. I wanted to have it all, like everyone says you can.

Ladies, listen, you CAN’T have it all. And honestly, that notion – the one that people throw around like it should inspire people and light the fire – well, it is just downright dangerous. 

What was I supposed to be? Career mom? Stay at home mom? BOTH? 

Having It All?

Now, I’m not saying you can’t be a hands-on mother and have a career. In fact, I am a full time realtor and a very hands-on mother. But I had to find a balance, or rather create a balance. That is how it worked for me. There are 24 hours in a day, and you really should use some of those for sleeping… That means that some days I have to drop Sophia off at dance instead of staying and watching because I have a showing. It means asking my mom to pick her up from school every once in a while because I have an inspection. It means having a nanny come a few mornings each week so I can get work done. I had to make decisions and make sacrifices one way or another to find out what worked for our family. I had to create a balance that was right for us.

Motherhood is tough. That’s why we have a day devoted to giving us moms a break, but ladies, let’s give ourselves a break too. 

Motherhood isn’t one size fits all. It’s okay that we all do things differently. So for all of you moms out there: working moms, stay at home moms, foster moms, step-moms, adoptive moms, birth moms, let’s celebrate the fact that no matter how we got here, we are all part of a club that is doing the best we can for those tiny little humans that we love more than we love ourselves. 

You’re doing a great job. 

Candace is a former elementary school teacher and currently a full-time controller of chaos! A part time stay at home mom (if such a thing ever existed), she has two young children - a daughter, 7, and a son, 18 months. Candace loves writing, cooking, wine, cooking with wine, reading a good book, and spending time with her family. A Tampa native, born and raised on Davis Island, Candace currently lives in South Tampa with her husband, Matthew, and her two beautiful children.