I’ve been a mom for four years, and in that short time my work schedule has changed drastically depending upon our family’s needs. I have worked over 80 hours a week when my first was an infant, and I have logged as few as 12 hours per week soon after we had our second, when life really turned into a balancing act.
I thought the latter schedule would be ideal, but that euphoria lasted about 12 minutes into day two. Between naps, tantrums, snacks, fatigue, and diaper changes, I started questioning my skillset as a mom. I can’t do this!, I remember saying over and over in my head, on the brink of tears, overwhelmed by my inability to manage two small children.
I remember one day that first week when my husband came home to all three of us crying, toys everywhere, the house smelling like poop and old breast milk. My husband gave me a hug, silently took the baby and ordered Thai food for dinner. I did slowly adjust to spending most of my time at home, but I never felt quite as fulfilled as I had hoped. Now don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of really great times in there too, moments like “wearing our diapers on our heads day” that I will always treasure as some of my favorite memories. But I also felt like I’d lost a huge part of myself, and didn’t have time to find it amidst all the chaos. I didn’t know what I wanted, but this current situation wasn’t working.
I have now settled into a comfortable 20-hour work week, which makes me an excited new member of the Part-Time Working Mom (PTWM) Club. I thought this would solve all my problems, but it turns out I still don’t know what I’m doing. Despite what sounds like an ideal schedule, I actually have more people counting on me, am always running behind or missing out on something, and wear too many hats at once.
Challenges Of A PTWM
I don’t quite fit in anywhere. I always feel like a bit of an outsider with my friends, who tend to be either full time working moms or SAHMs. I’m not trying to be divisive here, because I have worked full time and stayed at home, and know neither are a walk in the park. It’s just hard to find someone who has a similar life schedule. I’m either missing out on weekday playdates or trying to get to know families that are only free once every 5 weekends.
(This post originally published on City Mom’s Blog on December 13, 2016)