I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mom. I come from a very big family, and I am the oldest of my 4 siblings (3 sisters and a brother), and of my many cousins (I lost count a while ago). By default, I was the “built-in babysitter,” as my father would call me. By the time I was about 10 years old I was deemed responsible enough by my parents to be in charge of my younger siblings for short periods of time. This may have contributed to what my husband calls my “bossy” personality (I call it being assertive), but nonetheless, it taught me from a very young age how to care for children and handle the chaos.
I feel that being the oldest of my siblings and cousins, and being trusted to care for them at such a young age, has contributed greatly to my very “type-A” personality. In school, I aimed for straight As, and it became an expectation by my parents. I thrived in a fast-paced, busy environment, and I became a pro at organization. I was determined to achieve great success in all aspects of my life. I had a vision of how things would be when I had kids and a career of my own. I would be tremendously successful right out of college, have smooth, stress-free days at the office, a perfectly kept house, home cooked meals every night for dinner, “gentle” parenting techniques, well-behaved and sophisticated children (you get the idea)…
Once I became a parent I quickly realized how unrealistic that ideology is. So how do I handle advancing my business while also managing my hectic home life? The reality of motherhood is that most days, I’m winging it. I often find myself feeling guilty that our home isn’t picture-perfect-clean or that the never-ending supply laundry is piling up in the baskets. I probably feed my kids chicken nuggets for dinner too often, and I’ve definitely skipped a bath or two when I wasn’t feeling up to it. My kids have accompanied me on showings, sat in my lap while I wrote contracts, and rode along in the car with me while I delivered marketing materials. They have probably logged enough hours as my little assistants to pass the real estate exam (and I’m secretly planning for some day when we can be a mother-daughters real estate team).
I feel that moms put this huge pressure on themselves to keep it together at home while also being successful in their careers. The truth is that it’s impossible to put 110% into both. I once read somewhere that when your kids are grown, they’re not going to look back and remember whether or not the house was always clean or a gourmet dinner on the table every night – the memories that stick with them are going to be the quality time spent together as a family. That statement has really been resonating with me lately. I’m working on not setting such idealistic expectations for myself. I’m becoming a *little* more okay with having a messy kitchen and clothes to fold on the couch when I go to bed at night (and you know what? my girls love having chicken nuggets for dinner).
I’m still figuring it out. But for now, I’ll be content if I can put my kids to bed at night feeling happy and loved, pour myself a glass of wine, and sit back and think about how lucky I am to have the chaotic life that I do.