Yin and Yang of the Working Mother – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Lately I’ve been obsessed with Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations program on the Travel Channel.


Not only does he eat the most amazing food, but he gets to travel all over the world and really experience the cultures – his trips always include a night of drinking with the locals. Anyhow, during one episode, he was in China talking about the philosophical history of Daoism at the Puxian Temple – Yin and Yang – balance – and I got to thinking.

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Balance for the working mother is a constant struggle. I am not the beautiful picture above – I am more like a collage of little bits of paper held together with some Elmer’s. As I sit here typing right now, my kids are playing with their chalkboard pretty good – only the occasional bought of screaming at each other. My work is never uninterrupted.

And I realize that I really need to work on my balance. I’m either all in work mode or all in mom mode. I hate sitting down to the computer and leaving my children to their own devices – no matter what activity I try to occupy them with, because I invariably feel like I’m being a bad mom and a bad employee. I’m not engaging with them, nor am I completely focused on my work.

So I find myself putting work off until late at night. Which is great – quiet time I can use to focus on what writing needs to get done. But then I suffer. I’m overtired and not good with my kids the next day anyway. Or the house – rarely ever all clean at once. And then there’s my poor husband. He gets the exhausted leftovers.

I need to remember that not everything will always be perfect.  I may not have time to analyze every word I write, or be constantly tweaking my parenting patience, or be thinking of the next way to show my appreciation for my husband’s hard work, and the house – well, it’s sanitary at least.

If every day, I can give my best and do a little bit for every aspect of my life, so that everything is connected and at least attended to in some way or another, that’s got to be better than the all or nothing approach my life tends to drift towards when I feel overwhelmed.

Yin and Yang of the working mother, everything working together – maybe not perfectly – but at least together!