Gosh, why is it SO hard?!

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The past couple of years have probably been the toughest time of my life. Not because I had particularly bad luck or my heart broken, but because I became a working mum. Nobody warned me that it’s one of the toughest roles out there! I was hoping that it would gradually become easier but no luck so far. In fact, with my manager going back to the US and having to take on more responsibilities at work, it’s only getting harder. I should really be happy that I got promoted but I realized that it also meant longer hours at work, and hence, less time with my daughter. This morning was especially tough as she’s down with a cold and so she cried and clung to me when I left home.

Bear with me while I paint a picture of my routine. During weekday mornings, I have about 1-1.5 hours to get ready for work, have breakfast with my daughter and give instructions to our domestic helper on what to buy/cook for the day before having to rush to work. I work for 9-10 hours each day and despite this, I’m usually the earliest team member to leave work. Once or twice a week, I try to squeeze in a gym session. If I know that I’ll be home late, I also try to have lunch with my daughter.

When I get home at close to 7pm, we have dinner together, spend about half an hour watching TV or playing with my daughter, before bath time, followed by bedtime stories and putting her to bed. By the time this happens, it’s close to 10pm and I usually end up falling asleep as well. In the rare occasions that I manage to drag myself out of bed, hubby and I watch TV together or I’ll read a book. As I work for an American firm, I also typically have at least one early morning or evening call per week. As my daughter is stuck to me if I’m at home, I have to take these calls from the office. On average, I’m out one evening a week; it could be date night with hubby, dinner with friends, social event with colleagues or just something simple like going for a haircut or a facial.

Luckily, I don’t have to work during weekends so we get to spend time together as a family. During the week, though, it feels like 24 hours in a day is never enough! I’m always rushing from one thing to the next, I feel exhausted but also guilty for not seeing my daughter much and I’m always thinking about my long to-do list. I also hardly spend time having real conversations or hanging out as a couple with hubby. This is despite moving to an apartment which is 10 minutes’ walk from work (I used to hate living near work!) and having a live-in domestic helper. So I have no idea how working mums in other countries where there is no affordable help survive.

Is it because I’m being greedy and want too many things? I want to be a good mum and bond as much as I can with our daughter, I would like to maintain a career (I was planning on asking for part time but that went out the window when my manager told me that he’s leaving), I would like to have ‘couple time’ with hubby, I need ‘me time’ and a social life to relax, I have to exercise to feel healthy and I blog to keep myself engaged and as an outlet for my thoughts. It’s a pretty long list but all of them seem to be necessities rather than nice to haves. If there is any mummy out there who has discovered a magic formula to have it all, please let me know!

14 thoughts on “Gosh, why is it SO hard?!

  1. Wow! I can just imagine. Unfortunately I don’t have any magic formulas….but I just wanted to encourage you–don’t be discouraged! Everything you are doing in your life is incredibly meaningful, and I think you are an inspiration to mommies everywhere. And no…you are not being ‘greedy’ in the least! Wishing you the best! 😊

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  2. It comes with the territory as one says in corporate circles. The “rules of the game” mean endless drudgery, though people might see you as having it all – a challenging, good paying job, family etc…life always looks greener on the other side.

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    • I think I’m approaching the point of negative marginal returns when it comes to my job – as in the extra compensation is really not worth it given the longer hours and extra stress. In a way, I’m so lucky that I can afford a comfortable life. Looking around, with everyone I know in a rat race, I’ve always wondered – will there ever be a point where we say, we’re making enough and don’t need to keep reaching for a higher paying job? Hubby and I are the kind of people who will never fork out to fly business class, buy LV handbags, etc so I’ve reached the point where I think that what we make is enough to support our lifestyle. Instead of chasing the next promotion, I’d rather spend my time with my daughter. Unfortunately, in the corporate world it’s not easy – it’s usually up or out! Sorry for the long winded reply.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is true, in most circumstances. It does not help that the cost of living where you are – is high. Not to mention the cost of buying a home. People have mental stress a lot more these days. Perhaps we’ve been fortunate to find roles in mid sized MNCs that are smaller and flexible. Which translates to the work culture. That though is hard to find! But it is well and good to be happy and content. Over-reaching certainly strains relationships. We always told ourselves. When we leave the company after many years at the top, nobody will care or remember you once you leave. One does not become a fondly recalled corporate warrior unless one is the CEO…

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  3. My heart goes out to you! Sometimes we find ourselves.working too hard at what we think we need to complete us. I am not saying at all that this is.what you are doing! Just trying to throw some things out there. Sometimes we need to step back to gst a better picture. I love the comparison my friend makes. If we hold a picture really close to our eyes ,we miss.the details and its blurry. If we hold it.further away, take a step back, the picture will look more clear.
    Hope that helps some. Balancing life is one of.the biggest juggling acts of all!
    I did enjoy reading about your lunch dates with your.daughter. From your post I can tell she is very important to you and trust yourself that you will figure things out. You have to figure out what works for you and your it is different for everyone.!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the suggestions, you’re right about taking a step back and looking at the big picture. There are so many things that I would change given the chance such as moving to Singapore so that I have family support. Or working part time. Unfortunately the job market has been very slow so I’ll just have to hang tight and wait for the right opportunity. Looking around, my friends and colleagues all do things differently and there’s no right or wrong, but all of us are struggling with similar issues.

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  4. Hey I must take my hat off to you!!! Looks to me you are more like super woman than anything else 🙂 I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mum ( thanks to my husband) and I have some friends just like you full time working mums and honestly I don’t know how you all do it! You are amazing ! 😘😘super mum I would say! 💪

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