WINDSOR, N.S. — Being a mother is a tough job, and Sydney Caldwell knows it.
The Ellershouse resident stopped by her mother’s house just outside Windsor with her son Levi, who is only 20-months old, to talk about the challenges of being a working parent and the sacrifices required.
“It’s just all about time management and planning and trying to maximize the amount of things you can accomplish in your day. Slow cookers, coupons, reading the flyers — everything has to be thought about now because you’re responsible for a small person and their whole life. Every evening you get the supper on the go, eat supper, pack the bag for the next day, it’s just a lot. It’s a big lifestyle change. My husband and I do well for ourselves, we both have good jobs, but we’re in that tax bracket that Canada doesn’t really do us any favours. We pay a lot of taxes and don’t get a lot back.”
“Unfortunately, that made my mat(ernity) leave extremely difficult. The amount of money you get from mat leave is really hard to survive on. I had to sell my vehicle halfway through mat leave; I couldn’t afford my truck anymore. It was a great size for our family, but I actually could not afford to keep making payments. It wasn’t hard for me because I’m a super practical person. I wasn’t financially struggling, but found it difficult to not have any extra money, so I just said ‘you know what, that’s fine. I’ll just sell it and buy a smaller vehicle.’ I did.”
“My hobby is an expensive hobby. I’ve been into horses for a long time, since I was like four. I was in pony club, and I’ve sold horses. My hobby pays for itself sometimes because I’m buying and selling horses all the time. Unfortunately, I can’t really do that now because I just don’t have the time now that I have my son. Luckily, I had money in the bank. I planned, I sold a horse, I sold my truck, and I got through mat leave. And you have to take your year off because finding childcare is a nightmare.”
“I’m very happy with how it went for me, but I had to make a lot of sacrifices to make it work. As a person, I’m happy, I feel fulfilled about my mat leave, about having a child, but it’s incredible how many sacrifices you have to make to make it work. My husband has to work away a lot, so for a third of the year I’m a single parent. I’m managing rental properties while my husband is away, working full time and I have (my son) and my hobbies are pushed even further back. It’s exhausting because you’re constantly thinking about tomorrow and what’s going to happen tomorrow. Your mind just doesn’t stop, which I think is the hardest thing. When you don’t have children you don’t realize how much free time you actually have and how easy it is to just go to the grocery store by yourself.”
“But having a child is the greatest joy you’ll ever have in your whole life and it’s completely life-changing. You have this overwhelming feeling, like your heart is outside your body, but you are struggling so much with life, it’s just such a complicated feeling. You love so much but, it’s not stress, but it’s just like maximum organization. It feels like your brain is on overload all the time because you’re trying to manage everything.”
Faces Friday is our weekly online feature highlighting members of our community: their strength, challenges and humanity.