Life

On Work/Life Balance

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Work/life balance is a topic that I’ve thought about for years and have never had the guts to write about. Even now I feel strange posting about it. Because what do I really know? I keep changing how I feel and think about this topic and likely even a year from now I’ll be in a different place. But for today I wanted to share my thoughts on work/life balance, about six months into my second baby and a little over two years into my first one.

Here is a summary of what my work life has been like since having children:

  • 6 month mark (after baby #1 is born): Leave job
  • 1 Year: Baby is 1, so decide well I should either go back to work or just go for the second since I’m already out of the game. What to do, what to do? Agonize.
  • 1 Year + some months: Pregnant with #2
  • 2 Years: Give birth to #2. Shortly after, start to work (very) part-time from home

And here is my current work/life situation: Two children at home, a toddler about two and half years and a baby about six months, neither which are in school. A full time nanny who watches one and I cover the other (we swap off who has who on a casual basis. I love my nanny. She is great). A part time job which I do from home, usually for an hour during the day and then the rest after the kids bedtime. Occasionally I have a deadline and then really have to rush and stay up late after everybody has gone to bed.

How do I feel about my situation? Well, first off – I know that I’m enormously fortunate to even have a nanny. And to have the choice to stay home. So there’s that. And I feel happy that I have a job that I enjoy, that offers me enormous flexibility to be with my children when and where I want. And I can do it in pajamas.

But still, even after all that – I just feel so-so. I often feel like I’m getting the crap end of things. Of life, and of the gender balance. At times, I am very frustrated.

I write this not to show you all how ungrateful I am (hmm) but to be honest that even in a good situation, in what many would see as a privileged situation…as a woman with young children…there are often times that I feel like life kind of sucks. I basically feel like a slave to my kids (and sometimes my husband, and my house, which perpetually needs cleaning). I mean, I had barely finished breastfeeding number one when I was already pregnant with number two! And now I’m doing it all over again! Will my body ever be completely mine again? My time? Will I ever be able to sit down and watch a one hour TV show without be subsumed by guilt about all the stuff that I have to do which is currently being neglected? And isn’t it ridiculous that I’m complaining about all of this? I mean, nobody forced me to have two kids, nobody forced me to have them close together. This was my choice.

I have the feeling that many women out there might feel somewhat similar. And so now I come around to what my current view is on work/life balance, at this moment in my life. That my children are young, and needy, and they require a certain amount of my time, and so thus other parts of myself are just going to suffer. My work, my personal life and occasionally my sanity. I’ll try my best to see the upside, and usually I do…but for the times that I don’t, I try to accept that this is part of the struggle (see this post).

So as a summary: work/life balance not great, but not terrible, and I hope it will get better each week, each month, each year.

Earlier this year I wrote down some of my general (and wardrobe) resolutions in this post. And it seems that this one in particular spoke to a few of you.

Figure out a way to balance my work with personal and family life and not feel guilty about neglecting whatever I’m not focusing on at the current moment.

I think that’s a good ideal to strive towards…if not the first part then at least the last. No guilt. Doesn’t the world already punish us enough as it is as women? So let’s take it easy on ourselves and each other.

What is your work life balance currently like? What are you currently working with? And how are you managing?

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54 Comments

  • Reply
    Gabriela
    January 15, 2018 at 10:51 am

    First of all, i don’t have children but i think from personal experience about taking care of family, i´ve realized that you can´t go back to what was before. Your sons enrich your life today. So life got better but different. I know I can´t go back nor do I personally want to, even though it´s rougher. It´s part of growing up. I would not give up my current situation taking care of family for what I had before…
    (If you fell this comment should not be published it´s okay)
    Thank you for all your post. I really enjoy them. G.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 8:53 am

      Of course I feel it should be published! Thank you for sharing Gabriela 🙂

  • Reply
    Leslie
    January 15, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Katherine: I am single and I live alone and no way can I sit on the sofa and watch an hour-long TV show without feeling guilty about what I am NOT doing. I watch most TV in the kitchen while cooking or cleaning the kitchen. If I want to watch TV in the living room, I bring in a project. Just saying, some of us are wired that way, no matter our living situation. Only in bed sleeping am I ever truly single-threaded. And yes, I am very blessed and I know it…and I still complain. You are very human and very normal.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 8:53 am

      Great point and I love the way you describe it – single threaded.

