A Mom’s Work-Life Balance is a Myth!

Reading this from Susan of A Juggling Mom has inspired some thoughts for this post.

It’s been only a week since I started taking care of K and his needs 24/7, while having to manage house-moving, keeping up with deadlines for work, managing 2 blogs, ‘silently’ moderating SMB group on FB and trying to keep awake.

How do moms do it? To be honest, I have trouble keeping up with taking care of hb and I would collapse if I had to handle all the housework at home.

It is so common to read about successful working woman from parenting magazines and how they have managed to keep it all together, with their career, success and their family. Is that really possible? Can they really do it by themselves, or handle them all at once?

I think keeping up this balance causes the stress, anxiety, and guilt we carry as mothers.

In short, the working mom balance does not exist. It is all a myth.

It is like juggling a lot of balls at once, the mom ball, the housework ball, the educator ball, the entertainer ball, the ball that keeps everyone happy and contented at home, the wife ball, the work ball. It is not possible to juggle them all the time without some of them dropping at times. Some balls will bounce right back when you drop them, while other which are fragile, might break and you can’t put them back together.

Screen Shot 2012 06 12 at 7 21 55 PMPhoto from Helico

Came across this great quote recently; ‘Wise mothers who know, are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength, in order to maximize their influence to where it matters most.’ – Julie Beck

Since becoming a mom, I struggle to accomplish everything I think should get done. But being a parent has taught me the ability to let go of perfection and focus on what is most important :

  • No matter what, my family comes first

I have recently turned down an opportunity to consider a full time marketing role in a corporation, despite the potential of a security of bringing home a good salary monthly. A 9 – 6pm job is not possible for a role like that, thus it will mean that it will be alot harder for me to set aside time for K and hb, and to continue what I am doing now.

Working from home now means that household income is greatly reduced, we may not have our own home for some time, but it means that I will have less stress and guilt when trying to juggling my roles as a mom and wife. So something needs to give.

  • Work towards never doing what my child can do for himself.

Just this month, I decided that K should be taken out of his 3 hours kindergarten and be enrolled in full day Montessori childcare from July. Initially, I felt a lot of guilt to have come to this decision, after all, I am a work at home mom and I should be able to take care of him in the afternoons. But I realised that K demands too much of my time when he is at home in the day. The past 1 week have proven to me that it is not possible for me to balance work at home in the afternoons, while taking care of him at the same time.

The bane with working from home is that there tends to be no specific working hours, I can be on my laptop up to 15 hours a day, any hour during the day.

So starting from July 2nd, from 6 pm in the weekday evenings, I will be making sure that I spend that few hours daily in the evening playing, learning or just doing things together with K.

Screen Shot 2012 06 12 at 7 19 05 PM

I am also a lot more proactive these days training K to be more independent, from brushing his teeth, taking his shower and cleaning up after himself. And I am certain being in childcare will help him to further develop his independence in self-help skills.

  • Do something nice for yourself each day.

Like how they say on the plane, in times of emergency, administer the oxygen to yourself first, then take care of the kids / other things.

For me it comes in preparing breakfast for myself every morning and spending that needed time reading and meditating on God’s word.

Screen Shot 2012 06 12 at 7 18 44 PM

Supermoms do exist, but it sure does not apply to me. Motherhood is one of the toughest job that I will ever have, but it is also the most rewarding. I think the best mom I can be, is to be a real mom who deals with plenty of life imperfections and handle the curve balls that are often thrown towards me.

So are a supermom or a real mom like me?



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  1. love your analogy about juggling balls, esp balls that bounce up/ break. It was a difficult decision you made, very wei da since u would rather give up your own home in order to be an available mother and wife. Jia you!

  2. I’m a real mum. At the very least, I think I’m still someone who’s still trying to be a ‘mum’ in every sense of the word!

    Time for C, time for the hubs, and time to be a family… all in a span of a few hours on weekdays and during the weekends which seem to go by in a flash.

    I don’t know how some Mums can keep house, clean house, home-school their (more than one) kids, and still manage to look all put together – but I suppose ultimately it’s knowing our limits and capabilities. There’s really no point in pushing boundaries just because other ladies appear to be able to do so.

    When we attended C’s baptism brief, the priest asked us: What is Love to you? Nobody got the answer right… because we were all so focused on how to ‘show’ Love. It was ‘sacrifice’… because love in any form, involves a great measure of it.

    Motherhood brings with it unconditional love, and in turn – an extensive amount of sacrifice.

    We don’t have to be super moms for us to be wonderful ones. We just need to be happy ones.
    Regina´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday: Friends are people who know all about you…but like you anyway.

  3. Real mum, for sure! It is a daily struggle as we figure out how to be the best wife and mother.
    Cindy´s last blog post ..Diary-free creamy spinach

  4. I like that quote too.

    I’m just a mum, I would say. My mum can’t stand the way I juggle: work, kids, personal time on computer, house chores… negatively commented I’m having more wrinkles than her. She is just concerning on my health, but doing it differently. She probably don’t understand that, I’m actually happy.

