I can’t even count how many times I’ve been asked, “Sanctimommy, how is it that you balance a career and motherhood, all while maintaining a spotless home and a hopelessly happy marriage and rewarding social life and still make it all look so damn easy?”
I don’t make it “look” easy– it really just is easy. For me. I just don’t know why so many other moms complain about this stuff. Managing a full time career and full time motherhood isn’t hard if you’re a self-actualized wonder woman like myself. Look, I don’t usually like to share my tips for success, because frankly I like to maintain my position of superiority, but I guess throwing you all a bone from time to time won’t hurt.
So, without further ado… here are my foolproof tips for work/life balance:
1- Leave nothing to chance.
Motherhood is not to be entered into at random. To ensure I was able to have it all, I had to carefully choose the timing of my pregnancy. I couldn’t risk being too young or too old. Too young, and I may not have been as financially stable as I am, reasonably finished with my educational pursuits and not have had enough time to carefully craft my marital union. Too old, and I’d risk not being able to bounce back to my pre-pregnancy weight within a reasonable time (6 days postpartum). That ideal age? 27.110573. Not a day more or less. Got that? Take the age of 27.110573 and count backwards 43 weeks (because, remember, full term+ is the only way to go), and voila! You have your ideal conception timeframe. See how easy that is?
2- You should have planned the perfect career path back in 9th grade (but, you probably didn’t).
Back when you met with your first guidance counselor in high school, you should have had the foresight to have chosen the perfect career that would simultaneously let you be a powerful jet setting career woman but would also allow you to work from home, but not so much at home that you never leave the house… a career that would give you no other choice but to “lean in”, but that would still allow you to always put your family first. Here are some helpful guidelines:
- You have to be able to have mornings and evenings free to tend to your home and children.
- You must also have your afternoons free so you can continue to take Bikram Yoga classes and have time to take your children to the local park so you can simultaneously give them 100% of your attention and still allow plenty of time to observe other people’s playground-related parental failures.
- No part-time jobs. No MLMs (unless you have a downline of at least 112 people), no jobs that require travel. No sales, or marketing, or skilled trades. No food service or factory work. No teaching or nursing or retail. No administrative or accounting work.
“But, Sanctimommy, that sounds impossible! Careers like that just don’t exist!” God, you have no imagination. I suggest you consider building your very own homemade Elderberry Syrup empire or find a way to make six figures as a Mommy Blogger. It’s not that hard, ladies.
3- Understand that you can’t go it alone.
Balancing career and motherhood is nearly impossible if you don’t have a strong support network. I don’t mean rewarding friendships, or a life partner/co-parent who is willing to shoulder half of the responsibility. You can’t call yourself a success if you can’t claim to have done it all on your own. So, make sure your husband or partner is there, ready to take on whatever responsibilities you are willing to dole out to them. Allow their contributions to be small enough that no casual observer would give them any meaningful credit. And never, I mean NEVER, allow them to make any actual independent decisions as they relate to the children. You’re the star of this show, cupcake, don’t share that spotlight!
As for friendships, make sure to surround yourself with people who provide you validation at all times. You’ll want to carefully craft a circle of real life and internet friends who are just slightly beneath you— people who can bask in your superior judgment and choices… people who you know secretly envy you. The satisfaction you’ll get from knowing others want to be just like you will fuel you on your down days.
4- Self Care is Key.
Here’s the thing. There will be times when your (and I truly mean “your”, because this has never happened to me) house is slightly messy, you’ll forget all about that parent-teacher conference, or you’ll feel exhausted, overwhelmed and anxious. You’ll snap at your kids, you’ll stick them in front of the tv so you can have a minute to yourself, you’ll crack open a box of Mac & Cheese for dinner because it’s 7:00pm and you’re so tired your hair hurts. At work, you’ll make mistakes from time to time, you’ll find yourself in over your head on some days, or you’ll spend a day at your desk at work scrolling through Pinterest because fuck it, you’re the only one in the office that day and there are no immediate deadlines looming. These things are inevitable. So what you do when you find yourself feeling like a failure? YOU DEFLECT.
Say you’ve just yelled at your child because you’re tired and crabby, and you’re feeling guilty. Do you admit you’re only human? God no. You’ll have to simultaneously forgive yourself and also find a way to mercilessly critique others for engaging parenting behaviors you deem unforgivable. It’s not hypocricy, it’s “self-care”.
First thing is first. You’ll have to get into the right head space.
