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Tertia, EVERYBODY goes through this. Everybody, that is, that is thoughtful enough to realize it. I used to ask my daughter (facetiously) if she wanted an eyeball next, or a kidney, or should I open a vein. You just do the best you can and that has to be good enough. I tried to take care of the big things all the time, like the job and the baby, and kind of rotate through the smaller things. I have to have a little time to myself every day or I become a raving lunatic, so I learned to get up early for that, and I still do.

Tertia, I've just recently started reading your blog but I had to delurk to comment on this post, because it's almost exactly what I'd been thinking about this past week. I have a 16 week old son, I also work full-time in a managerial position, and I also feel like the individual is pretty much losing out these days to the other roles. I am also lucky that I have my mom helping out 4 days a week and my husband--also low maintenance and he cooks!--taking care of the baby the during the day fifth day, but when I am home I am full force into baby care mode--and when he (baby) is sleeping I am running around doing whatever chores absolutely need to be done. Otherwise I am either at work or getting what sleep I do get. I was starting to get a bit upset (okay more than a bit) over how very little to no time I really had to myself (really, shower time and commute time are the only times that are completely about me), but then about a week ago I decided that mentally I would convince myself that the individual me would take a back seat to everything for a year. And that, in a year's time, I would start giving that role more attention. It's inevitably what is going to happen over the next year, anyway, no matter how compassionate and cooperative a spouse and extended family I have, so mentally making my peace with it now saves me a lot of emotional anguish.
Of course, check-in a year from now to see if the experiment has worked. Heh.

Hey Tertia!
I also wonder about the career-driven women! I wish I could be more like that!
Sometimes I see a certain mother studying very late at the law school, and I always think, "don't you miss your kids?" I just can't do it. No judgement of her - there is a reason she is at the top of her class and I'm not! And I'm sure her kids don't go to bed at 7:30 like mine do, so she probably does see them when she gets home.
I bet you are doing a better job than you think you are!

The early years are brutal, no matter what you are doing. I admire the fact that you work full time though. Mine are all older (7,7 and 12) and when I am asked to work 3-4 consecutive days I find it exhausting. Guess there is an adjustment phase or I am damned lazy :)! And yes, our dear husbands are usually horribly neglected in the begining but if they are involved they know you are just bloody exhausted!

I always tell Guy that we need a wife. lol It does get easier as the kids get older to balance everything and then in some ways it doesn't because they have school events, extracurricular activities, etc. It's a juggling act and some days are better than others. Hang in there.

I'm with you, I SO admire women who have crappy husbands or are single moms. Shit. I've got it so good and I *still* feel overwhelmed sometimes. Imagine how they feel?

I'll be looking forward to your working Mother post as it has been on my mind as well. :)

Don't you wish there were 10 of you, not just because you are G & D, but so that you could get everything done?
I don't mind myself, because I am borderline schizo. We can only do one thing at a time, we men, but we can't concentrate on anything...

Try not to look at it as your wife-part, individual-part, and whichever other parts as taking a hit or suffering through this part...they are just EVOLVING INTO NEW ROLES. All of the hats you wear are not separate...you are a mom while still a wife, employed while still the employer, a friend on top of it all. You wear them together, and each one influences the other.

Things are changing, but try not to think of it as "bad" change, just "different" change. And, you are right - as the babies become more independent, they will require less (or at least different) of you.

Hang in there - we all have those awesomely tough times. I know exactly what you are talking about.

Damned if I have any answers.

Here's what I know for sure: There isn't any one solution that fits everybody, and there isn't one solution that will fit you every time, every day. You do the best you can. And the reward is aggregate: not every day is great. Not, even, every year or month. But if you look over the course of it and remember much joy and laughter and fullfilment, then you got it right -- it's just imperfect like everything else in the world.

At least, that's the theory I'm work'n on. ;)

Always, always, always. I feel like this every day.

I'm a stay at home mom, and going into this gig, i had this idea that as a stay at home mom, i *could* do everything. So every day is a giant juggling act of trying to do all the things that must be done all the things i think must be done, and all the things i merely want to be done. I really hate balancing one thing against another - when does *me* time win against *mom* time win against *couple* time win against *friend* time?

The first year of parenthood is the hardest for trying to balance anything. The babies are unpredictable, and they always win. Fortunately, after that, it gets a bit easier.

You are not alone. And you're doing fine.

This is the problem that was caused by the lifiting of glass ceilings. We were the young girls who were told we really could do it all. But the thing is, we can't. Maybe eventually. But not all at the same time.