    I hope you are happy too. And I see you doing a good job in juggling, at least you are doing something nice to your self each day:).
    pc´s last blog post ..Thankful Tuesday: School Holidays

  5. i’m a mum trying to do the best i can for the girl. i knew i can’t juggle work + home very well given my past workaholic history so i chose to be SAHM since the day my girl was born. But recently for various reasons, I’m going to return to the workforce again. These few days have been hectic and stressful for everyone trying to prepare for the big day when MOMMY is no longer always at home. :(

    I HOPE I can find a balance… Hope REALLY HARD I can keep the balance and not return to my workaholic days… And I will keep your words in mind – “Do something nice to myself each day”

  6. I liked the way you put it, about juggling. How we drop balls and some will bounce back while some might break… And yes, I’m a real mom too, each day is a challenge, but all worth it!
    Jus´s last blog post ..Thinking Thursdays: Recycled dino playscene

  7. Of course we are real moms! :) I am finding out now that as the children grows up, our role as a mother gets more demanding than when they are toddlers or babies. It’s not about picking them up and going anywhere I want to anymore. There are always setbacks in our lives and we have to learn to cross the hurdles by adjusting our own expectations. It’s ever-changing and definitely not easy. I wish we are all supermoms. *hugs*
    Adeline´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday : Kids make dough and moms make merry!

  8. After blogging about my struggles and letting off some pent up frustration on my blog, I  realize that there are so many moms who totally get my plight. As modern moms, the ability to get it altogether does sound like an elusive dream. But like what one of my previous CEO said before, there are seasons in life and life is always a balancing act, not a balanced act. There are seasons where our roles as moms takes 110% of our attention and other times when our work demands us to work overtime, work on weekends, etc. I like what a mom commented on my blog, that for the well being of our mental health, we need to ask for help if we need to. And that’s what I take comfort in, a network of support from you ladies where I can be vulnerable with my struggles and admit that we are real moms, juggling moms, not supermoms.

  9. I like to read yr blogs and many other mum’s blogs as a venue of support and encouragement. Wonder how you ladies manage to finish reading them not to mention writing one too! Just to side track.. Any method of useful application on iPad for reading blogs besides subscribing thru emails?

  10. i am SO a real mum!!! youre doing a great job with K. dont feel guilty about anything!!
    Adora´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday: Goldilocks and the 3 Bears

  11. Hugs! I wholeheartedly agree that supermom is a myth. However I also wonder how other women seem to be able to hold so many roles without fraying one bit and looking like supermodel while at it.

    However I am slowly learning to let go of this supermom pursuit myself, and just focus on what I believe God is calling me to do. I believe that these super amazing women are in a place God has called them to be but He hasn’t called me to do the same. I feel like He is using this time I am staying home to work on my shortcomings. Sounds so strange I know.

    I realize that for myself, I am most happy to be home when I let go of striving to reach this supermom standard I have in my head. I haven’t learnt to be fully content with where I am now in life… But thank God for my hub who cheers me on. Have you ever read the book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence? That is like the challenge of my life now.

    You are doing great Rachel!
    Sarah´s last blog post ..{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: Lovin’ The Mess

  12. It is truly not easy to be a woman these days. We have so many roles to take on and yes, once in a while, the balls do drop. I have learnt to pick my battles to fight and the things which I can close one eye (sometimes both!) to. :p

    Update us again on how Kyle settles down in his new school :)
    Alicia Tan´s last blog post ..A "Wiggles and Giggles" fun morning!

  13. A real mum! Cos there are days when things get in a mess, the house look like a tornado hit it (toys and books everywhere), or the kids don’t sleep well, or I lose my cool, or I have not cleaned the bathtub area for ages, or I don’t know what to cook for dinner (eating out isn’t always an option for us in aussie land)…and the list goes on. Something has gotta give. But i need to always remind myself that admist all these things to do, our little ones heart and our relationship with our hubby matter more than the to do lists.
    Yet always trying to find a nice balance between running the household well and being a mum and wife. Takes practice!
    Grace´s last blog post ..Emily you are 1!

    Rachel Reply:

    Indeed, it takes practice, and we are still learning in our journey.

  14. I am a SUPERMUM… and if you read between the words, it’s really SUPER-sleep-deprived-real-MUM! (So sleep deprived that it took me 10 times to get the spelling right)

    That quote is very apt! Thanks for sharing that
    and btw, I think work from home mums are very disciplined. as you say it really means almost 24/7 time at the computer just that others think it’s all free play time.


    Rachel Reply:

    Haha..your remarks are funny. Actually I am in the same state as u are, esp since I still have to work after 10pm when Kyle goes to bed everyday. It’s alot easier these days when K is in childcare in the day, so it gives me no excuse not to work when he is not at home. After a while, when u realized u have so much to follow up and a never-ending today list, the bed and tv does not look so attractive anymore.