I can’t count the number of times a mom has asked me, “how do you do it?”, referring to the fact that I just completed my MBA, work a full time job, and run Moms Guide with Esraa and four of the most fantastic, dedicated, and inspired women (and man) in Abu Dhabi! Oh, and I forgot to mention the most demanding job of all: I’m a mom to two happy, intelligent children who are the center of my universe.
Instead of feeling proud of my achievements, I immediately regret having said anything about my life because I know what it’s like to ask that question. I know what it’s like to wonder, “how come my life is not as put together as her life?” and, “how does she have time to take care of the kids AND run a business AND go to the gym and I don’t?!”
Needless to say, it doesn’t feel good when it appears to be so easy for others. Whenever I’ve asked the same question, my curiosity is coupled with a dooming feeling of inadequacy and failure on my part. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing as, thanks to the way I’m wired, I have managed to turn these feelings into the motivation needed to work evenings and weekends, to wake up a little earlier to answer emails, or to write blogs at 4:00 AM (yes, it’s 4:00 AM right now). But truth be told, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things I do without the unrelenting support of my family and my in-laws. Not to mention having outsourced almost every housekeeping activity possible!
But there is nothing easy about living life with so many plates in the air; the idea that I’m all put together is a façade.
I forgot to send a sock with my daughter for her school activity last week.
I constantly forget to call my husband to ask him how his day is going, or greet him with a smile when he comes home.
I have been known to skip Fridays with my family because I have to work on Moms Guide.
I only manage to go to the gym a couple times a month.
I really should dedicate more time to feeding my relationship with God.
I go months between visits to the salon.
And oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to visit the doctor about a weird mole on my arm, but I’ve been just a bit too busy.
Sometimes I ask myself why am I doing this?! Why am I making my life more hectic, more unpredictable, more demanding? Our generation was raised to assign value through our careers, and taking a step away from that (even when we know it is temporary) is not easy. We watch our single friends become managers, directors, and professors. We see them lead social change, work on the Obama campaign, and travel the world. Although taking care of my children is the best and most valuable use of my time, it is difficult not to ask myself if I’ll ever achieve my own childhood dreams. And so I push myself harder…while adding a few more worries about wrinkles and sagging eyes.
But I want you to know that it’s not easy. Not giving in takes a lot of perseverance, patience, and emotional strength – the latter at which I often fail at, like the multiple times I broke down and cried in the car after trying to get the groceries done with two kids in tow. I want to be real about my experience so that when other moms think “this is too hard”, they know it’s hard for all of us. Keep at it, take it a day at a time and remember your children are only young once, so enjoy them as much as possible!