Finding the balance

My daughter is almost two years old, and I never for a second thought that the hardest part of being a mom is balancing being a mom and a working mom.  When deciding to go to back to work, at the initial time, it seemed like an easy decision. My decision to return to work was purely a financial decision in my household. The time of my return,  and coordinating the household with my husband, we knew we wouldn’t be able to maintain our family’s lifestyle if I stayed at home.  Knowing that, becoming a stay-at-home mom wasn’t a thought. I had mentally prepared myself (at least I thought I had) to return to work. I felt strongly that I would go back to work, carry on with my regular job, and motherly duties: pick up my daughter from daycare, go home & make dinner and everyone would be happy; all would be well. At least, that is what I envisioned would happen. A part of me was excited about the time away from my daughter and homelife. I would interact with adults, and engage in adult conversations instead of my days discussing The Wiggles, Peppa Pig & Sesame Street.  

Leading up to and returning to work, I started doubting my decision. The excitement mixed with fear, mixed with anxiety and nervousness became so surreal. Don’t get me wrong, all of these feelings are to be expected. As any new mom would do, and with the realization that there isn’t another option, I put one foot in front of the other and carried on for days, weeks & months. I’ll be honest, some days were easier than others. Finding the right balance was, and still is the most challenging thing I have ever experienced.

IMG_4983   So many moms to be, and new moms often receive an outpour of advice solicited and unsolicited from family, friends and strangers about what you should, or shouldn’t be doing as a parent.  However, I have yet to receive insight about what to expect or what you should know about deciding to return to work. I wish someone would have told me that your exhaustion level goes from 0-100 by 9:00 AM and you still have to find a way to manage the next 8 hours of your work day on top of the next 4-5 hours work you have at home in the evening as a mom. So, when you think you have 1 fulltime job, times that by 2. You’re now working full time, and you are a mother full time. 

I wish I had known that the feeling of failing: failing as a mom, and failing at work was to be expected, and was likely to happen. There are no words to describe what it truly feels like to “fail.”  While I would hug my daughter each morning in the doorway of her daycare, letting her go was incredibly hard. I would take that extra moment to soak up her cuddle, and her smell, before letting her go. She cried, and then I would cry driving myself to work.  This process took months, before it got just a little bit easy. This wasn’t an easy transition for me, and the one advice that WAS given to me, was that this transition is normal, and your child will eventually stop crying.  I kept reminding myself that she will stop crying… eventually.

As mothers, what we struggle with the most is admitting when something is hard. We are wired to take on challenges daily, from getting the right colour cup and spoon each morning for breakfast, lunch, dinner,  while coordinating multiple tasks simultaneously: pretending to be princesses and fairies reading a book to a group of teddies while the floor is lava (yes, this is a real game). We are warriors! We are STRONG! But where we fall short, and what we don’t talk about is how we try to keep the glue stuck, while dividing our self from what we know best, being a mom and our workplace. What some of us are born to do, is to raise our babies. Our constant need to be the “perfect” mom foreshadows our ability to admit when we are struggling. When we admit we are struggling, we are no longer seen as “perfect,” we are now seen as “weak”. Being seen as “weak” now translates to the feeling of “failed”  which is something no mom wants to feel or admit too.

All I wanted to hear  was that this transition in your life will be hard! This process isn’t always an easy one.  The feelings you are feeling are normal. There is no timeline on your feelings. Your feelings will come and go. You will have good days & bad days. You will constantly feel like you can’t do it all. When you can’t, you feel like you have let someone down and that someone is YOU. You have let yourself down, your child down, your husband/partner down,  and that’s a hard pill to swallow.  I wish I was told that the whole “work life balance,” is completely, and utterly, full of crap! Repeat after me, CRAP!! There is no balance. We are all trying to keep ourselves from sinking, and drifting away at sea. What is true is that some moms are just better at hiding it than others.

Lastly, I wish as a working mom there was better support, for us.  Better resources helping moms cope with their decision to go back to work. This decision is not easy. In fact, it is the absolute, most challenging decision you might face. For some mothers, this means weaning from breastfeeding, pumping and/ or bottle feeding routines and implementing new routines and structure. These changes affect not only you , but your little one. This is a difficult time for both you and your little one.  Changes like these cause incredible hormonal changes that affect you physically and mentally (scientifically proven). Gearing up to go back to work is overwhelming, sad, happy, frustrating, exhausting, angry and all feelings in between and the most important thing we need, is patience and support!