  • Reply
    westm
    January 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Having littles is very difficult, emotional and stressful. I think there is a myth that there is a balance, as I feel like we always have to give something up. It is real life and that is ok. Just remember to appreciate what you do have and enjoy the little things in life. I have teenagers and trust me, you still get interrupted, fussed at, and time is not necessarily your own, but I am enjoying my time with them and finding joy in these moments as well. It will be ok, I promise:) I really enjoy your honest blog!

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 8:54 am

      Thank you so much and I’m happy to hear that you are enjoying your time with your teenagers 🙂

  • Reply
    Yumi
    January 15, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Hi Katherine,

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. Knowing how driven you are and how committed to your career you were, I was morbidly curious how staying at home with your kids has treated you – especially as I venture into the questions of kids or not. In looking at your thoughts and gathering information from people around me, I’m recognizing that there is a theme that runs common to everyone: that as women, regardless of the choices we make, we will be openly judged for our personal lives and we just need to be okay with it. I think the truth is that there is no perfect situation for any of us and that all the options we have right now kind of suck if you want more than one thing. The hope for me is that we can someday have better options so family and career can both be options.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 8:55 am

      100% hope we can have better options or at least our children. I think by the time you make your decision, you will at least be highly informed 🙂 Best of luck!

  • Reply
    Phil
    January 15, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Hi Kat,

    I quit my full-time, stable job to pursue graduate school full time. Do I regret leaving my job? Well, it was a bold move–something that a lot of people may not have have the guts to do, especially with the economy that we have. Personally though, I feel so-so about it. I’m happy that I have my freedom again and that I’m learning, but I can’t help but feel so guilty. Guilty because I’m spending a lot of money. Guilty because I’m not making any money. Guilty because I could be earning money instead. I’m honestly not sure if Master’s degrees are still practical nowadays. However, it has always been a dream of mine have one.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 8:55 am

      Fulfilling a dream is 100% worth it. Please try to let go of your guilt 🙂

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 15, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Life with young kids…The days are (soooo) long but the years are short, indeed. They grow up in a blink of an eye. Enjoy it while you can. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 15, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Work life balance is a myth. Do what you feel is right for you. You know what they say, no one says, “I wish I worked more” on their deathbed.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Perhaps I will need to get this tattooed!

  • Reply
    I-Ping
    January 15, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Kat I have two boys who were also close together. Fortunately I live in Asia and have the advantage of a live in helper and could hence go back to work. Nevertheless I can’t pretend it was easy going back to work with young children and that part of my life is a bit of a blur. I feel my career definitely took a back seat during those years… I mean, I was still doing ok, but I could have achieved more and done more then. It’s definitely easier now that they’re older so hang in there!

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Thank you so much for the encouragement!

  • Reply
    Abby
    January 15, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    I feel you and agree with the poster above who said there aren’t any great options. I breastfed baby #1 until he was 15 months old and wanted my body and a little time to myself for a while before trying for #2. Now my son is two and getting pregnant has been harder. In my dramatic moments, I feel old (at 34) and worry that this will take years, my kids will be too far apart in age, I’ll be paying my nanny (who I adore) for decades, etc. That doesn’t even touch on the guilt I feel for working full time, even though I think that’s the optimal choice for me right now. Still, when I stop to reflect, this is the happiest I’ve ever been from a personal and career standpoint. So many multitudes. Wishing you some peace and contentment and I hope it gets easier.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 8:57 am

      I totally feel you on feeling old (I am 33). I’m so glad to hear you are feeling happy though which I think is an understanding which comes from maturity.

