Aspiring To Be A Perfectionist Working Mom, Taught Me Many Lessons

As my baby was a light sleeper, it was vital to ensure an atmosphere of pin-drop silence during her nap time and that’s when my work demanded to be at the top of my voice to get things done!

“I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible. ‘ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.” – Tina Fey

Years back, had you questioned me, ‘Would you work after having a baby?’, I would have instantly replied, ‘Nope, I would be a stay-at-home mum to take care of the kiddo.’

Certainly, our perspectives evolve over time, and so did mine.

It was a beautiful sunny day and I had just completed the daily routines of a full-time mum. A few moments back, I had been moving heaven and earth to indulge my nine-month-old in the essence of sleep.

As I sat back on my couch to savour my lemon tea, it dawned on me that I was at the eleventh hour to take a call on my career.

9 months of magnificent motherhood journey had come to an end, and so did the maternity break at my office.

Reminiscing the transition from a happy-go-lucky woman to a responsible mum, progressing through the phases of c-section delivery, intense breastfeeding, sleepless nights, emotional outbreaks, weight gain stress, the journey had been reviving though it felt like a fish out of water often times.

During the break, I had always pondered over the thought of rejoining to work and weighed the pros and cons of being a working mum and a stay-at-home mum.

Every time I would experience cognitive dissonance – the state of having contradictory thoughts and I would end up being in two minds.

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That day, once and for all, I decided to resume work; for I couldn’t cherry-pick something without knowing what it was and how it would feel. After all, it was a working from home job and my baby would be at my close range.

The first working day

Boom!

The first day at the office was full of the joys of the spring, for I had resumed to something that I loved to do. The initial days of being a working mum were a cakewalk. But as the real work pitched in, it became a tough row to hoe alongside motherhood responsibilities.

Little did I know about the insecurity of my job skills etched in my subconscious mind after having taken a long break. Furthermore, I was too careful to ensure that my seniors don’t pity or blame me:

‘She’s a new mum, delegate the task to someone else.’

‘She has a baby to look after, what else can we expect from her!’.

I started accepting the responsibilities and tasks, even when they were stressful and of stringent deadlines. There forth, I had to burn the midnight oil to be on pace with the committed timelines.

Overthinking and stress didn’t help!

Regardless of giving my best at work, I made a few nanoscopic mistakes which eventually would be committed by every other human being.

Yet the tiny mistakes got exaggerated in my lenses since I was over-cautious to not let anyone point fingers at me. Stress started piling up as I regarded myself as ‘a failure at work’.

Casting light on my motherhood side, I was stumbling badly, clueless of ways to balance my duties.

As my baby was a light sleeper, it was vital to ensure an atmosphere of pin-drop silence during her nap time and that’s when my work demanded to be at the top of my voice to get things done.

Irregular and incomplete nap times, missing out on a few motherly tasks, had become a new norm. Motherly guilt started soaring up as I deemed myself ‘a failure as a mum’.

The thoughts of non-performance at work and home were eating me up day in and day out. On the verge of breaking down, I realized that the physical and psychological parts of me were pleading for a break.

I slammed the doors of the stressful thoughts and deep-dived to connect with my inner self; for I always crossed my torrid times with the wisdom bestowed inside.

A ray of sunshine peeped in

Ta-da! As ever, I discovered a ray of sunshine amidst the stormy clouds. To all the mothers who sail on the same boat, here’s what I have to share with you:

  • Out of the office during maternity break doesn’t mean you can’t cope with the current pace. Do away with your unrevealed insecurity!
  • Agree and commit to only what is possible. If people blame you, citing your motherhood as a reason, let them!
  • If you have an option, it’s okay to choose a lighter workload than a heavier responsibility. You still can roar your skills one day!
  • It is okay not to be perfect. Accept and learn from your mistakes, for it is the human tendency to make mistakes.
  • Get rid of your motherly guilt. Even if you are going to be a stay-at-home mum, you will still have your own chores to do and so is your job.
  • Take sufficient breaks personally and professionally to revive your inner spirit. Ultimately, only if you are doing good, you can take care of everyone and everything!

Yes, being a working mum is all worth it; for it also instils a few of the leadership qualities in you – time management, prioritization, perseverance, and accountability.

Enjoy the journey!

Published here first.

Image Source: Leung Cho Pan, free and edited on CanvaPro 

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About the Author

Gayathri Venkatesan

Instructional Designer by profession; Writer by passion. A self sculpting mother exploring life in various dimensions. read more...

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