I was feeling really good about myself. I had managed to make it to work almost half and hour earlier than I normally do, but my confidence was short lived. No sooner had I sat down and fired up my computer that my cell phone rang. Caller ID showed it was daycare.

“Oh, great,” I said out loud. Every working parent knows that a call from daycare does not bring good news.

Sure enough, the youngest was throwing up and I needed to come get him. I packed up and told my co-workers I would be online when I got home. They gave me sympathetic smiles and wished me good luck.

Between kids getting sick, activities, deadlines, and workplace demands, I’m ready to take a timeout. I am only one person and I am increasingly feeling like I am giving my all to try and balance a career and motherhood.

I’ve found myself sitting at my desk wondering, “What am I doing here? Is all this making me happy?”

I always imagined myself with a career. I mean, I went to college and got an advanced degree. It’s what I was preparing my life for. Then I had kids and realized just how faulty our system is for supporting working moms. The 9-5 schedule and 40-hour work-weeks just don’t jive with school schedules, and after picking up the kids, you get maybe two hours with them before the bedtime routines start. And by the time you get them home, they are hungry and tired and you’re hungry and tired, and it’s often just one big cranky fest until sleep time.

My work also suffers. My brain at work isn’t what it used to be. With my lack of sleep and all the appointments and things I need to remember occupying space in my mind, my sparks of creativity at work come less than they used to.

So maybe it’s time for a change.

It’s time for me to slow down in this busy world of go, go, go and more, more, more. I enjoy my job and working is good for me. But it’s time to do less.

Motherhood is a full-time job in itself and I’m burned out from working two full-time jobs. I want my kids and husband to get the best of me, not a run-down shell of myself.

So if you’re like me and want to reclaim a little bit of your life back and spend more quality time with your kids, maybe it’s time to scale back your work hours. Find a schedule that works for you that gives you flexibility. Maybe you think it’s not financially possible. Look at your expenses and see if there are cuts you can make to unnecessary costs. Or pick up odd jobs you can do from home on your own time. The gig economy is booming. Reducing full-time daycare to part time should also save you some cash.

Plan it out. Meet with a financial planner to see what is feasible. Whatever you decide, be confident in your decision. Know that it’s OK to worry about your career rebounding if or when you decide to return full-time. But also don’t feel guilty or shame in wanting to cut back and be with your family more. I don’t think anyone was ever regretted hitting the brakes on their career to spend more time with their family.

You may also like:

I’m an Exhausted Working Mom Who’s Ready to Lean Out, Not In

To All the Working Moms Who Are Tired Before They Get to Work

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Kendra Perley

A mom and professional freelance writer, when not wrangling boys or typing words, Kendra has a fond appreciation of art, yoga, and humor. You can read more about her take on motherhood on her blog, The Maternal Canvas. Find her on Instagram, and Facebook.  

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