  • Reply
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
    January 16, 2018 at 12:00 am

    A bit tangential but I suspect we’d always feel some kind of “being judged / this is judge-worthy” guilt for the choices we make because when we make a choice, we are choosing something and not choosing other options. A friend, in talking about her perspective on midlife crises, posited that part of getting older is living with the results of those decisions and feeling your road get narrower. I get a little of the same feeling as JB gets older – do we have a second? Do we wait? Is it too late?
    And of course this links back to work. I’ve been full time since four months after birth. That’s been good for keeping my career moving forward steadily albeit much more slowly than my usual work pace. I haven’t made great strides like I’m accustomed to and dwelling on that fact makes me unhappy. And yet if we had a second, I’d like that gap to be longer. I’d like to have more time to just worry about the newborn and myself and not about deadlines but we also have to pay for childcare. So that raises the question of whether we can afford for me to be off (probably unpaid) for a longer period and still pursue our financial goals and also raises the question of whether my job would accommodate it. Maybe. And maybe I could go back very parttime and juggle it the same way I did while I had JB home full time and worked full time: work during naps and into the night. But that’s quite hard on the body – fielding the night cries *and* the night deadlines. I suspect I’d feel unhappy with that compromise in the moment as well, even if it was temporary and even though I’d be grateful if it was working.
    The one thing I do know for sure now is, as a reformed workaholic, I don’t want to be that anymore. Work is still important in that it pays the bills and keeps me intellectually engaged but I’m working on finding other ways to achieve that in the event that we reach financial independence.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 9:22 am

      You are a rock star, I’ve been following everything you are doing and dealing with and you really are superwoman. Best of luck for what you decide in the future for your family!

  • Reply
    Nvie
    January 16, 2018 at 4:14 am

    Having kids is a lifestyle change. Similar as I-Ping, I’m in Asia, lucky to have a live-in helper. I still have my share of housework as she can’t do it all which I do o my weekends.

    I work full time but career is taking a back seat as I have sacrifice my travels because my husband travels a lot for work, so someone has to stay home.

    I have no social life, no tv time and no time to read books. My after office hours is dedicated to dinner, homework, wash up and bedtime story before boys go to bed. Then it’s my time to shower and go to bed. It has been ages since the last I girls night out.

    Financial independence is important to me and I will work until I retire so that I can continue to feed my shopping habits without the guilt. Connecting with other through work keeps me sane and I think I manage my boys and my helper better.

    My lifestyle has completely changed and I’ve learned to embrace it as we go through different stages of life. 🙂

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 16, 2018 at 9:23 am

      Thank you for being so honest. Often I have a very rosy view of what having children is like in Asia with the helpers, etc but I think it is a universal and global struggle.

      • Reply
        Nvie
        January 16, 2018 at 2:38 pm

        Well, of course there are very well to do families with 3 or 4 live in helpers but can you imagine managing them? Rosy? It would be a nightmare. Helper like your full time nanny makes it easier; we are grateful for that so we have have more time with our kids. I always feel like there is never enough time because I’m so strict with my boys when it comes to timing.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 16, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I’m pumping at work while reading this. I have a 8 month at home with her grandma(paternal), who loves her as much as resents/hates me. I have visited day care and interviewed nannies but worry took hold of me wherever I thought I was going to leave her to them. I love children and want to have more but not sure if I can go through this again. It sucks as a woman at this point. I had the best time of my life though when I was on maternity leave and my mom was staying with us – surrounded by so much love!

  • Reply
    Nina
    January 16, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Hi Kat,
    Thank you for sharing, this post really resonant with me. My son is about the same age as yours and I am currently 5 months pregnant with my second. I went back to work part-time two months after giving birth to my first and switched to full time a year after. We also have a full-time nanny but I still feel guilty constantly, both about not spending enough time with my son, and always arriving late and leaving early at work. I really admire your decision to quit your job to become at SAHM. It’s really a lot more difficult. Compared to childcare, I feel like I’m on vacation coming to work. I feel that I have no time to myself when at home. When my son is playing on his own, I try to tidy up the house. When it’s meal time, I am the one responsible to cook AND feed him. My husband is a great dad, and has been super supportive but I still feel that the majority of childcare is “expected” of the mom, and anything the dad does is “extra.” keep up the good work mommy! Things will get easier as your kids grow older.
    I also want to encourage you to not give up on traveling! I love your travel posts and I feel like I’m always living vivaciously through them. In fact, we just got back from a trip to Taiwan and Tokyo. My son did great (other than jet lag returning to the States). We stayed at the Four Seasons Marounochi per your recommendation.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      Oh I’m so jealous you were in Japan and thank you for the encouragement! We plan to get back there hopefully next year! 🙂

