I love my day job. It gives me responsibilities that I know are making contributions to the development of devices that can save lives. My job fills me with purpose and provides me with opportunities to grow both professionally and intellectually. I am driven to succeed, to do my job well, to make even greater contributions year after year.
But my job isn’t always easy. There are days I don’t feel good enough, days I feel I am falling short. And now that I am a mom there are days when I feel all of those emotions and think all of those thoughts times ten. Because not only do I have to do my job, I have to keep this tiny human being (whom I love endlessly) alive. I have to squeeze in pump sessions between emails and meetings. I have to make sure there is someone to watch him while my partner and I are at work, while my partner or I go shopping. And I want to do more than that too. I want him to feel loved. I want to guide him along as he hits his milestones. I want to cuddle him when he cries. Every day I go to work is a day I’m not with him.
But I love my job. And it fills me with guilt and longing.
I know I’m not alone in this. I am lucky to have a community of moms filled with the same hopes, fears, and longings. I see in these women the same desire to be everything and more for their kids, but also that same fierce drive to continue growing, learning, and succeeding in whatever it is that is their calling. They keep moving forward. Sometimes day by day. Sometimes minute by minute.
I don’t always have time or energy to go to work, be mom in the morning and evening, AND pursue my writing career. Honestly, when it comes to writing these days, progress is slow. Some days I am filled with impatience and frustration for how rarely I can meet the page for that new story, for that next revision. But it is still progress. And I can claim that.
If there is anything I can share that has helped me through these first few weeks back at work, it is a reminder to practice self-compassion. At the beginning of the year, I wrote a mantra that I remind myself to repeat daily:
I am doing my best. I am an awesome mom.
To all the moms (and dads!) out there, you’re are doing your best. And you are awesome.