When I had my first child, I took work-life balance literally.
Before I returned to work, I made a spreadsheet of the hours in the day in thirty-minute increments.
I blocked out time I would be with my son and time I would be away from him.
In my mind, if at the end of a week I was spending more time with him, even just thirty minutes more, I was a good mother.
🏆I would have achieved work-life balance.
I diligently kept this log for weeks.
It started out fine.
But then it became harder and harder to achieve the “balance.”
As the weeks passed, work ramped up and I needed to stay at the office later.
At the same time, my son started to go to bed earlier and sleep through the night.
There were fewer and fewer “with Seth”
boxes being checked on my spreadsheet.
✈️Then I went on my first business trip. As I was having dinner with my colleagues and their spouses, one of the partners in attendance said
“Wow, you have a baby. I wouldn’t leave my 🐕🦺
alone with my husband overnight, let alone my child!”
Chastened, I redoubled my efforts to spend more time with Seth.
This kind of measuring led me to the morning when my husband found me in our son’s room asleep on the floor, next to my son’s crib.
I was trying desperately to get the few more minutes “with Seth” that I needed for my spreadsheet to balance so I would be a “good mother.” (touching the crib counts, doesn’t it?)
When I told my husband what I was doing, he gently but firmly told me that I was misguided.
“Do you see how Seth’s face lights up every time you walk into the room?
See how happy he is?
See how much he is growing and exceeding all his milestones?
You are a great mom!”
I had spent so much time trying hit this arbitrary metric I created, I wasn’t taking care of myself and I wasn’t paying attention to the signs about whether or not my actions were even getting the desired result.(a healthy child that is bonded to me).
💡That was a watershed moment for me. I shifted from trying to follow some arbitrary metric about what makes a good mother (amount of time spent together), to what matters most (how my child is actually doing).
I’d be lying if I said I never had another moment of self-doubt. But that mindset shift was a game changer.
P.S. In case you are wondering that is a stock image.
There is no way one of my kids would give me permission to post one of their baby pictures.☺️
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