  • Reply
    KS
    January 16, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve recently decided to take a work from home part-time role so I can be home with my two young kids (4.5 and 1.5 years old). I’m pretty terrified because I know that I love the structure that going to work provides and find being home with the kids draining. It’s helpful to hear your honest response of what it’s like. I’d love to hear how you structure your day and create a routine for yourself. We will likely have a part-time nanny, but I’m worried about keeping up with my work with children at home.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 18, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      I will try to do a post on this in the future! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tracey
    January 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I totally feel your struggle. I have a pretty high level executive job at a big company on the west coast, my husband is a doctor, and we have one child. Like you I have a full time live in nanny. But I travel a lot for my job, and my husband is on call every 5 weeks, so we really need someone there if I am gone. I struggle all the time with both my sanity, time, and just trying to fit everything in. I think if you have two people who want to have type A careers, it is very hard to have kids on top of it. We are lucky that we have help, but we still struggle with who has the mental load of the family, specifically with the child (mostly me!!!).

    • Reply
      Nvie
      January 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Tracey, I’ve learned that one can’t have it all, something has to give. I’ve decided that my career is the one to take the back seat as I’m happy with my position before having kids. Going for the next position, take up a lot of energy and plenty of my time, I’m willing to sacrifice that, for now, till kids are older. Remember, there are poor rich kids and I don’t want my kids to be in that situation, all because of neglect as parents are chasing their own dreams.

    • Reply
      Anna
      January 17, 2018 at 6:40 am

      I love what you say about “mental load”. It is so true! Even with nanny, there are lots of mental energy involved with caring for the children and managing the nanny etc.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 18, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      Your story is one I hear all the time and I can relate to it even though I am at home. It’s so difficult and until you are in the situation it’s had to explain exactly why. I hope things ease up soon.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    January 16, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Kat, hang in there, it gets better and I hope that you will find a mid point/balance for yourself, your family and above all your sanity. The days are long and the years are short. Already at 8.5 and 6, my girls don’t need me as much. They can play by themselves for hours on end while I work, take a nap, rest or whatever. That’s not to say that they don’t fuss or fight or be needy; they do plus there is also alot of time spent together on homework and school projects.
    When work is busy, I can be working up to 15 hours a day. The husband will have to deal with drop offs and pick ups. I will still prepare dinner unless I am in an absolute bind than he has to deal with dinner too.
    When work is slow, I take it easy because it makes up for the crazy 15 hours days for weeks or months at at a time.
    The husband is super hands on and handles getting them ready in the morning, preparing their lunch boxes and breakfast. I am in charge of dinner.
    He switched jobs 2 years ago and is no longer able to do pick-ups or help bring them to after school activities.
    We have worked out a schedule where I am covering all these now.
    Since the twins started Kinder, we have started bringing them to school together, no more curbside drop offs at least until towards the end of first grade 🙂 Gotta to be fair yeah?
    The husband does his share of household chores – he does the laundry, always have so I am good in that department. I have a cleaning lady who comes in once a week who does floors, kitchen and bathrooms so that takes care of that.
    Unfortunately, not working is not an option for our household finances, believe me, I have tried sounding it out with the husband and all I got was the eye roll and death glare, lol! When work was beyond crazy and your sanity was in question, I had wanted to quit. But I glad I hung in there and rode it out.
    Sorry for the disjointed piece but work life balance, changes all the time since it has so many variables. All we can do is adapt adapt adapt.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 18, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you so much Michelle, I love following along on the three berries and seeing your beautiful family and understanding your struggle makes me feel better about my own and not so alone.

