Is work life balance a joke for modern mom?

Working mom and "having it all?"
In the first year of being a mom. I was struggling between making three meals a day for my baby, taking him to doctor visits, planning playdates and story times, while also trying to squeeze some time for writing and acting career. My friend once told me, "There's no real balance between work and new mom life." No matter how hard I try, there's always guilt whenever I'm not there with my baby, and there's always some disappointment whenever I have to miss an acting opportunity. I can't help but thinking: is work/life balance a real joke for modern mom? Is having a baby a big setback for a woman's career and professional growth?

Work Life Balance on Social Media

Let's be honest, social media doesn't help new moms in terms of what reality is and how professional life changes after having a baby. In the first year of motherhood, I remember that I couldn't help comparing my life with the glamorous mom's on Instagram. I even try to create a "perfect style" on my Instagram profile. I choose to post pictures that make me feel pretty like living in a fantasy world. To be honest, I'm not opposed to making efforts and record a fulfilled life, but the pitfall here is: if I confuse my own goals with other influencer's lifestyle, I will blur my vision and eventually get sucked in disappointment from chasing other people's expectations.

Expectations, Expectations

I have to be real with myself, and plan goals based on my current situation. Different family have different situation. As for me, I have to acknowledge the fact that there won't be a true work/life balance, at least not the first couple of years. Probably a 30/70 ratio with main focus on family and child. With this adjusted expectation, I can be more practical and won't feel beaten up by unrealistic goals. Somehow, the realization of "I can't have it all or do it all, and it's totally OK" makes me feel so relieved and actually gives me extra courage to face any setbacks in this new life. Because perfection is such an impractical goal, and the only way to be better is through trials and errors. Perseverance is the key.

Stay Positive and Creative as a Working Mom

I am an actor who loves storytelling and creative projects. In order to be active in the industry, I constantly running between auditions, commercial sets and acting trainings. So what to do to help a working mom better engaged in both professional and personal life. An interesting thing I find out is to stay creative and start shifting knowledge and skills between these two fields. You will be surprised how skills in one field can be so beneficial to the other.

I started to journal my life with a toddler, and record my feelings and emotions, whether they are joys, tears, excitements or disappointments. These moments and reflections are so personal and important that not only help me to become a better parent, but also enrich my emotional experience as an actor. I am so grateful for all the highs and lows (especially the lows) of being a mother, because those moments are the essences of natural acting. Thanks to those special moments, I know how to portray a woman who feels happy, tired, angry or even depressed. Now I'm more open to play a character with a wide range of emotions. The hardship and rollercoaster experience of motherhood turn out to be the goldmine of my acting career.

Vice versa. My passion for acting and performance lighten up the life of being a FUN mom. I like to tell stories to my child with lots of gestures, singings and funny faces. Being able to act out the scenes of a story book helps me enjoy bonding time with the little one. Another funny thing to do with acting is: I like talking to toys as if they are my little friends. And my baby totally loves it! He wants to be friends with them too. I once learned a trick from a veteran actor, who told me an effective way to handle toddler's tantrum is to act even more dramatic than your crying child!  Apparently young child is usually curious about parents' behavior, especially when their behaviors are more dramatic than normal. My kid will stall and just stare whenever I start acting "weird". I will pretend to be like him throwing a tantrum, and he will just stand there and watch. Who would've thought this little guy will become my biggest fan in the whole wild world!

To sum up, being a working mom is not easy at all. There's no reason to copy other mom's lifestyle. Sometimes, being a bit messy is totally normal. Just keep breathing and stay positive. No magic of balancing all at once. It's a lot of trials and errors. But remember, there's always a creative perspective to look at both worlds, relatable or not. We're constantly learning from work and life, so why not start utilizing those experience to help us better enjoy both world?

"It's ok to be a bit messy in life. Perfection only exists in social media."--Almost Nomadic

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