I was recently inspired to do a real time Q&A session on Instagram. The topic – the ever mystic, work & life balance. After answering most questions live on IG, I realized it would be very helpful to provide a write up/ blog post, giving each question the thought and attention that it deserves. Because I seem to have a lot to say about each question, I will attempt to cover one or two questions per blog post. So here we go.
Question 1: How do you not get not get anxiety or guilty about being so busy?
Yes, I am a Wife and Mother of twins, Founder of RAWW and as of three months ago, also employed full-time with a great organization that I am very passionate about. Truth is, I do feel anxiety and mommy-guilt every now and then (more now than then). It typically come in waves and triggered by fatigue and lack of sleep. But If I am totally honest, I actually felt much more anxiety and mommy guilt as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM).
Now, I realize that every motherhood experience is different and therefore do not expect my story to resonate with all moms. I do know, however, that my story is not unique, and that many working mothers have gone through similar transitions.
Previously, and particularly in the last few months before starting my full-time job, I found myself feeling somewhat disconnected from my children. I was physically there, reading to them, playing with them and somehow not there at all. My mind would wonder and drift into what I wanted to do in the next couple of years, in regards to my career and my passion projects. These thoughts caused intense anxiety and immediate mommy-guilt as I, almost simultaneously, realized I was not giving my children 100% of myself.
Looking back, I could see that I was yearning for more intellectual stimulation. And while RAWW provided me a much needed creative outlet, I was also craving more financial independence—the kind that unfortunately is not always compatible with startup nonprofits. 😉
Needless to say, I am very grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to stay at home with my children for the time that I did. I know many moms out there that do not have that luxury. With some funds saved up, my husband and I had a plan that worked financially and logistically (at least for a couple of years). I embraced it and committed to being the best SAHM ever!
This of course, was far easier said than done. The transition from working all the time prior to kids to becoming a full-time SAHM was a complete shock. For one thing, I struggled with postpartum depression, that I knew stemmed from cultural expectations of what it meant to be a mom. As the children grew, I became better at attending to their needs. Eventually, I found my flow.
This year my kids turned three. They are happy and healthy children that definitely keep my husband and I on our toes. While the intention was to stay at home initially, it was also not meant to be a permanent thing. Both financially and for my satiny, I knew that eventually I needed to go back to work. Fortunately, for me, I sought out and secured a day job that I actually really love, and I could do easily. Not to say that it’s not challenging in nature, I am just really good at what I do and therefore do it with relative ease. This role does not compete with my personal life and my passion project. Frankly, this could be the reason why I can maintain a nice balance. I strongly believe that balance comes when the different components in your life complement each other and do not compete.
I know this to be true, because it hasn’t always been this way. There were many times in the past few years where the components in my life DID NOT complement each other (another blog post for another day). Today, however, I am full.
For me, it was healthier for me to return to work. The first day of a full day’s work, I came home invigorated. I, for the first time in a long time, experienced fullness. That night, I cooked dinner, played with my kids, bathed them, and got them ready for bed with energy left to spare.
Now, having worked a day job for over three months, I see that this type of efficiency is not common (bummer right!). The point here is that even on the days I get home physically drained, I still have the mental capacity to be fully present with my kids –this alone has made the difference. At the end of the day, it’s about quality of time vs. the amount of time.
Finally, I would like to end with redefining the concept of “busy”. To me, the term has a type a negative connotation that no longer serves me. I’d like to think that when you score a nice balance in your life, you are no longer busy, you are full.
Here are a couple of Merriam-Webster definitions of both terms.
Busy: foolishly or intrusively active
Full: rich in experience, not lacking in any essential
See what I mean.
As a side note, I always try to nourish my mind. I am currently listening to Becoming by Michelle Obama on Audible. What are you reading/ listening to? That’s all for now, and to the person who asked the question. Thank you so much.
With gratitude and massive love,
Diana R. Diaz