  • Reply
    Teresa
    January 16, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Kat,
    Here is my personal experience. I have 14 and 17 yo girls and I’m an ER doctor. I had my first one during last year of residency training in NY so I had to go back to work after 2 months of leave. My husband is also a physician but with more stable hours in ophthalmology. We had a live-in nanny during training with my mom staying with us training the nanny when I went back to work. When we finished training and baby was almost one, we moved back to LA where our families are and hired a full time but not live-in nanny since we have immediate families close by and husband didn’t have to take calls at night. I tried to bunch my ER shifts together and worked at night so I could spend more time with my daughter during the day while she was awake. Daughter #2 came and I took slightly longer time off for 4 months then went back to work full time again. By that time, the first one started preschool so my nanny could take care of the younger one without being overwhelmed. I enjoyed being a preschool room mom, heading up fundraising committees so I didn’t have to miss out on any important school events. I would tried to sneak a nap here and there after my night shifts. I trained myself to sleep whenever there was free time (baby napping or at park with Nannt or school). With multi tasking and good time management, I was able to joggle full time career in medicine and being a full time mom. I was lucky husband is very hands on with taking care of kids needs, reading to them, doing homework and when they were little, feeding and bathing them when I was working. I think the trick is definitely shared responsibility and multi tasking. I finally went to 80% time at work when we started building our custom home and when the oldest one turned 11 so I could be there for endless decision makings with our contractor. That was the best decision I made to cut back. When kids are older, they have so many after school activities both weekdays and weekends. I’ve become their driver and cheerleader at various competitive club swim meets and music recitals. I think they required more time from me now than they were little. I still work a lot of nights and sleep while they are in school. I’m learning the work life and family balance all the time because demands change constantly so I have to be flexible and adaptive. I didn’t want to quit work all together because I didn’t want all the years in school and training to go to waste. But every once in a while I do secretly wish I’m full time mom/housewife 😜. My oldest daughter will be going to college soon this fall and the little one to follow in 3 years, I’m glad I still have my career to keep me busy. Treasure your time with your babies because when you blink, they are off to college. Don’t feel guilty about relaxing and have some times to yourself. I find myself less irritable and more tolerant when I got some alone mommy time to enjoy watching TV, retail therapy, or just simple mani-pedi. Hope my experience give you a different perspective. Go Bears!

    • Reply
      Anonymous
      January 17, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Your comment about kids needing your when they’re older is so true. It felt so hard to work when my children were very little, but it feels even harder with my teenage girl. My work colleagues used to tell me about big kid= big problems when I had a baby, and I didn’t believe them.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 18, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      GO BEARS and thank you so much for sharing your experience. You make a great point about older children also needing parent time and it’s something I hear often from parents.

  • Reply
    Jane
    January 16, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    I don’t like the term work/life balance. According to the dictionary, balance is defined as an even distribution of weight – as in maintaining a state of equilibrium. On a scale, the only way to keep a true balance is with perfect stillness. But our lives are in constant motion. That’s why it feels like we are always struggling to keep “balance”. Perhaps life is more like a pendulum that is meant to swing freely and will automatically restore itself to center. Beyond semantics, my own experience include returning to work two months postpartum because I wanted to and because I had to. I became a partner at my firm when I was still single. Then life took a sudden turn when I married my husband and we had our first (and only) child a year ago. I did worry about a career set back if I stayed away from my field for too long. But ultimately, I enjoy my work and am happy to continue on my professional path. Although I could not afford to quit, I am fortunate to be able to afford a day-time nanny while I am at work. I have my mom and in-laws helping on some nights and weekends. My husband’s job also has very flexible hours so he is certainly hands-on. I believe in the saying “it takes a village” – not just for the child, but also for the much needed support for parents too. Within our village, no one person ever feels fatigued because we all take turns caring for my daughter. I have been lucky to escape the mommy guilt. Knowing my daughter is in competent hands when I’m not with her allows me the freedom and focus to pursue other things. But when I am present with her, I treasure the time we spend just giggling, running around, and playing. For me, feeding her and rocking her to sleep is not a chore because I don’t feel alone or overwhelmed doing it. Knowing how fortunate I am to have so much help, I swear I would never judge another parent who has to do it all himself/herself.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 18, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      It does take a village. And I agree – once you become a parent, you judge way less, knowing how hard it is!