Find yourself a nice comfy chair. Sit back and take a few cleansing breaths. Close your eyes. Now… visualize yourself frolicking on a sandy beach or running in a field of wildflowers. Ok, now stop that. Picture yourself walking through Target. There you are… walking through the baby aisle. You look hopelessly pulled together and chic, because well, of course you do. You spot another mom. She’s bleary eyed, has spit up on her shoulder, and her hair is a tangled mess. She has a baby carrier, perched on top of the shopping cart. What… what is that item she just pulled off the shelf….? Is that… a can of formula? Oh MY GOD, it’s Target brand formula. She’s going to buy formula. GENERIC FORMULA. FOR HER BABY. She doesn’t even look ashamed. Picture yourself, giving her the most violent of side eyes. Visualize yourself audibly gasping and tapping her on the shoulder and yelling right into her stupid face, “BREAST IS BEST.” Now, see yourself… turning abruptly on your heel and walking away with your head held high, leaving her stunned and crying in the background. Feel the superiority. Feel the shaming. BASK IN IT.
Now, if you’re short on time and don’t have time for the visualization technique outlined above, you’ll have to take a faster, more direct approach. Find your nearest online Mommy Group, and post away. Here’s a sample format:
“I’m not trying to sound judgmental but, am I the only one who thinks you’re a (lazy parent, shitmom, failure at life) if you (put your kid in daycare, don’t even attempt to breastfeed, take your kid to McDonald’s, forward face before 4, etc.). Not trying to start a debate, just looking for opinions.”
Granted, about half of the replies will disagree with you or take offense to your smug tone. Don’t let anyone try and change your mind—you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, girl. Don’t try to understand alternative viewpoints. When confronted with differing opinions, DOUBLE DOWN. Call those people shitmoms and move on. When it gets to be too heated, post a farewell speech to the group letting them know how you can’t believe how many terrible parents have snuck in right past the admins and that you can’t associate with the likes of them. Depending on the size of the group, this entire exercise should take no more than 30 minutes.
Now, do you feel better about yourself? Are you feeling empowered? Smug? Self-righteous? Perfect.
5- Never miss an opportunity to assert your superiority at work.
Here are some helpful examples:
- Remind your child free coworkers how unfulfilled their lives are without motherhood (“Wow, so, no kids yet, Dan from Accounting? Don’t you find that sort of aimless existence to be kind of… lonely and depressing?”).
- Always steer conversations right back to yourself and your children (“I’d love to join you all for Happy Hour, but little Teighlurr has ballet class tonight and here, let me show you the 39 pictures I took of her this morning!”)
- Remind your fellow parent co-workers how much more put together and evolved you are than they are (“You look tired today, Karen from Purchasing. Isn’t your baby sleeping through the night yet? When my children were 4 weeks old they just naturally started sleeping through the night. But then again, I did breastfeed and co-sleep so…”).
- Don’t forget to passive aggressively comment on other people’s lunch choices (“Ooh, another Lean Cuisine, Joyce from Customer Service? I’ll bet that is so much easier than the farro and quinoa bowls I made while meal prepping last week! It would be so much easier if I didn’t care about my wellness and longevity!”)
6- Social Media exists solely for your validation.
- No one will ever get sick of pictures of your children. Post at least 10 well filtered pictures of your precious littles each day, with helpful hashtags that remind everyone how fulfilled you are, like #enjoyingeverymoment and #soblessed #mylifeisperfection.
- On a similar note, no one will ever, ever tire of pictures of your food. That Instapot bone broth isn’t going to brag about itself, ya know. Don’t forget, food pictures don’t count if they are not accompanied by 12-44 hashtags. Here are some of my favorites: #farmbeforethepharmacy #whole30 #allnatural #organic4lyfe #mealprep #mykidlovesquinoa #vegan #vegankid #veganfamily #veganveganveganpaleoveganglutenfree #frankenfoodisforlosers #imaworkingmombutstillhavetimetobebetterthanyou
- Vague but oddly specific observations are a helpful tool to make everyone on your friends list occasionally wonder if you’re indirectly judging them. “It’s so sad how some people don’t mind living in a pigsty. Having kids is no excuse for being lazy. /Endrant” You can bet your bottom dollar, anyone who’s posted an uncropped #nofilter picture of their kid in the living room recently is going to think you might be referring to them.
- Change it up! Alternate between vaguebooking status updates and those ecard memes. I mean, it’s not rude if it’s accompanied by an old timey cartoon!
In conclusion, being a working mom isn’t that hard. For me. You’re probably royally fucking it all up though.
I hope this helped!