I confess: Since becoming a mom, I’ve been bit by the FOMO bug. A “Digital Generation” term to the core, FOMO stands for “Fear Of Missing Out.” I’m not talking about your typical variety though, usually involving coveting thy cyber neighbour’s recent and ultra-fabulous vacation in the Maldives, showcased in a carefully curated – and epically filtered – collage of photos on social media. No, I have a FOMO on something else: Opportunity.
Full disclaimer: I absolutely love being a mother and adore my two boys completely. But I have been blessed – and sometimes cursed – with an innate drive to achieve. I’ve been that way, well, probably since the beginning. Sliding into the world just over two weeks in advance of my due date, I even made my own birth into a personal feat! As a kid and growing up over the years, the tell-tale signs were always there: The ARCT-level piano training, the competitive swimming, canoeing, and tennis-playing, the black belt in karate, the teaching-myself-to sing (I almost snagged the lead role in a Broadway musical at one point). All this while my two siblings stood yawning loudly – and contentedly – by the wayside.
For me it has never been about competing. It’s about passion, purpose, and living life to the fullest. For better or for (sometimes) worse, I was born with a natural urge to create goals for myself and shoot for things I love. It’s a huge part of what has helped me be successful, and I’m not fully satisfied in life without that.
Those who are familiar with me know I certainly have no less on my hands nowadays. It’s just more focused in range: Running my psychology clinic NKS Therapy, finishing up my doctorate, writing, and promoting my first book “The Kindness Journal.” My conundrum is that of so many other moms and unsurprisingly, it comes at the heels of having my second child a few months ago: How the f*!k do I find balance?
Similar to when I had my first little boy back in 2013, I often find myself mentally torn. On the one hand, I want to soak up scoodles (feels like more than oodles) of time with my baby. This is particularly strong this time around because he is likely to be our last child, and time alone with a child who isn’t the first is always trickier. On the other hand, I feel that familiar urge to press on with my professional creations and pursuits. The feeling is worse this time around because I am much further along in my professional goals than I was in 2013. And when I’m not on top of them, I feel as though the proverbial ship is passing by, carrying with it opportunities that are slipping away…maybe even sinking.
Here’s the bitch about the reality of this situation: We really can do it all in life; we just cannot do it all at the same time.
Being an entrepreneur has some decided advantages as a parent, selective hours and the option to work from home being the top two. But those who are successful know that when you are an entrepreneur, your hours are never really “set.” That is the inevitable trade off. In many cases, we arguably work more than the standard 40 hours a week – they are simply spread out differently. So the onus is even more so on us to carefully, and consciously, manage how and where we spend our time.
Some Mompreneurs are okay with working round the clock and seeing their kids in moderation. Others are candid about mixing work and parenting together in the same room, claiming to “always be on their phones”, laptops and social media feeds spread wide open, mac and cheese spilling over on the stove. Still others decide to put their pursuits on hold for awhile and become full-time parents. All of these options are great ones if they work for the individual behind them. This is what I have learned about myself: I am simply unwilling to give up too much time with my kids when they are very young, and in particular, with my littlest guy. They truly are this age for only a brief time. Too soon they will both be in school full time for ten months out of each year, leaving me with what now seems like a huge block of consecutive hours of sans-kid time.
So after too many hours spent furiously trying to tweet, gram, and answer emails with one hand while attempting to rock my crying baby into peaceful bliss with the other (and nearly tearing my hair out from the over-stimulation), I have figured out how to achieve my balance: I wish to both work and stay-at-home parent. I do not, however, work and spend time with my kids at the same time. With two of them and at such young ages, I find it utterly undesirable. Kudos to those who feel comfortable with it; I salute and admire you! I personally have finally settled on a recipe that seems to work for me, and it’s fairly straightforward: When I’m working, I’m away from my home and all about work. When I’m with my kids, I’m fully present with them and not much else. I split this time up each day depending on what’s happening in both aspects of my life. For me, it is the only sane way.
I’ve also calmed down a bit and realized there will always be time to tackle and run with my professional goals. And I don’t have to totally give them up right now either. I simply need to accept that they may happen a bit more slowly. It seems the only thing I would be missing out on if I did things differently would be the sheer joy of spending time with my small children.
Now…if I could only find some time to spend with my husband!
NKS Therapy offers services such as Career Counselling Toronto, Couples Counselling Toronto, Relationship Counselling Toronto, Family Counselling Toronto, Psycho-educational Assessment Toronto, Toronto Mental Health Services, Psychotherapy for Depression Toronto, Toronto Psychologist Services, and Child Psychologist Toronto Services. Call us today at 416-745-4745. We love to help.