  • Reply
    Anna
    January 17, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Kat, you have a beautiful family! How precious are those two! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and the overwhelming replies. I’m learning so much! I had my first one last year and yes it has completely changed my life! It was a lot of struggle going back to work and it still is! I didn’t quit not because of financial reasons but because of my insecurities about my relationship with my husband. Don’t take me wrong, he is a great guy – a feminist husband who changes diaper, cleans the dishes and does the laundry. But I worry this will all change if I quit my job and be a stay at home mom. The dynamic might change and the feminist me will resent and that will not do good to our relationship. Having kids seem to have little impact on men’s work life balance! From my observation, I think because they don’t have the guilt or crazy worry when the kid is away from them even when they are so small! hmm… Luckily I have a great manager, who is European and has two young kids himself, so I never got asked questions when I say I need to work from home or leave early. That is not to say I didn’t get passed on promotions or looked at unfavorably by other colleagues. I am aware I’m in a better situation than many, but yes a lot of struggles… I’m terrified to think of having a second although I really want my daughter to grow up with siblings. I might follow your timeline and have the second one in close succession and see if I can stick it out… if not maybe I will quit for a year, hopefully after which I can still get back in the game. Again thank you for sharing your experience honestly. You are the only blog I still follow these days.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 18, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you so much and I understand completely your point about the dynamic with your spouse, no matter how egalitarian they are. It’s always a worry. Good luck whatever you decide with sibling timing!

  • Reply
    Mercy
    January 18, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Looking after for 1 baby is really hard how much more for 2 at one time. That’s why having a nanny is such a blessing as I have tried taking care of 2 small children years ago. And now I’m back with my 3rd child who’s still a toddler although I’m also working full time. On the weekends or school holidays when 3 of them are at home I feel good being able to look after their needs but when everything gets chaotic and noisy I say to myself I should have gone to work. Thinking that way makes me feel guilty but that’s just life getting at me. Don’t feel guilty of anything as you’re doing your best and I tell you what you feel now will get better in time.

    http://www.busyandfab.com

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 20, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Take care of yourself! It sounds like you are handling it very well and maturely 🙂

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 20, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Take care of yourself! It sounds like you are handling it very well 🙂

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    It seems like we are on very similar situation. To many it seems to be a desirable situation. I have 2 boys, a full time nanny. My older son is in pre-school, so like you, I am switching roles with my nanny with a lot of obligations from his pre-school, but I basically do most of the housework and my nanny only takes care of anything related to my boys.

    It sucks, the children brainfry you like an infant and I miss talking to adults. Staying home is not the best job, it really isn’t.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 20, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      I completely feel your pain. I really hope it gets better (for both of us) soon!

  • Reply
    Candice
    January 20, 2018 at 5:06 am

    Hi Katherine,

    I have been a lurker since you first started this blog . This post couldn’t be more timely. I am like about a year behind you with a one-year old and recently found out we are expecting number 2. I don’t know why it matters how other people balance their lives, but this post really resonates with me. Truthfully, perhaps because I feel like you are my better self (the version of myself that makes time to read and was smart enough to get into an Ivy League and not just a Top 30 grad school and who takes exotic vacations with not 1 but 2 babies in tow) and so if you too have these struggles then maybe I don’t just completely suck at life. My life has been so much of this sentiment “I basically feel like a slave to my kids (and sometimes my husband, and my house, which perpetually needs cleaning)” that as much as I want number 2 I am feeling a bit anxious and depressed about the prospect of adding a new baby just as my older baby is starting to play independently for a few moments. I am stay-at-home mom and must admit that I used to be judgmental about why a stay-at-home mom could possibly need a nanny. My husband had suggested the notion before we even had kids and I felt he didn’t have faith in me to take on the new role of motherhood. While we have a night nurse because my 1-year old still wakes 3 to 4 times a night, we recently contacted a couple of nanny agencies because, well, I will need more help, (and frankly could use it now with the fatigue and extreme nausea of the first trimester). Mom guilt and large servings of humble pie have been all too real.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      January 20, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Candice thank you for commenting (and reading all these years) and first of all – BIG HUG. I think it sounds like you are doing a great job. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. Right there with you on the former nanny judgment – and now, after having the second, I am all for getting AS MUCH HELP AS POSSIBLE. Do not feel guilty, because you will need all your energy for number two. Rest up, take it easy on yourself. And yes, get the nanny!

