For many parents, achieving a perfect balance between work and family is an ever-elusive goal. As if there's some secret to reaching this magic point of equilibrium and everything will magically fall into place once we have it. Well, I've been a working mom for more than six years now, and I can tell you this much: It's a myth. But that doesn't mean juggling motherhood and work isn't a balancing act in itself. Time and time again, successful mothers are asked the same question: "How do you manage it all?" Although celebrities have varying answers to this (ahem, sexist) question, why Drew Barrymore thinks being a working mom is a "balance" is really refreshing to hear.
If you've lost track over the years, Barrymore, 43, shares two young daughters with her ex-husband, Will Kopelman — Olive, 5, and Frankie, 3. The Santa Clarita Diet star recently answered the same "balance" question most celeb moms get asked. "I like that I’m fulfilled as a person, and it makes me so much more excited to just be and do kid things and focus the entire time I’m with my kids," she recently told Working Mother.
Barrymore also opened up about the inner conflict with which she struggles — and it's something most working parents can probably relate to. "Sometimes I feel like the two are pulling in different directions, and I feel really torn and freaked out in my head and my heart and kind of all over the place," Barrymore told Working Mother. "I think there’s a lot of days where I feel like, 'Good, I took care of work stuff, now I can focus solely on my kids,' and I’m revitalized by work to just go and be a mom and nothing but a mom. And then when I lean in with my kids so much, I’m like 'Good, I’m glad I have something else to focus on.' It makes me feel reenergized." She continued:
I think if you did nothing but work, you’d be exhausted and resent work. And if you do nothing but [be with] your children, you’d be exhausted by that. It is a balance.
And the analogy Barrymore used to explain why working actually makes her a better mom? It's just too perfect. She told Working Mother.:
It’s almost like a relationship between a couple. Like, "Please go out there and have something to bring back to the table to talk about, because if we’re staring at each other 24/7, there’s really not a lot new we’re going to bring to this." It’s good and healthy to go out into the world and cherry-pick different things, and you bring that to your home, or from your home you bring that focus and love into your work, but you have to do at least one or two diverse things in order to feed the other.
I know she's incredibly busy, but is Drew Barrymore in the life coach business? Asking for a friend ...
Just last month, Barrymore opened up in an Instagram post about how she approaches work as a single mom of two who is often away for her work responsibilities, as People reported. The key is helping her kids anticipate when she'll be away and when she'll be back from a work trip — by having her older daughter track it all herself. Barrymore also keeps an upbeat attitude about her job to show her kids that work isn't a terrible thing.
"Olive has a working mom," Barrymore captioned a photo of Olive writing on a wall calendar. "I always explain to her that I love my job. I don’t say, ‘I have to go work’ with a grimace on my face, because I fear it will make her feel negative about something a lot of moms must do to provide." She continued:
My friend once said, "Never make your child feel like work is the bad thing taking you away from them" and I realized a lot of us tend to do that to try to make our kids feel better and that work is the yucky thing taking us away. It’s a good intention, but I am convinced I need to take a different approach. I want to empower my daughters to think work is good and necessary. And can even lead them to road of their dreams.
Some days, I feel like I'm a decent employee and a badass mom getting it all done. Most days, though? I feel like I'm being torn in a million different directions at once while only accomplishing the bare minimum in both aspects of my life. But what Barrymore says about resenting work if you work too much and resenting your kids if you're around them 24/7 — it's so true for me, too.
In fact, I have a feeling a fair amount of working moms feel guilty about admitting to themselves (and others) that they enjoy working. There seems to be this pressure that moms should want to be with their children all of the time, even if working is fulfilling and energizing to them. So thank you, Drew Barrymore, for giving yourself and other moms permission to find the balance that works for them. Because it's different for every family.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.