With each role we have comes expectations, and as we collect more and more roles it gets harder and harder to fulfil all of the expectations that have been placed on us. One week we'll be awesome mothers, but feel like we're neglecting our work roles. The next week we'll feel like we've been performing awesomely at work, but we haven't been spending enough quality time with the kids. And where do our husbands fit into this?

Do you think it's possible to live up to all of our expectations at once?

I have been the only woman/working Mom/working wife in several work situations. It sucks because you can't really talk about it with the guys, because their standard response is, "Oh, well my wife stays home so daisies spring out of my ass and my shit smells FANTASTIC." Then I just want to slap them. They come in with elaborate home cooked meals, their laundry is always clean, etc. When I ask them where they got the yummy food, they say, "Oh, my wife made it for me."

I have decided that I need a wife. I don't know exactly how to go about this, or what my husband will think, but I'm sure we can work it out.

Life, she is all about trade-offs. I could have no baby and tons of free time to eat bon-bons and sit on my ass. However, I would probably be depressed about something else. I try to live for the good moments and remember that the bad ones won't last forever.

... and let's not forget Tertia the blogger...

I can totally empathize with what you are saying/feeling. I have a 9 month old daughter (it's getting easier as I get more sleep), a doting husband that does a tremendous amount more than most men (he rocks!!), a Very demanding but understanding male boss (yea!) and a full-time busy job. I just don't have much of me left for ME at the moment and I have recently resolved to do something about that. I, too, want to be more to everyone but I realize I have to start giving back to myself or I'm going to burn-out really soon. I'm joining WW, scheduling the time AND mostly easing the guilt about returning to my pre-baby work-out routine. For too long it has seemed selfish to take that away from my baby or husband or work or home when I know that I am not giving any one of them my proper attention. I think I need the solitude and separate time devoted just to myself as much as the exercise (also badly needed). I am hopeful that I will be able to give, if not more, at least better of myself to my family, friends and job. We still think of ourselves as very happy and loving life even if living it has become more exhausting. I figure things can only get better.

I look in amazement at some of the highly focused, career-driven women and wonder how on earth they manage it, how do they manage the mother-career woman balance*?

---> I don't think they do. It just looks that way, but they usually have a lot of hired help.

I am feeling that way today. I leave tonight for business. I am a corporate attorney and am fairly junior therefore I must work alot and cannot use the fact that i have a 2 y/o boy at home. Most of my coworkers are men or single women. It is very hard and I am not sure how long I will be able to keep up this pace. I work at least 9 hrs a day and lately have traveled alot. My husband is also super self sufficient. Glad to read your post today, feeling particluarly guilty.

pfft. i go through this and i'm single (well, technically. engaged, but not married yet) with zero kids.

I remember something that Covey said about balance when talking about his daughter, who just had a baby. He said that balance is not necessarily something that you need to do within a day or a week. There are times of your life that are meant to be focussed on one or two things and the trick is to balance life long-term. I liked that and it gave me the permission to do what I needed to do. Hold on in there - it does get easier.

Oh, and currently I'm a stay-at-home mum (with a bit of work thrown in, but all at home and in the time that's convenient for me). AND I still am totally off balance. I do OK on the mother and minimal-work front and started on me-time but still no couple-time yet. And it's been over 2 years. Ugh.

Yup, feel the same way, but I have bad news...it will only get marginally better. you're the mommy. You're always needed! My friends whose kids are school age say it only gets worse. I'm trying to enjoy the pre-homework years now...the boys are almost 5.

i hear ya on the career woman thing. i could never do it. Never! i've worked part time since the kids came, that is all i can handle!

I think the bulk of that has to do with lack of sleep. Once my son started sleeping through the night (I had an Adam), I was amazed at how much more functional I was at work, how much happier I was at home, and how I didn't feel like I would never make it through the day.

That being said, there are still times (like right now) when I feel tapped out and that I can't give anymore and that I'm not really getting a whole lot of support at home. That feeling will probably always come in ebbs & tides. But really, I think a lot of your current feeling (based on your last few posts re: sleep issues), has to do with sleep deprivation.

It's really hard to juggle it all. When I was working full time, it was much worse. It's hard in a different way now that I'm home. And we just added a new munchkin to the mix, so we're having to do the readjustment of life thing again here.

When my son was little, I had a lot of trouble with resentment of my husband because I breastfed, so was the "on-call" person all the time. I worked full time, I was solely responsible for getting him to and from daycare, I felt like my husband's life barely was changed by this baby, but mine was totally turned upside down - I understood that was the way it had to be, but the fact that he wasn't affected REALLY pissed me off. He was always able to go do something after work once or twice a week, while I had no "me" time.

