01 Mar Can a Mum Get The Wok-Life-Balance Right
Many a mum I know have the same dream. To keep their kids and family happy and healthy and find a good balance between work and family life. The mums I talk to say the same thing. I need to go back to something….(to work) so I can use my brain that seems to have been all caught up in timing feeds, monitoring food and liquid input and output and did I mention the constant need to talk about baby poo? From colour, to consistency to frequency not to mention ‘poo throughs’ and projectile movements. It’s quite intriguing that new parent conversation becomes dominated by details of faecal matter isn’t it?!!
So most mums of my generation are in the same boat. They long to rediscover their career identity and work towards challenges that don’t necessarily involve their children at all. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a mum who loves nothing more than to stay home and be a mum and talk with your babies and nurture and teach them day in day out, I can only take my hat off to you if this is how you plan to fill your days. I couldn’t do it full time. I longed for a balance. I wanted a career that gave me purpose but also the necessary flexibility to be able to change things up if I needed to. I wanted to be there for the school assembly presentations, athletics and swim meets, so I could watch and cheer my daughter on and have her remember that I was there for her.
Being out of the workforce myself for quite some time after we had our baby meant I was a little daunted by the thought of returning to work. I liked the idea of the social interaction and being able to engage my brain to do tasks that challenged me, but there was a certain sense of guilt that came with that as well. Was I spending enough time with my family? What if I missed out on something really important? Would my daughter feel abandoned? What long term impact would how much I decided to work have on her, and our family? Something that should be quite simple to work out, was somehow the most difficult part of the transition to parenting once the maternity leave was coming to a close.
I think we’re all inclined to see the grass as a little greener. It’s human nature really.
One thing that I find really helps is taking the time each day to reflect on what I have and to be grateful for it. There is a lot to be said for feeling and showing gratitude.
At the end of each day, I like to note three things that I’m grateful for. By doing this, I’m showing myself that there’s worth in what I’m doing and there are always positives things that arise, even on the hardest of days.
I guess the morale of the story is, there is no such thing as the perfect work/life balance. All we can do is get it as close as we can to being perfect. Ultimately, as a mum, your to-do list is never complete. There is always someone who needs something from you and there never seem to be enough hours in the day.
Whenever you’re unsure of the role you play when you have a family, chances are you wear a few of these hats, and probably all of them…..
Written by a mum who is also:
CEO of the household, a Personal Chef and Head Cheerleader of my child’s team, the Housekeeper, Taxi driver, Judge Mum (daily court appearances usually scheduled), has a PhD in Anger Management, Hair Stylist (mostly consists of impatient clients) Keeper of Secrets (shh I won’t tell), Food Tester, Family Therapist (innervation at least once a week) , Errand Runner, Washing Machine Operator, Janitor, Teacher (specialising in nursery rhythms, ABC’s and 123’s) Toy Repair Expert (fixer of the little parts) Finance Manager, Art Director (remember; beauty should be in the eye of the beholder) Land Scraper (the weeds won’t pull themselves) Toilet Trainer, Search and Rescue (for lost toys and clothes) Champion Tickler, Lifeguard, Daycare Provider, Personal Assistant for the entire family, No-Thumb Sucking Enforcer, Wardrobe Stylist (this may require changing client’s clothes several times a day) Personal Shopper, Toothbrush Inspector, Play-date Coordinator, Birthday Events Director, Sleep Scientist (will consist of many overnight studies) Scary Monster Patrol Officer, Dramatic Story Teller , Backyard Safety Patrol, Professional Singer (concentrating on lullabies) Kiss and Hugs Expert, Speech Specialist, Vacation Coordinator & Tour Guide, PhD in Reverse Psychology, Separation Anxiety Counsellor, In-Law Mediator, Seamstress of Frilly Dresses and Super Hero Costumes, Mrs. Fix-It, Fort Engineer, Stain Removal Expert, Bodyguard AND Lady MacGyver….phew
Give yourself a pat on the back mum. You got this!