And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

As you all know I’ve been learning a new rhythm of life as a working mom and a college mom. I’ve been stumbling along this new path worn out and weary. Often I find myself staring at the ceiling late at night wondering what it is I’m doing. Because more often than not I think, I’m failing as a mom, which is then countered by What about my dreams as a writer–a journalist? What about that manuscript in collecting dust in the office?

Is it worth it? Can I have it all? 

Having it all as moms

Being professionally hungry has lit my belly for years, the pangs were never more intense than the 3 a.m. feedings and changing dirty diapers. No one told me it would be this hard. No one taught me how to embrace my calling as a mother while balancing my passion as I grow the next generation of the Riggleman Crew.

No one said, you can have it all but choices will need to be made. And that thing called balance? It’s elusive and rare to find in any rhythm.

And I think the rest of you are waking up to it too. We are realizing glass ceilings aren’t nearly as important as diapers.

As a devoted mother and career woman–we have two jobs, not one. On any given day we are pulled in a 1000 different directions between work, kids, PTA, Room Mom, birthday treats, deadlines, projects, dry cleaning, hustling kids from one place to the next–when I find myself asking, “Is this worth it?” 

The work of raising little people burdens my heart, so much so–I want them to know they are fiercely loved, the labor of bringing them into this world didn’t stop at birth. The pangs of manners, teaching them about Jesus, warm after school snacks, and peeling back the layers of this world one day at a time are contractions pushing my mama heart to lead them. And how can I balance this load with working? 

I’m still traveling more than what my family rhythm allows, I’m still grooving offbeat between term papers and late night work hours. I’m still forgetting important moments like birthday treats for pre-school. I’m still stacking deadlines and over commitments one plate on top of another, trying hard to keep it all from teetering to a crash because I’ve had a glimpse of the future on the horizon. 

My dreams, my children halfway grown, all the loose threads of to-dos weaving together into a tapestry at the end of this journey. And I want it–I want it more than how America defines success and have come to embrace the idea Why Women Can’t Have it All

Re-define It 

Instead of comparing myself to other women, instead of succumbing to the pressures of the previous feminist generation to break the ceilings, I’ve learned to pace myself in this journey, week by week, all 936 weeks I have to raise my kids (How 936 Pennies will forever change the way you parent your kids).

Each woman has her own moment of truth, a wake up call in which she needs to step off the beaten path and redefine what success means. Which will leave a legacy (this is what we really want right?), passing on wisdom and memories to our kids or a portfolio of our best work over the years?  An article by Anne Marie Slaughter taught me that–a woman highly successful, rubbing elbows with the president and drinking champagne longed to embrace what God called her to as a mother.

If she can re-define “having it all,” why shouldn’t we? 

Balance work and kids

Having it all means mothering well and learning to balance dreams too — so we slow the pace, we don’t compare to other women, we take a penny out of the jar for each week we’ve spent with our children and marvel at the time we have left. We create a new rhythm. 

For me, it means breathing room for parenting and letting go of what I thought were “the essentials to a happy life.”

It means surrendering every day to God who already knows what’s ahead on my journey anyway. 

It means bumping into my limitations and embracing them — this includes cluttered cupboards, messy draws and letting go of a glossy magazine ready photo of our home and sitting at the age of 33 in a classroom of 19 year olds–one semester at a time. 

It means inching my way through my dreams, holding onto the big picture, doing what I can now. 

It means surrender of the heart and soul–letting go of the anger from being taught “You can do it all, you can have it all,” when really someone should have taught me work and professional success needs to be tucked in around the edges of motherhood. 

These days I’m not doing it all, nor am I doing it well or completely. I tell my to do list it is no longer the boss of me as I fumble along. I’m learning a new pace on this crazy, wild, pregnant journey of being mom, college student, and career woman. From here, I can breathe deep and make connections.

And this rhythm–it’s stirring something inside of me that I have felt in a long time. Peace. Who knew that redefining success and embracing my family’s pace could yield to something every working mom needs. Peace.

2 thoughts on “A Working Mom’s Rhythm – Defining “Having it All””

  1. Thanks so much for your post. I been praying to God today to help me understand why I am so tired and have no peace. I am a bit depressed and overwhelmed. I been falling on my face upset because I can’t do it all. Your post really helps me put things in perspective. I don’t have to do everything on my list. I truly believe that God intends for us to enjoy our time with our children and that is going to be main focus. Thanks again for taking time out to write words of encouragement and truth. You have helped change my way of thinking tonight.

    1. Thx Lisa, I know exactly what you’re feeling. Been there too many times. I’ve been surrendering each day to God, all my plans, all my ideas. It helps put his plans front and center.

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