The solution we worked out was that one day a week I was totally "off duty" (except for nursing as needed) and one day a week he was totally off, the other five days we just tag-teamed it. It was a great solution for us and really helped my sanity. But with two babies, it's probably not a terribly helpful solution for you guys.

Good luck. I hope you can find a balance you can live with for a bit.

It gets easier, but not much.

In case you were wondering.

I've got all bases covered except for friends. I'm terrified I will retire someday and find no one remembers me.

Oh yeah, since I've had my children my career has come to a sudden stop, I am still working but certainly have not reached the lusty heights I once strived. As far as "me" goes I have just started taking some time out for me..not much just one night a week but at least I can finally seethe light. Unfortunatly we just can't be super woman - something has to give!

Wow, there are a lot of long comments up there! Tertia, sometimes you just need to take time for yourself—let's call it Asshole Time. Every now and then, put Marko (or whoever, or Marko plus whoever) in charge of managing both babies and go off duty. You can hide out in the back yard reading, you can go shopping without a stroller, go out with friends, whatever. But once in a while, you need to get that Asshole Time to maintain your balance.

"As I say, I have it relatively easy. I have help at home, I have a v low maintenance husband, a supportive family, a great job. And I still find it a stretch sometimes. I don’t know how people who have it worse off than me do it. I take my hat off to them, especially the single moms."

I agree. And I am super jealous of you because you have HELP. I know you realize it, but it is still hard when women in countries like the US do not have access to in-home help like so many of you in other countries. V. sad and v. depressing.

Continue being thankful, you lucky one.

Tertia, I am looking forward to your 'Working Mother' post very much. I have been doing the full-time working mother thing for almost 3.5 years now and I wonder if I'll ever find the perfect balance. There are good days and there are bad days, sometimes I wonder what the hell I'm doing and then I remember that for me it's a matter of having to work and having to MAKE it work. And getting in that extra sleep and 'alone' time whenever I can. There are never enough hours in the day - but that goes for SAHMs too, I'm sure. My lunch break at work is my ME time, I'd go crazy without it.

The funny thing is I don't think this has anything to do with you being a working mom, it's just being a mom in general. I am a SAHM and have been since my twins were born with very minimal help (usually have my mom to rely on for appt.'s and an occasional night out but that's it) and I feel the same way. I SUCK as a SAHM most times and I'm not sure why. How hard is it to cook/clean and take care of your children??? I just can't seem to pull it all together. If I have all the laundry done the floors aren't as clean as they could be or I forget to get the garbage out or beds aren't made?? I just can't seem to get it all together. Most nights when dh gets home I have nothing left to give, he is looking for the old me that just doesn't seem to exist anymore. To be honest most days I feel like a ROBOT. I love my kids and feel extra guilty of complaining but having 2.5 yr. old twins 14+ hours a day ALONE 6 days a week just seems to wear on you. I really don't know how single moms do it, gives me a whole new respect as I didn't think being a mom would be so hard.

some role or other is always suffering a bit, but then it comes back around so that each role gets it's moment in the sun every now and again.

Is that balance? It's as close as I can get.

Oh yeah, you can't be everything to everyone everyday right. Like the poster above said, every role has it's moment in the sun.

I have 2 kids, not twins though. Thank God I too have a low maintenance husband. I just sat back and thought about it and I didn't cook for him AT ALL last week. In fact, he made dinner 3 times, ordered pizza once, and the other nights I don't know how he ate! lol But he doesn't complain and this week I'll make him a delicious lasagna.

Like you said, as your babies grow more attention can go to your other roles.

It could be worse..you could be sitting at home alone with no husband, no kids, and no job. Then no one would need you!

What you are feeling is SO normal. Prior to having children, you had your time divided up in a way that suited you, Marko, your employer, your family, your friends, etc. Like a nice, neat pie cut into portions just so.

Then you had Adam and Kate. And your whole world changed. Your pie didn't get any bigger. There are still only so many hours in the day. But now there are so many more things to accomplish in those hours.

It is only natural to feel overwhelmed with figuring out how to cope with your new way of life. I'd be worried about you if you WEREN'T having a tough time!

I have not worked outside the home since we began our journey with the RE to start our family. A set of twins, followed 13 months later by a 'surprise' third child, and I well remember feeling like I had NOTHING left to give at the end of the day. It felt like someone always wanted something from me, and then DH would come in needing something too. The first year after having our third child was HARD. Hard on me, hard on our marriage, just HARD.

And I didn't work outside the home!!! I cannot imagine if I'd had to do that as well. There were times I didn't get out of my pj's for three or four DAYS. I'd change 6 poopy diapers by 8am every day. Cheerios covered the floor. If the pizza guy didn't deliver, we wouldn't have eaten. We survived. Some days it was questionable, but we made it to the point where I felt like my time was split in a way that met everyone's needs again. But it took a while.

