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On working mother guilt & other thoughts

I’m kind of rambling in my brain today on the topic of mother guilt, and so please excuse me while I get it all out of my system, mmkay?

Number one most frequently asked question when I chat with other mom friends who are shaking their heads with wide eyes: “When do you do it all?”  And my standard answer is “Naptime” or “after J goes to bed.”

But honestly, it’s more than that. There’s so many (many) days when I let him watch TV for way too long so I can do more. And now that he’s in school, I have 3 solid days to “get stuff done.” Which inevitably doesn’t get all done.  What you’re not seeing the fact that the laundry is piled to the ceiling in the laundry room (unfolded, naturally) or the fact that I haven’t done dishes in days.   I have a hard time turning things off, workwise, because it’s always there with me.  My business is my other baby in so many ways.  I find that inwardly I worry when I’m struggling with the balance of it all. I struggle with sacrifice and with servanthood. I struggle with turning off the computer and focusing on the precious lives in front of me, not to mention the dishes or the laundry.  I continually see my own selfishness as I continue in this parenting (and working)  journey.

At Sunday school this past week, our class is doing a study on marriage and the topic du jour was expectation. As we were discussing it afterwards, Simon mentioned that before we were married, he had the expectation that I was never going to work outside the home at a traditional job.  I kinda laughed. “Hmm, well… guess that didn’t turn out exactly the way you thought it would.” He grinned.  “That’s ok.”    The truth is, I’m so lucky that he is so understanding and supportive.  He knows that I need a creative outlet because it’s fulfilling to me, because it makes me happy. I’m lucky that he’s my biggest cheerleader.

Sometimes I feel like it’s a fight for moms especially to stay true to themselves. There’s a struggle for identity – yes, I’m someone’s mom, but I’m someone’s wife, and then I’m colorful, creative me too.  I don’t think that it’s bad for me to have something I love to do, but can I be honest? Sometimes I do feel like I have to keep that thought to myself, as if I will appear too selfish or that I don’t love my family enough if I admit that. Isn’t that silly?

In so many ways, I am so creatively fulfilled through this blog and through my work. But beyond the designing and blogging, I love the connections that happen through this.  Some of my current best friends have come through blogging. I’m thrilled to have met so many other girls with ulcerative colitis, many of whom are considering surgery, because I’ve been there and I know the struggle firsthand that comes with that. That’s the part I love best – the encouraging, the listening, the turning of the bad of my experience into good by helping others through their bad. All the other stuff – the pretty, fun, colorful design stuff – is just icing on the cake, you know?

Last week as I opened a new shipment of iPhone cases to be delivered to customers, Jude wrinkled up his nose and asked, “Mom, why do you buy so many phone cases anyways?”  I cracked up. Of course he has no idea what I’m doing. He doesn’t understand what Simon or I do. He just knows that Daddy has a lot of houses and mommy has a lot of cell phone cases.

Guess that’ll have to do for now.

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