By “Work/Life Balance” You Must Mean: All Work, Bye Bye Life, and No Balance

Work Life Balance

Since becoming a mom, I’ve learned that there are NOT enough hours in a day. Many people often wish for “super powers” and mine would be the ability to survive without sleep! I actually hate going up to bed at night. Why do we NEED to do this!? There are so many more “productive” things I could be doing instead of laying down in a bed for 7-8 hours doing NOTHING resting!

Before becoming a mom, I used to be a middle school science teacher and my day was filled with talking/socializing/teaching all day long, followed by the freedom to do whatever I wanted. I loved a good shopping marathon or DIY home project; I was very independent. When I decided to transition to the “glamorous” lifestyle of a stay-at-home mom, nobody prepared me for the difficult transition I was about to face. Everyone KNEW I’d made the decision to stay at home once I had the baby and not one person warned or prepared me for the emotions and changes I was about to face. I would hear comments such as, You will never regret staying at home with your kids or It’s such a great experience, I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.  I understand they probably didn’t want to “rain on my parade”, but seriously, I wish someone would have been honest with me and talked about how difficult it can be!

So, I left my job, had my son (who I love and adore more than anything), and knew I “should” feel bliss, but after a few weeks and months I started to feel alone and trapped in my own home with this baby who couldn’t tell me what he wanted or needed… I started to lose it. My work “friends” got busy and didn’t care too much about me anymore. I take that back, in my crazy, emotional, tired, and slightly lonely head, that’s probably a lot more of what it felt like than the truth. To their credit, I wasn’t exactly contacting them regularly either. I just felt like nobody could relate to me anymore and that I was very uncool. I couldn’t go on shopping marathons, mani and pedi outings, or to cocktail hour anymore (unless I brought my baby!) because I was breastfeeding/pumping…I sometimes felt like a prisoner. I’d always been a very driven and “Type-A” person, so I decided to bottle this strange and unexpected negative energy and put it towards something more positive. I dreamt up an idea, built a website, started my own internet business, and became an entrepreneur!

I created a website where real people could share real stories about life and what it’s really like (WIRL) and I called it WIRL Project. I knew I wasn’t the only one who had been slapped in the face with this reality that nobody wanted to talk about, so I created an online place where people could cut the crap, be real, and share their stories about life. Since it’s taken off, I am super busy doing work that I LOVE, but I also have a 19 month old toddler. Sure, I get out of the house several days a week and do something for myself, but now I am faced with GUILT beyond explanation. When I voluntarily leave the house to “work”, it means being away from my son. When I’m with my son and not working, I am constantly thinking about my business; it’s the epitome of a catch 22. Who knew motherhood could cause such drama (lol)!

To avoid the guilt, I try to work as much as I can while my son is sleeping. But, often times this leaves very little time for my husband and I to hang out. Oh, and date nights? Few and far between. I am used to be really fit, I don’t hardly work out at all anymore, there just isn’t time for it! I know, I know, everything I’ve talked about so far comes with the territory of being a (new) mom… the sleepless nights, the guilt, the exhaustion, the multitasking, all of that, and I don’t really know how it would have changed things if I’d known this in advance, but I still wish people would be more realistic about this transition and stop making it out to be so “beautiful”.

So, back to my super power…if I had an extra 8 hours per day to accomplish “life”, I’d be much better off! Sleeping just doesn’t fit into my schedule anymore and I wish that could be the thing I “quit” doing! But, unfortunately, my son doesn’t know (or care) that I’ve stayed up late, so he wakes up at his regular time every morning, ecstatic to see me, and I go through everything all over again the next day! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my son and being his mom is awesome. But, if you were to ask me about a work/life balance… I’d say there really isn’t one, not for me anyway, each day is different, yet the same, and crazy! But, I’m not going to cover it up and make my life seem something it’s not. I work, I have a life, I balance it as best as I can and I’m honest about it. That’s the best I can do right now, take it for what it’s worth.

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Sara Brennan is the founder of WIRL Project and was also recently named as one of the Top 30 Under 30 Future Business Leaders of Charlotte, NC. In her spare time she loves to hang out with her Australian husband, Mitch, her toddler son, Mason, and her two dogs, Koby and Skeeter. She shares much of her life and thoughts in her writing and enjoying being around like-minded individuals who are authentic. Interested in contacting Sara about WIRL Project or other endeavors? Join the WIRL Project community or use the Contact form on the website to get in touch with her.

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