Be patient with yourself. My hat is off to YOU for all that you manage to do, so don't sell yourself short!

This morning I couldn't even get 10 minutes to dry my hair in peace. And now I'm at home again with a sick baby. Because the husband HAS to go to work, even though I make twice what he does! And of course since the baby's feeling bad I got no sleep last night.

Yes, I know exactly how you feel.

Oh yeah. Everybody feels like that. I have no kids, but I have friends, family, a boyfriend...and sometimes it seems they all want me at the same time. I can totally emphasize. And isn't this the sister with kids? It's surprising she doesn't remember/understand how challengin it is when they are so little.

Oh Tertia, yes I think this is the same for all of us. There are mornings that I don't get to work until 10am because of daycare issues or kid issues. There are days I don't get to shower and forget shaving my legs...never happens. There are days when going to my office to support 11 people seems easier than staying home with three kids.

I, too, have been struggling with my individuality. I am the one that suffers the most as far as my roles are concerned and lately, I'm not having it. I am really recognizing my need to be more "me" and not any less "mommy" just adjusting it so that I can manage to take care of myself as well.

I, too am lucky, dh can take care of himself and all three kids without problem. Yeah, I know, WOW. Now, if only he could manage to take care of me, too. :-) We can't have it all, but the balance does come. Sometimes you have to make a conscious effort just to be more into a certain role at a certain time, but you will learn what works for you. Good luck.


You've really hit the nail squarely on the head yet again - all those random thoughts about how stretched I feel that float in and out of my disorganized head every day you've managed to neatly summarize into coherent sentences! I have no answers for your dilemna - I'm in exactly the same one (except with 3 under 3), a low-maintenance husband, low-maintenance friends, help at home, family close by, etc... I keep thinking I'm taking some time for "me" when husband and I go out for dinner every weekend, but in reality it starts all over again Monday morning. I'm beginning to realize that this is probably just life for the next 20 yrs or so, especially for mothers, whether they're sahm or working outside the house.
Just wanted to add that I hear you and understand exactly where you're coming from.

You are describing my life, I totally understand. You are not alone. The hardest thing I have found is to find time for ME, which I desperately need, and rarely get.
I haven't found a solution yet -- 2 years after the first child and another one on the way -- and sometimes I feel as if I'm not satisfying anyone -- my work, my child, my husband.
and myself.
Good luck -- I think we just can't expect to be "superwomen" (as G&D as we are) and we just need to tread water just to keep our head out of the water.

A single Mom here delurking to say that in some ways I think my role is easier than a married mom as I have one less person wanting something from me! True I don't have the second salary and at times I'd realy love an extra pair of hands but then again I get to make all the decisions with no one to disagree, etc... I have founds friends and neighbors extra willing to help because they know I'm alone. I be they didn't make the same offer to the married mom of 2 upstrairs. They assume she doesn't need the help because she has a husband.

You are correct that you do all things equally well at all times. I just told myself that my child is more important than advancing in my career so now I do what is needed to stay gainfully employed and not a whole lot more. I look forward to regaining my focus on my career down the road. Other mom's I know say that it came back from them when their kids got to be 8+yrs. As for personal time...I squeeze that in where I can. I am fortunate that my daughters former nanny likes to take her on Friday nights and keep her overnight a few times per month so that's when I get out to see friends or simply read a book without interruption. I know I'm fortunate!

Keep up the good work...you're doing just fine.


You forgot the cat! When mine comes circling around after the baby goes to bed I can't help but bellow, "NOT YOU TOO!!!" Sigh.


All I can tell you is we somehow manage. No matter how hard it get you’ll get through it. When I look back over the last few years and think of all we went through I don’t know how we survived but we did and hopefully it will get easier soon. After 3 horrendous pregnancies my surviving babies are 3 (last weekend) and 15 months. Just to give you an idea of how hectic it has been, we have had 6 ambulance rides in the last 6 months. All my vacation time for the year was gone by the end of February due to sick kids. I have a new boss, new job and lots of new responsibilities. I also work in a department full of men with stay at home wives so I understand your position! To add insult to injury, my husband’s car just died, the least of our worries but just another expense and thing to deal with. Finally, our 3 year old is having nightmares after his latest medical trauma, - a broken femur that required a body cast for two months, so he is back to waking up numerous times every night so at 26 weeks pregnant I am getting no sleep!! What’s my point? I’m not even sure myself right now but we are surviving and things are settling down and no matter what crap life throws, we wade through it and you will too. You will amaze yourself. And as the babes get older it is so much easier. BTW, if you find yourself a good stay at home wife send me one too!!

