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My Biggest Struggles as a Working Mom

Woman, mother, wife, and entrepreneur — these are a few words that make up some substantial part of my identity. “Mother” is the one I relate to most.

It is also the part of my identity that I face the most struggles with.

I love being a mom. But I also put a lot of pressure on myself about this role. I constantly worry about so many things.

I worry about if I am raising my kids right, if I am teaching them the right lessons, if I am spending enough time with them.

I worry if I am keeping them healthy enough and blame myself for every sneeze, cough, and headache.

I worry if I show them enough love and if I am correcting their errors properly.

I am a worrier by nature, but now my worry has driven into overdrive as I try to do my best by my kids.

It is difficult working through these worries and focusing on the things actually within my own control. And even for the latter, I struggle with working through them in an effective way. Listed below are the top 5 things I struggle with the most as a mom. 


Work-life Balance

My career is important to me. My whole life I dreamed of being an independent working woman. Contributing to keeping my family financially stable is a deep-seated need. But most important is being able to take care of myself and my kids on my own salary.

I was raised by a single mom who had to work way harder to raise her family than she would have had to otherwise. Seeing her struggles were the reason that I decided I had to be able to comfortably support my family on my own.

When I finally left academia to go into the “real” world, I was ecstatic. Finally, a chance to make real money of my own. At the same time though, I also got married and had my first child (Axel) within the same time period. I did not fully appreciate how different my life and vision would be after such major life changes.

Seeing her struggles were the reason that I decided I had to be able to comfortably support my family on my own.

Being an overachiever, I was fully focused on working. I spent the first year or so as a mother taking many late nights at the office and going on consecutive work trips. I still feel guilty about this as I feel as though this contributed to my son’s speech delay and resulting in over-attachment parenting.

Striking a balance between working me and mom me is a bit tricky. But now with my personal priorities in order, I have gotten much more successful at balancing my need to be independent and remain connected to my family.

On the days that I fail, it can feel like a complete travesty. Thankfully, those days are far and few in between after figuring out the secret behind true work-life balance.

Shining Object Syndrome

I always wanted to be one thing…a scientist. And I wanted to be a Nobel-prize winning scientist at that. But then life happened and my goals changed, and I started to look for other options.

Ten years later, I have had several different positions. I have taught STEAM courses in a high school, been an inspector, trainer, consultant, and an investigator. All of these opportunities were tied in some way to science, but they were all options that I had never even considered.

My varied experiences mean that I have never actually specialized in one thing — I had effectively become the Jack of all trades, but master of nothing.

But then life happened and my goals changed, and I started to look for other options.

To make matters more complicated, I quit my last job (which I held the longest), changed from one career (consulting) to THREE new ones (all related to online marketing). This included launching a part-time freelance business.

Right now, I am taking several different courses to help me be more successful in these three directions. I even signed up for courses in two other areas as an exploration of my interests (related to web design).

The world is a challenging but fascinating place. There is not enough time in the world to learn all the things I would like to, especially when everything is just one Google search away. I have to say no to many shiny objects to keep my personal priorities in order, but it is super hard to do sometimes.

Helicopter Parenting 

I started becoming extremely anxious about the world as a teenager. A lot of it was related to my mother’s own anxiety. Much of it was triggered by the doomsday teachings of our church. Because of this, I always think of the absolute worst-case scenario before I consider the best or even most realistic one.

It is a constant challenge raising my kids with this mentality. There are so many articles on the dangers of helicopter parenting. It can create children with poor self-esteem, social anxiety, low emotional IQ, and other issues that can make it difficult to function, especially as they become older.

Still, I do have the potential to go to extremes to protect my kids from literally everything. So I have to constantly work on clamping down on my helicopter blades with my kids.

It does help to have people around me that let me know when I should just relax a little. And I am getting better at pay attention to my instincts rather than allowing myself to be overwhelmed by mainly irrational fears. But this is definitely a huge struggle for me as a mom.

Parenting and lifestyle blog. Image: Woman hiding face behind leaf.
Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Being Introverted

People often confuse me for being an extrovert. I can be extroverted if the occasion calls for it. But my go-to preference is more in line with introversion.

I need long periods to recharge after being social. I love rainy weather so I can stay instead and curl up with my kids, read a good book, listen to a podcast, or watch a funny movie. I abhor networking and do best in one-on-one interactions with others.

I am definitely introverted.

This by itself is not a problem — us introverts are totally awesome. It is a problem in combination with the fact both of my kids are very extroverted. They both love everything noisy and exciting. They love going to parties and playing all day with their friends and family. They especially love meeting new people.

I have always wanted to be a parent but had just taken for granted that my children would take after me. I really thought that there was no way my introverted self would have loud, boisterous, excitable extroverts. Boy, was I wrong on this one.

I have always wanted to be a parent but had just taken for granted that my children would take after me.

So imagine, there are playdates and other numerous social activities they want to attend. This means I have to meet new people, demonstrate adequate social behavior, and end up burning myself out more times than I can count.

It also means that my house is constantly buzzing with energy, from the minute the sun breaks through the clouds in the morning, until the sleep wins over their little bodies.

Parenting, in general, can be exhausting. Introverted parenting of extroverts is doubly so.

Fitness

Never have I been way into fitness, but I do enjoy the benefits of being at my healthiest. Always the chubby kid, I finally lost weight using BeachBody’s Power 90 program. I would religiously work out with those DVDs every single day.

What was surprising was that I actually enjoyed it. For the first time in my life, my body fat was within an acceptable range, and I felt lighter and more energetic than ever.

Though I sadly gained back some weight after having Axel, I ended up learning how to run (literally, my running form was atrocious) in the process of getting rid of it. The first time I ran 5 miles at a 12-minute mile pace, I felt like superwoman. I finally consistently reached my 9 to 10-minute mile goal after a few years.

What was surprising was that I actually enjoyed it. For the first time in my life, my body fat was within an acceptable range, and I felt lighter and more energetic than ever.

Then the one year that I had a gym membership, I learned how to use a few pieces of gym equipment. Although I never got back at my pre-baby weight, I felt comfortable in my body.

Unfortunately, life threw several monkey wrenches my way, and I ended up having to give up my gym membership and stopped working out consistently. And now, finding the time to make it happen has been pretty difficult in the last 2 years.

Hardcore morning workouts were out of the question for safety reasons and also because of my very clinging toddler turned preschooler. Evening workouts were also difficult because I needed to spend extra time helping my eldest who was struggling in school.

Working out at home was unpredictable. We have a small home and I was constantly being interrupted by every single member of my family, which I found extremely aggravating. I also haven’t figured out yet how to squeeze it in during the workday without mismanaging my time.

And let’s not talk about the ongoing reversal of decades of poor eating habits.

But 2020 is a new year. My kids are getting older. Heck, I’m getting older! I want to get back to a healthy and fit version of me so I can stick around to play with those grandkids. And I will be blogging about my attempts to do just that.


Being a mom can be very challenging. Trying to balance your life and your relationships within your family is kind of tricky. I am working on a few things to address each of these areas and will be posting about it all.

What about you? Can you relate to any of this? What are your top struggles? And what have you done so far to overcome them?

Comment below and let us know!

4 thoughts on “My Biggest Struggles as a Working Mom

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