Do you ever have those days where you get up from the couch, walk into the kitchen and think, “What was I coming in here for?” Have you ever had that feeling with you whole life? I have. 

Early on in my career, I felt a passion for pursuit. I was hell-bent on proving to everyone that I could be a mom, an engineer and in leadership! I could do it all, and I would be the best. And I could do it all, just not all at the same time… and clearly, I could not be the best at everything.

Working Mom

To be a good employee and good wife and good mother, something had to give, and usually that was me.

I put everything else first and I let bad habits and conveniences slip in to my routine. Before I knew it, my health had really deteriorated. Last year, I dedicated myself to getting my health back! And I did. I exercised, ate right, slept when I was tired. And to be honest, my performance at work slipped. I lost a ton of weight and felt better in many ways, but I didn’t put in the extra time needed to fill my brain with all the things I should have to be able to level up at work. So I started pulling longer hours, putting in extra effort and burning the midnight oil.

Lo and behold, my time with my kids (or more specifically, my level of interference on their school work) dropped off and their grades have suffered.

I. Can’t. Win.

I am tired. I am tired of chasing a standard I am never going to reach. And I am tired of burning the candle at both ends and in the middle to achieve some position where everyone is going to hate me no matter what I do and the joy for the work is gone.

Is this burn out? Or have my ambitions just burned up? I used to wear my “working mom” title with pride, but now I am starting to see why so few women have held these jobs in the first place. You just almost can’t and expect to hold the rest of the pieces of your life together. Everything feels hard and there is no winning.

What Is the Point?

I feel like I am trying to be all these different things that I think life expects of me, but all I am doing is being poor at many things and my perfectionist heart can’t take it. I can’t even remember what the point was, anyway. Why did I want to do this working mom thing in the first place?

Is this how it feels when you get to the point that you finally decide to quit? Am I just being dramatic and this too shall pass? Am I the only one who feels this way? Some days, it sure seems that way. At least on the days when I can remember what I was doing in the first place.

Are you a working mom? Have you found balance or burnout or both?

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Rachel is a native Coloradoan, though originally from the Western Slope. She followed her husband Chris to his hometown of Colorado Springs after having met in engineering school at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Together they have four beautiful children, Tommy (2011), Tazzy (2014), Zach (2015) and Zinny (2018). Having a young and active family keeps Rachel on her toes trying to find ways to keep the ship sailing while still meeting all the demands of motherhood. Though Rachel loves her most important role as Mommy most, she also works full time outside the home as a Water Resources Engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources. This role helps keep her life centered, bouncing from detailed and complex discussions relating to Colorado Water Law with her husband ( a mechanical engineer) to daycare and preschool drop off and pick up schedules, while being constantly interrupted by the equally complex musings of her 4 year.