I think it's all relative (ha! ha! ha!). If you have more help at home (from husband, mother, father-in-law, hired help, friends, whatever) then you have higher expectations about what you'll get done. If you can't meet those expectations then you feel like shit.

If you have less help, you have (somewhat) lower expectations, and still feel like shit if you can't meet them.

I am NOT saying it's easy to be a single mother, 'cos I did it for 2 weeks when my husband was away, and even though he doesn't help an awful lot, I still felt it & missed his help. (I missed him, too, a little ::g::).

Tertia, fwiw I found the first baby was much harder on me in this way. Not a particularly difficult kid per se, but with the first it is SUCH a big impact. You have to get used to the baby/babies being your main focus when you come home, and when he/she/they don't sleep through yet it's even harder.

I just went back to work. My daughter's nearly 6 months old. I feel horribly guilty, even though I have a very supportive manager, and her manager is also supportive, and if I have to come in late or leave early occasionally, it's no big deal (I make up the time).

But I don't put in as much time there as I'd like, because my job matters to me and we have a lot of work. And I don't put in as much time at home as I'd like, because I miss the kids. And I rarely see my husband at ALL. I very rarely get time or energy to write; I'm not disciplined enough to use the occasional 20 minutes at the end of a long day, when I'm buggered.

But I have to work because we need the money, desperately. So it doesn't really matter that I feel guilty.

For me, it's a matter of finding little bits of time here and there. I sometimes work through lunch because we're so busy. But if I can manage to get my food together and sneak outside with a book for 20 minutes, it's SO nice. Me time! When I get home with the kids, it's a pain in the butt getting all their stuff inside, and me too, then feeding the animals and getting the washing machine going, then getting dinner together. But after all that, I try to sit with the kids and have some proper time when I'm enjoying them and not grumbling because I want to be uninterrupted (makes me feel slightly less guilty about grumbling, later!).

It's a cliche but it's so true. When you're at work, you think about home, and when you're at home, you think about work. Sigh!

PS, 'cos I can't help but babble!

At work there are a couple of guys with babies on the way. They're nice guys. I kind of want to sympathise with them about how much work AND fun babies are. But they've both got wives! Guy 1 has a kid already, and he's a good father, helps at home. But it's not the same.

I click with a guy who sits near me, though, who works part-time while his wife works full-time. He does the majority of the childcare and doesn't just stop the kids from exploding before his wife gets home to do everything else. He *does* everything else when he's at home.

I want a wife. Or one of him.

There's another lady, who's got 2 children at home in their early 20s. She works full-time, over 4 days at the moment because she's studying part-time. A difficult course, and she's getting high distinctions! She gets very little help at home, she has the house immaculate ALL THE TIME, she cooks gourmet meals for her family every night, she sews, she does minor repairs around the house like making bloody PELMETS, she gets all her assignments done early. I don't know how SHE does it.

I was the only female manager for a long time where I used to work, and wow, did it ever suck.
It made me wish polygamy was legal and socially acceptable, so that we could get a SAHM. Anyone with good hygeine and manners would have been welcome to share our bed, as long as she helped out with the kids.

I'm going to second Julia - I'm a single mom of two preschoolers, working... and I don't remember the last time I wasn't exhausted and frazzled. Being single is actually easier in my case, the time I spent on my soon-to-be-ex can now be devoted to my kids, career and myself.

It doesn't get easier as they age, but it does change - and the change can sometimes help you feel better. Don't leave yourself for last for too long, though, it takes a huge amount of time and effort to "catch up" later, and you don't want neglect to wear you down, too.

A follow-up to Cathy Y. re; the circling cat:
I am a 44 y.o. single mother of twin 6 month olds with no help and I was so overwhelmed by my tiny, gorgeous, loving 4 lb. maltese "Cleo" that i had to give her up to the Maltese Rescue lady this week to be placed in another home after raising her from a 10 week old puppy for 6 years.
I am heartbroken and haven't stopped crying for a week. I am just sick about it and don't know how i will ever forgive myself for letting her go, but, it took me 3 months to make the decision to let her go and i have to believe that she will have a better life with an owner who is just not stretched so thin.
I knew it was time when i finally broke my all time personal record recently of not having a shower for a week since the twins arrived.
Tertia, not only do i feel exactly the same way, so you are not alone as you see by the many posts here, but, i have so little left to give others after the babies that i have become a bad friend, daughter and very bitchy to the public at large.
Cannot wait until this gets better.
Hang in there! We know it will get better and you will feel more in control and on top of things again in a few more short months (so i am told!!).

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