Lately I feel like I'm living a double life. In one life I'm Mom, making lunches, knee deep in laundry, wearing my favorite flannel shirt and my most worn in jeans. In the other, I'm wearing clothes once reserved for nights out on the town, a face full of make up, and my hair actually combed. It's funny because as those worlds overlap on any given day, they also feel as if they collide violently, refusing to offer my life some sort of gray area.
When I became a mother, it didn't take long for me to figure out that motherhood required all my commitment and attention. I knew without any doubt that I wasn't going to be that woman who could successfully juggle work and motherhood. I was lucky that at the time I was supposed to go back to work, that I had the luxury to decline the invitation. I built a nice little cocoon for my daughter and I. Hiding, I will admit, in our home so the world wouldn't see just how scattered I was. But more than that, I was relieved that I didn't have to go. That I didn't have to be a slave to a work schedule and a mothering schedule. Relieved that I didn't have to face another instance where I was going to fail miserably.
Fast forward six years and many of those feelings hadn't changed. I almost panicked when I was offered my new job. In theory the answer was always yes. I needed to go back to work, financially. The job and the pay were right on. The hours were too. So the answer was yes. But there was a little voice in the back of my mind that kept saying "no". No to set schedules, no to the child care shuffle, no to less time for me. But I said "yes", because it was time for me to try.
I have been trying. I can even venture out and say that I have put my best food forward. I can also say it has been a struggle for us all. Schedules have never really been our thing. Balance has never really been my thing. And while I can admit I work well under pressure, it's never really my best work. It's so important now more than ever, to do my best work in both places: at home and at work.
At work I've been trying really hard to prove myself. Prove my worth. It's hard to return to the work force after being out of work for seven years, and have people take you seriously. I get dressed up and slap on makeup and get there on time. Working Megan looks different, she acts different. By all appearances she looks like she has her shit together. It's amazing what freshly pressed pants and eye make up can do for you. No one would ever guess that Working Megan has a sink full of dishes, kids whose rooms look like Toys R Us had a going out of business sale, and no clean underwear to speak of.
Mommy Megan knows. She knows all of Working Megan's secrets. She knows about the dishes, the toys, and the underwear situation. She also knows that Working Megan's kids are going to eat McDonald's again. That Working Megan has been touching up her roots with mascara because she hasn't had a spare minute to go to the salon. Mommy Megan knows that Working Megan is exhausted, that all she wants to do is write, and all she can do really do go with the flow at home and ride the wave of best laid plans.
But Mommy Megan knows that Working Megan misses those mommy moments that once made her cringe. She misses the ease in putting things off another day. She knows that Working Megan worries and counts how many fast food dinners are too many. Working Megan knows that Mommy Megan hates to admit that the freedom work gives her has been good for her. The sense of accomplishment too. Each can see the good in each other, but yet, they still are at odds.
Working Megan and Mommy Megan tend to overlap. In fact, if they would just overlap more and coexist with each other it would be a lot easier, but they still feel like they need to be in their separate corners. As if you can't have both of us in the same room at the same time. Mommy Megan never really disappears, not even at work, but she does take the back seat. That has been really hard for me. For almost seven years, Mommy Megan has been front and center. Working Megan should get left at work, but as we all know that doesn't happen either. Working Megan comes home at the end of the day, and sometimes forgets to clock out. At what point will these two lives collide and happily coexist? Maybe on the same day I find balance. Translation: possibly never.
So for now, I live a double life. Two of me, stretched incredibly thin. Trying to find that magical intersection called balance. That place where the two Megans will become one, and she will be wiser, more self assured, and undoubtedly exhausted.