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  • Autumn Quiles, LCSW

I'm a Working Mother

I am mom to two amazing elementary-aged boys who are distance-learning and, recently, participating in a few extra curricular activities. I am also the wife to a husband who works long hours and I am typically responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of our home. I am also a therapist in a small private practice, working for people who have been struggling through a global pandemic. Lastly, I am a human- a human who is worried about our city, our state, our country and our Earth. I sometimes feel like Durga, the Hindu goddess with many arms moving in different directions.

During the past few months, I have fallen off the wagon. A couple of times. I have occasionally put my kids' needs on the back-burner and been curt with my husband. I have sometimes neglected to fold laundry and I have still not pressure-washed the back patio. Sometimes, I have not taken care of myself- postponing exercise because of my worries about the latest news headlines. As a therapist, I have not blogged.

In fact, I have often felt validated by the wave of news stories regarding how working Moms have been particularly squeezed during the past few months. The New York Times suggests that gender equality may have been another casualty in this pandemic. And though gender equality has not completely died in my house, it is definitely on it's last leg. I am carrying more than my fair share right now. Most working Moms I know, especially those without available partners, are also juggling too many responsibilities...worried about dropping the balls that, for the moment, are hanging in the air.

I told myself, several months ago, that eventually I would learn to wear this "new normal" well. Other Moms have waited for the moment that the kids go back to school or the new "nanny" gets hired in the afternoons. I figured that my practice would slow or my husband's work would get easier and I would adjust to the pace. In fact, my responsibilities have grown with the passage of time. My kids' teachers have higher expectations this year. My husband's work has become increasingly time-consuming. More families have asked for my help.

I have decided, for the time being, to accept my own limitations. I am embracing what I can do, and accepting the things I cannot. I am working on forgiving myself. And, scheduling in more time to read or garden or walk- all things that give me a sense of calm. I have put down the phone and turned off the TV- all the things that feed my Frantic.

This means the laundry is still not getting folded- but I am singing more. Sometimes, I prepare lunch too late- but I serve it with a smile and I can sit down to eat with the kids. And, though I don't consistently blog- I always call families back and feel a sense of purpose when we walk through the things that are weighing on them.

I've decided that my plan for adapting to what is happening is to let go of my ideals of perfection and accept my own feelings and limitations... accept the frustration and the "lack" and pack all of my attention and energy into doing things that bring me ease and joy and purpose. I figured, during these tough times, perhaps I could use a dose of my own medicine.

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