From a mother to a mother, I understand you! I commend your strength! A mother who claims they have figured it all out, I am all ears … but until then, I  will continue to send to my fellow moms, support & love during this difficult time ❤️ .

Motherhood: The Truth

A lot of us know how difficult it is being a mom. I’m not just referring to motherhood in the sense of preparing lunches, and picking up your children after school and juggling schedules. I mean at the very beginning from the time your body is creating this tiny human inside your belly.

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I was looking back at my maternity pictures and remembered how amazing I felt being pregnant. I can honestly say, I felt my best (most of the time) but I know this isn’t the case for everyone. This got me thinking about all the tremendous changes we go through.  Changes that aren’t always talked about. Not only does the media glorify some of the most difficult, painful and heartfelt moments, but often times so much of it is untrue. They focus solely on the small percentage of people who don’t experience difficulties that most women go through and expect the rest of us to follow suit.

I have spent these past months and days figuring out how to maintain a clean house, making dinner while entertaining my busy, sometimes fussy 5 month old, and realized it is harder than it looks. Most of the time, I can’t. I felt like I was a failure, and I can’t get it together. You research and try to find a way to make it all work, and if you tweak this, or change that, you can do it all…its a lie! It’s a lie that we can do lots of things well, all at the same time. Yes, most women are multi-taskers. However, while most of us can balance so many tasks at once, we end up dropping the ball somewhere.

So lets break the silence, and take a look at the hard truths, and real talks about motherhood:

Labour: The fear most woman have when they are pregnant. The topic most previous mothers will either share their horror story, or paint you the perfect picture. Yes, we’ve seen it in the movies, but is it actually like that? As much as I would love to say yes, the real truth is no. For most women, myself included, labour is nothing like the movies. It’s long, tiring, and painful. After talking with some moms, here’s what they have to say about it:

“Fast and furious!”

“I feel like time lost all meaning at the end.  I was pushing for 45 minutes but I had no conception of time. Could have been 45 seconds or 45 hours”

“No matter how many people tell you about their experience, yours is completely different. You can think about all the different possibilities beforehand but chances are you will forget every one and you just have to be in the moment.”

“Excruciatingly painful, but resulted in the greatest reward, and you forget about the pain immediately!”

“I could have done without the whole ‘doctor’s hand scraping my uterus from the inside’ part!”

No matter what you read or hear, the truth is,  it’s tiring, can be painful, can be fast, but one thing that remains the truth for all of us, is the reward!

sleep

Sleep: I remember while I was pregnant the amount of unsolicited comments and advice about how little sleep I will get once our baby arrives. It seems to be the first thing people are itching to warn you about. While I find myself scrolling through social media threads, I often wonder how so many celebrities looked refreshed immediately after having their babies. How did they do it? What’s the hidden secret? The truth is, there isn’t. It’s called air brush, dry shampoo, and a 1 day makeover. For some, they might even have a nanny, or home nurse come and assist.  But, lets hear it from other moms:

“It’s amazing how little sleep you can survive on!”

“Our first night home I was so sleep deprived that I was hallucinating carnival music in the sound of the bathroom fan, the creepiest possible music.”

“Amazed at how my body could actually function on 3 hours total sleep.”

“Life exists in 2 or 3 hour increments, it didn’t feel like days or nights.”

“A bad night can be fixed by a quick shower and accepting you won’t get anymore sleep right now.”

“I thought I knew what tired was before a baby, but felt it wasn’t super difficult to function on almost no sleep.”

“Still exhausted, but nothing coffee can’t fix.”

“I just take it one day at a time, and give myself permission to nap instead of cleaning the house.”

Somewhere along the way, we are told that women are born to be mothers. We are the ones who can get it all done. We are great wives, great homemakers, great moms, great friends, and no matter what, we can do it all. And then…we have kids. And the truth is, kids limit us. For the first few years or longer, our babies require all of our help to learn and develop, and to grow into young adults. But in the beginning, this means that the primary objective is to meet the physical and emotional needs for our little humans. This is where time is limited. The amount of sleep I get is limited by my daughters bad dream, lost soother, or teething pain.

