I grew up like many millennial mamas did: I came home from school day after day. Popping open a pack of dunkaroos to munch on while I did homework. All while a deliciously mindless sitcom played in the background. The likes of Boy Meets World and Sister, Sister were my go-to shows, with other Disney classics finding their way into the mix from time to time.
One of the things I was most enamored with about those afternoons, though, was watching the moms on those shows. I’m one of those admittedly crazy folks who has wanted to be a mom for as long as I could remember. And having always had a tumultuous relationship with my own mother made me long for that connection even more. I’d take in all of the warm life advice the sitcom mamas were dishing out. And noting they were doing this incredible parenting along with their full-time jobs that were just vague enough. Also, making a full spread for breakfast and dinner.
It got me wondering about these super-moms: beyond the fact that my muses were just great actors on a TV show. It made me think about those I know in my own life that seem to keep every ball in the air like a champ.
I know women who are working from home full-time whose kids always seem to be so happy and well-adjusted. Their homes are immaculate, with never a dog hair floating about. My house, on the other hand? It looks like it’s wearing a permanent sweater from the fuzz our pup gives off. Also, it feels like the laundry pile started the day we moved in and hasn’t reached the bottom yet. I have scoured the internet, made an endless amount of lists with the intention of being organized or somehow better: yet I feel I keep coming up short.
My girl is still little, but I feel overwhelmed with the demands of work, school, and life already. How in the world will I go forth and raise an insanely well-rounded little one when it feels as though I’m currently falling flat myself? I can do a few things well at one time. However, I am unsure if I’m cut out to be the super-mom I’ve always aspired to be.
I applied and enrolled for graduate school when baby E was a few months old and I still work full-time out of the house. Also, I want to keep everything moving. I want the happy and fulfilled baby and spouse, the clean house, the stellar job performance. But it feels like my hopes and dreams of having it all are being dashed daily. Frankly, I continue to fight against the grain of every “I can’t,” that pops into my mind, but it’s beginning to wear me down.
Honestly, I want to pretend like the balancing act will get easier: like each next step brings with it something that makes our lives feel less inundated. And maybe that will be the case when jobs are less involved, little hands can help make for light work. And that elusive graduation day finally arrives. I’ve always told myself I can do it all and have it all, and want so desperately to set this example for my daughter.
Perhaps, though, it’s more important to show her how to prioritize. Or I’ll be the mom of her dreams, but the house will never always be ready for company. Maybe, I’ll show her the secrets to lazily eating healthy, all while enjoying the time we’re spending together. Perhaps I’ll re-adopt my old college mantra of “C’s get degrees,” and spend less time on research and more time with my husband in the evenings.
Maybe I’ll learn it’s less about having it all, and more about being all in where you are.
I want to be wholly present in each task: I want to be mindful and purposeful and focused. I’ll spend less time fretting over the ways in which I am flawed and spend more time reminding myself of the things I am incredibly good at.
Maybe I’ll teach my girl these things, too. But I’ll know I have succeeded when she points to me and notes that she wants to emulate my mothering style, and not one from the TV.