Ya know, being a single mom has its ups and has its downs. The all-encompassing effort is so difficult that I don’t know if I’ll ever find the words to describe it, but all my single moms know what I’m talking about. My kids give me so much joy; my whole life is wrapped around them. But I’ve found in the last 18 months that there are two very distinct Veronikas. There’s the “Mom Mode” and there’s the “Me Mode.” And you have to protect both, you have to protect both.
When I’m in “Mom Mode” somehow, no matter how exhausted I am, or how difficult my day has been, I manage to get out of bed every morning at 5:30 am. I pull my hair into a ponytail, get all five of my children dressed and ready, and am out the door no later than 6:45 am. I drive in Los Angeles traffic for over three hours a day to get kids to school, to practice, and to events. I usually have dinner cooked by noon, because if I don’t, it won’t be ready in time. I get all the little babies – ages two, three, and four – in the bath no later than 7:00 pm and into bed by 8:30 pm. It’s not extraordinary what I do – it’s necessary. It’s my job. Nobody gets brownie points for going to work and doing their job. So, I do my job proudly. I do it with every fiber of my being and it is the great joy of my life to be a mother.
But then I took a step back and I recognized that when I am in “Mom Mode,” Veronika is usually a mess!
Not emotionally, but physically. Some days I’ll walk past a mirror and yes, my house is clean, dinner is on the stove ready (no later than noon), but I’m wearing tights. Tights that I’ve had on for the last 26 hours. My hair is in a perpetual ponytail, there’s no makeup on my face and my eyebrows look a mess. I say “Veronika, take care of yourself!” Then, I submit to the fact that, honestly, there is no time. So, Monday through Friday, I focus on being a mom. I’m in my Suburban tearing down the 405, going into PTA meetings, baking cookies to drop off at this little one’s bake sale, running to that little one’s book fair, getting everything on their lists and, finally, running home to make sure I catch the gardener before he mows over my children’s favorite toys in the backyard. Then I think, Don’t go to sleep yet; the last bathroom needs scrubbing, or I need to pack one more lunch, or Did you remember to lay out the little one’s clothes for tomorrow? That’s “Mom Mode,” and Monday through Friday, I own it.
Then, on Friday night, I take my children to their father’s house for their weekend visitation. Then, I take a super long shower, almost like I’m rinsing off all of the “busyness of the week.” And, honey let me tell you, I am reborn. Because as exhausted as I am, as much as I want to do nothing but sleep, I understand that these are the moments I have to live the rest of my life. My weekends are Veronika Time. It is officially, “Me Mode.”
“Me Mode” mom still calls to check on the kids. But she also, flawlessly, has her face painted with FENTY Beauty’s newest line, her hair is masterfully curled, and she looks more like a supermodel. I attend red carpets. I go to galas. I go to parties. I meet with friends. I go out for drinks. On Sunday I unwind, drink wine, and I brunch. And in-between all of this I might even sweep a floor, still wearing my Louboutins, before I grab my keys and head back out the door.
This is my balance; “Mom Mode” and “Me Mode”. I have to live in two different worlds at the same time, always remembering to give myself credit, that it’s okay to be tired, and, more importantly, that even when I’m too tired to get up, I will live my life.
I’m a weekend warrior, not because I care about partying, not because I can’t sit still, but because this is the structure of my life right now.
This is what I have. And this is what works.
So, Monday through Friday it’s me, my Lululemons, and an old pair of Nikes, getting the job done, making sure my organic free-range seared chicken is perfectly seasoned, and that macaroni and cheese isn’t the only thing on the menu. And on the weekend, I’m at Wally’s with my legs neatly crossed, wearing cute Chanel flats, going on with my friends about what’s going on in our lives. I genuinely believe there’ll be time to rest – probably after I’m dead and gone – but until then, every moment of every day is used. These alter egos are my balance; I nurture them, I protect them, and in return, they take care of every living side of me.