Survivor’s Guide to Working Motherhood and All of Life’s Challeges

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What better way to come out of my blogging hiatus than to discuss the perils of a “working” mother? I put “working” in quotation marks to reflect that I believe every mother is a working mother. That said, a woman who works- particularly full-time, particularly set, inflexible hours has a layer of potential stress that can be damaging if not considered properly.

For me, I feel tired. Mostly in the wee early hours of the morning and in the early evening hours when I get home from work until the time my head blissfully rests on my beloved pillow.

To be fair, I think my husband who is (thank God!) working, studying (CFA exam), learning Torah, praying in synagogue daily, and has family duties here at home may be just as tired as me. So this is for men too though I’m pretty sure men won’t voluntarily read this. Anyway…

This is my challenge. I’m tired. My body hurts. I just don’t feel like getting up to prepare dinner, brush and floss tiny teeth, clean the house, or make lunches for the next day. Worst of all, I wish I did! It’s a blessing to have a home and frustrating to acknowledge that it’s hard to do what’s required to maintain that home.

If I had a personal genie (and in my personal prayers), I would and do wish for the energy and time I need to accomplish everything I want to- and have to- do.

Again, this is my challenge.

Other people have other challenges.

My friends who are searching for their soul-mates are struggling to make sense of why they haven’t found them yet and fighting the burnout that goes along with boring, dreadful, or non-existent dates. They are wading through the murky waters of suitors’ superficial preferences and prerequisites. They have to filter the myriad of bad advice and negative comments they hear from so many around them including family, friends, and matchmakers.

This is their challenge. (May they find their happily ever after spouses soon, at the right time)

I have friends struggling to conceive, feeling out of place in the child-centric communities we have built.  They long for a baby to call their own, a child they can help guide and nurture….a family. Despite themselves, they grow hopeful and positive and their disappointment often turns to despair every month.

This is their challenge. (May they fill their home with many healthy, happy, successful children)

I have friends who are in a constant state of panic over money problems or perceived money problems. I have friends who are bored all the time and feel that life is devoid of pleasure or purpose. There are people battling failing marriages, special needs or difficult children, unhealthy relationships, and serious medical issues.

We all have our challenges.

It’s interesting to see how different people respond to challenges. Some seem to rise to the occasion while others get crushed by the burdens.

Here are my new top seven mantras/rules/aspirations for navigating through every (exhausting) day. Please add your own to my collection so I can have an even ten or maybe some universal ones that would work for any challenge!

7. I will make mistakes. Sometimes really embarrassing ones that immediately invoke regret. It doesn’t look good or feel good but it’s reality so I might as well embrace it.

6. Banish Guilt (Part One) Saying no is better than saying yes sometimes. Even when we have to turn a good deed down in order to focus on our obligatory deeds. (On that note, even if I’m not up to reading a bedtime story, I can still tuck them in and do bedtime rituals with love. Still passable, right?)

5. Banish Guilt (Part Two) My house does not always need to look perfectly clean and neat. Dinner doesn’t need to be better than eggs. Sleep trumps homemaking.

4. Asking for help is profoundly necessary. In the form of a spouse, child, family member, friend, babysitter, housekeeper, or (if you’re lucky) all of the above.

3. Compare myself to no one ever. Compare my family and friends to no one ever.

2. Wash everything away except for this very moment and soak it all in. It might be messy sometimes but it’s always glorious!

1. Thank God for the blessings in THIS moment.

We are all united through our various challenges and life can change so quickly that we may as well appreciate the whole picture- imperfections and all- instead of waiting for the next chapter of our lives.

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