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When Work/Life Balance Doesn’t Work

Alethea Mshar
Special needs mom and Blogger
08/28/19  4:42 PM PST

Most of what I write has to do with all of the things our family gets right. We do so much that I’m proud of with and for our boys with Down syndrome, and I love sharing our discoveries and the lessons we have learned. I feel like I’m blazing a path for the parents of younger kids, providing necessary information and tips.

Yet, I also feel like an impostor.

Sure, it’s important to focus on success, but that’s not all there is to our story. One of my mottos is “fail until you succeed”, and much of my writing illustrates that. But that isn’t the whole story.

One of my biggest heartbreaks and frustrations is my inability to obtain and sustain work outside the home. Every few months I pour over websites for local employers, looking for a position with enough flexibility for me to swing it while not completely falling apart at home. I doubt the job actually exists. Not too many employers smile on employees who have to drop everything at a moment’s notice and then for weeks on end when their child has a crisis. Nor can I find employers who find me so charming that the fact that I have few childcare options and a husband who works odd hours easy to overlook.

As it stands, I work from home, writing articles and doing administrative work.

I also enjoy hosting a vendor table with my older son, Alex at our local Farmers Market. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for this chance to earn income and use my abilities.

But. . .

I remember the days when I was a paramedic. I had an identity, a role, and a purpose outside of my home and my family. It was something all my own, and I was good at it. My license long since expired, my career lasted less than 10 years. When I quit, I saw it as a comma, a pause in a sentence, but instead, it was the end of the book. 

My story is a beautiful tapestry.

My heart swells with gratitude for my years of medical work which prepared me so well to manage my younger son’s medical conditions. I have cultivated hobbies in my home that enrich my life and my family and keep my mind and body engaged. I realize the luxury I have of being able to stay at home and am thankful for my husband’s job which provides income and insurance for our family. I hope you hear me when I say that I realize that our family is fortunate in so many ways. I sometimes even feel greedy for wishing for more. 

Someday, maybe, the pendulum will swing back and I will find the perfect scenario that gives me the outlet I desire and the flexibility my family requires. I’ll keep looking and hoping, and keep focusing on being the best parent possible. If there’s anything I’m phenomenal at doing, it’s looking on the bright side.

inclusion on the playground

Alethea Mshar is a Special Needs Mom and Blogger.

Read her blog, Ben’s Writing, Running Mom

Follow her on Facebook

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