Working Moms & Personal Time

This weekend I’m going away for a short trip with a few of my best girlfriends. Between weddings and babies it’s been a long time since the group of us got together for no reason other than to enjoy each other’s company and I’m feeling very excited…and guilty. This weekend is decidedly “me time” and while before having Liam I was a strong advocate of being a mom who maintained personal relationships and a sense of personal identity, I’m finding it significantly harder in practice.

For me, the most challenging part of figuring out work/life balance is that it’s about more than “work” and “life.” It’s about figuring out how to fit together all of the competing priorities that working moms often face. I want to be a good mom. I want to be a good employee. I want to be a good wife, friend, daughter, sister, etc. And, I want to make time for hobbies and personal activities that I enjoy doing. I recognize that balance comes with making choices and setting priorities, which I’m trying to do, I guess I just didn’t anticipate the level of guilt I would feel as a working mom when I chose something other than Liam as a non-work priority.

The other day I found “The Venn Diagram of Parenthood” via Working Moms Break and it really resonated with me. It made me wonder if American Moms who are in the center of that venn diagram are viewed as “bad” moms too and that’s why I’m feeling so guilty.

I know taking time for myself doesn’t make me a bad mom. In fact, in many ways I think it makes me a better mom. I shouldn’t feel guilty for occasionally doing something for myself, but I do. And ultimately, maybe that’s what I need to work on. Reminding myself that carving out some measure of personal time makes me feel more whole and that in turn makes me a better mom. Living in that center area of the diagram doesn’t come easy but I know it’s ultimately where I want to be. Let’s just hope it doesn’t require a move to Sweden.

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