Feeding: There is so much pressure towards women on how we feed our babies. There’s pressure in the media, through our families and friends on whether we formula feed or breastfeed our babies. Not only is this strictly a personal choice, but no matter our choice, women shouldn’t be scrutinized for the decision they choose. Articles we read, and even in the media, make breastfeeding “easy”. Even though it might be easy for some, the truth is, it’s very hard for most women. But, lets hear it from other moms:

“Without lactation consultants we wouldn’t be happily breastfeeding at 6 months.”

“Not easy!”

“So much more difficult than everyone makes it out to be; would have been impossible for me without my lactation consultant.”

“Challenging, complicated and very emotional, but I’m so grateful to experience it.”

The choice you make is completely a personal choice.  And for most women, it’s not easy in the beginning, but leads to a rewarding bonding experience in the end. For some women, including myself, breastfeeding was not in the cards. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, some things are not meant to happen, and that’s ok. Women should never be faulted for their choices or their inability to breastfeed their baby. Every woman and their circumstances are unique, just like every baby is unique. ♥

Zoey-park1

Being a mom comes with its ups and downs. By the end of the week, you might be feeling like you are at the end of your rope. You might feel cranky, stressed, angry or even find youself shouting at your family. Sometimes you need to take a step back and remind yourself how far you have come. Remind yourself that its ok if you have no energy to cook a gourmet dinner, or that your house isn’t company ready. Remind yourself that this is a sign of the greatest accomplishment life has given you, a baby. A baby who has filled your life thus far with giggles, snuggles, drool covered kisses and endless smiles. These moments don’t last forever, so embrace them while you can!

My wish for you

Before you were born I always dreamt of what you would be like, who you would become and how your life would be once you were here. Now that you are here,  I find myself wishing for so many things for you. Things that I never knew I would ever have to wish for. zoey sleeping

I wish that when you start going to school, you not only make a lot of friends but you are respected and treated fairly.  I wish that you don’t have to worry about your classmates bullying you over the internet, at school, on the playground or on your way home from school. I wish that schools enforced a more strict  “no policy” against bullying. I wish that if you see someone being bullied you feel safe helping them.

I wish that when you decide to date, whether male or female you are treated with the utmost respect from your partner and the community around you.  I wish that one day, everyone will be treated as equal, and you can freely express romantically that you have found the love of your life without being criticized by the choices you have made.

I wish that one day when you decide to explore the world around you, and travel abroad, you can do it safely without feeling scared. I wish that as you explore this world we live in, you always feel safe. I wish one day when you attend concerts, sporting events or any kind of entertainment you are always safe having fun.

I wish that as you enter into the work force, one day, you are treated equally and you are respected and supported by your achievements. I wish that as you strive to be the best that you can be, you are treated fairly, and you work hard reaching for the top.

I wish one day we all got along. That no matter what race, or ethnic background you are, we all got along.  No matter our physical, or religious differences we treat each other with respect and love, and ultimately how we want to be treated, because at the end of the day, we are all the same. We are all human beings. We all have feelings, and we all come from a place that deserves happiness and love. I wish that if someone you are acquainted with is treated unfairly or disrespected, you also feel safe helping them.

I wish that weapons become a thing of the past. I wish that where ever you are living or travelling too, you are always feeling safe. I wish that when you visit new places, or attend outings with your friends, you don’t have to worry about feeling safe. I wish that proper security measures are in place where weapons are seized and the government has placed a more strict weapon control in our community.  family

My ultimate wish for you, as you grow up and become the best young lady you can be, is that you stay true to your self. No matter the difficulties life and adulthood hands you, you over come it with grace, love and respect and that you are always happy. You stay true to yourself and you don’t let anyone try to change that. As you get older and times become challenging, as they often do, you know you are so well-loved, and you remind your self each day that you are. Just know that some people don’t come from the same place of love, but if we always treat everyone with happiness and love, you are doing your part. One day I hope my wishes for you come true, but if not, maybe one day you will make some of these wishes come true for yourself and for those important around you.

With so much love,

Mom & Dad