  • Reply
    Veronyca Kwan
    January 21, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Kat, oh my. I can’t begin to tell you how liberating it is to read your words. You have no idea how many women just rejoiced hearing what you said. I can only offer sincere words of encouragement and support through all this. My best friend and sister just had babies, and their world have changed. Some days for the better, some not so good, but I am certain their hearts are now filled with endless love for their babies. You are incredibly awesome for speaking out about this. This is why I keep on coming back to your blog – since the time you did interviews with Hermes collectors. I always enjoy listening to your intelligent thoughts. Thank you again!

  • Reply
    chai
    January 23, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Hi Katherine! I can totally relate to your post. Previously, I was working full-time with a baby (who is now 2 years old) I didn’t even take a maternity leave and went back less than two weeks to work after a c-section. I was confident that I could do it all and had the work/life balance figured out. But obviously, I was wrong. For awhile, I struggled and fought the idea of stopping work to stay with my son. I didn’t want to be just that kind of mother – the one that stayed home and had no career to speak of. I didn’t realize that the stress of working full-time and being a mother was taking a toll on me. I didn’t realize I was depressed and miserable until I broke down. That forced me to stopped working (coz seriously, with my state, I was neither a good employee or mother). I realized later that I’d rather be a good and heathy mother to my son. What helped with the transition, is that I changed my perspective about being a SAHM. I started looking at it as a career and a new job with a demanding boss – my son- to impress. And instead of getting paid with money, I was getting paid with the chance to see my son grow and spend quality time with him (cliche but true!) And when you think about it, the responsibilities that you have and skills you need as a SAHM is similar to that of manager (or at best a CEO). It seems that society has brainwashed us (especially our generation) to undermine being a SAHM (hence the resentment and harboring the feeling of wasting our life away if we take this route) And seriously, I’d rather have my son as my boss than work someone else now.

  • Reply
    Jan P
    January 24, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you for this post – it really resonates with me as I am now 17 months postpartum (if you will) and am a manager at a large company, working 60/hrs a week. I can still recall the stifling feeling of staying at home with my daughter during my maternity leave and the severe guilt of returning to work and placing her in daycare. It feels that these conflicts are mostly unique to a mother – the grass was always greener on the other side. When I was at home, I felt lost and lonely. When I was at work, my mind was elsewhere – wondering how my daughter was doing. I now feel at peace with my life – where I am committed both to my daughter and my job (and am starting to renew my commitment to my husband, who had been pushed to the back burner). I write to say that there is hope and that you can be adept at perhaps three things all at once – ha. My home isn’t as clean as I’d like it to be (it’s mostly cluttered as f-), but quite frankly, I don’t care anymore. I love my job, I love my daughter, and I am learning how to love my husband again. By the way, he has been absolutely amazing as a very active partner and present father – it was my postpartum emotions that distanced myself from him (which is another topic altogether). You are doing an amazing job as a mother and you should not feel any guilt over your personal life or arrangements. I value your candid posts on motherhood and look forward to reading them.

  • Reply
    Emma
    February 7, 2018 at 8:23 am

    I love how honest you are with having a nanny. Babies are tough to deal with, even if you are a full-time stay-at-home mom, it’s better to have someone with you to look after them especially when they are so small. I mean one person can’t look after the baby 24/7! I hate how celebrities or bloggers go on and on about how difficult it is to multitask as a mom. How there are some many things to do, get groceries, take care of the baby, do household chores, etc and then make it sound as if they are superhuman, somehow managing all that on their own with a full-time job!

    • Reply
      Katherine
      February 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      You know I still always assume people who don’t mention the nanny were just doing a better job than I am (except for celebrities…those I KNOW!). If there’s a nanny, in my opinion no shame in mentioning! Even if you have an entire ARMY of nannies! I would be happy for anyone in that situation (like the Real Housewives, ha!)

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