“I just wish there was two of me. One for work and one for home.”
My friend’s words echoed in my head for days. This friend is extremely successful professionally, and she’s the mom to a beautiful family with three kids and a very doting husband. Gorgeous on the inside and out, she embodies what a lot of mothers hope to achieve.
And here she was, telling me she’s unfulfilled. Not just as a parent, but as a professional too. There’s just not enough time to do both to her satisfaction.
We live in a strange world. Husbands are praised for spending time with their kids, while wives need to schedule time just to do something alone. Men are still expected to work full-time, and now women are encouraged to work as well but without dropping other responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, watching the kids, and planning activities. Women are still considered the “default parent” in many homes, in charge of all things kids-related.
I feel the pressure, and I encourage it upon myself too. Who wants to admit they can’t do it all? Who wants to fail, especially in this world of social media one-upmanship?
But it’s a snowball effect. The longer you do it, especially when you do it well, the bigger it grows and the harder it gets. Until you’re standing on top of a mountain of laundry, your kids screaming for you, and your head’s about to explode. You’re behind at work, there’s no food in the fridge and you haven’t showered in two days.
I was in the snowball. It got too big and I had to veer off course before I fell off a cliff. I talked to my husband, we agreed to hire a housekeeper, and my husband continues to help with the day to day. But it was hard for me to wave the white flag. Even now, it’s hard to admit how much help I get. How much I need.
When I see people like my successful friend, when I hear about someone who is making the job and parenting gigs work in tandem, I can only shake my head. I don’t know how they do it either.