When I was little I used to think I would grow up and have the perfect family. That’s a husband, two kids, a dog, and a perfect house and a great job. I’d be living happily ever after. Now in my 30’s I realize how far my life is from that fantasy. I’m a single mom, and for the past 12 years I’ve tried to balance being everything to everyone: the coach, the parent, the friend, the businesswoman, and even the doctor. And it’s not easy. Finding the balance between my career and my duties as a mom has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
The worst thing is the guilt. I felt guilty whenever I had to leave my son, especially when he was a baby, or when I couldn’t spend as much time with him because of work. So I changed careers. I left my passion for media and went to work in an office, where my schedule would be a regular 9-to-5 and I’d be home by 5:30.
It was torture. I felt stifled. I wasn’t me. But I thought I had no choice. I thought that if I worked more hours I wasn’t a good mother. Soon, I realized that being unhappy professionally would affect my daily life, and that it would also affect my son. I compromised too much of myself.
Being a mom doesn’t mean you have to give up on everything you want. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, you must make sacrifices. But at the end of the day you have to be happy with your career.
The guilt also stemmed from being a single mom. I felt like I had to overcompensate and be there for every activity. I never missed a school event or game and went to every BBQ. I planned my schedule around his and never gave a moment to myself. That might sound selfish, but we all need to have a small percent of ME time. To do something and be able to say, “This is for ME.”
That’s where the balance comes in.
Every day I remind myself that doing what I love will make me more successful and benefit me and my son. Instead of feeling guilty, I think of how these career opportunities will help my son, and how much easier our life will be. As a woman I once placed this insane amount of pressure on myself to be a perfect mom. Let’s be honest: nobody is! It’s taken me a while, but I finally figured it out.