Part of me has always felt like I need to prove that I can do this. That I can forge on with my own career while still having a hand in helping to grow and nurture my children. Sometimes I even feel distanced from motherhood and that I’m merely pretending to be mother. Perhaps it’s a primal instinct, or maybe it’s a cultural one that we still haven’t shaken off just yet – an echo from an era that did things differently.
Either way I want to explore personally to me, what it means to be a working mother today. I don’t discuss my children and my role as a mother much on this blog, so I apologise if I’m going off topic. However it’s an important topic that affects nearly all of us, male or female.
It’s A Role of Balancing And Compromising
By the far my biggest hurdle is balancing my work and my home life. This is even more difficult due to working from home. There isn’t that clear distinction between office and home – everything blends into each other. We split our household chores 50/50 so there’s still the laundry, the cooking and other tasks to do. While this isn’t a bad thing, I often find myself juggling too many things all at once and doing a poor job at all of them.
To combat this I’m having to learn the art of separation and focus. Scheduling my day has helped, while a clear, dedicated work space means I have an area that’s purely for working. Sure, sometimes my desk is covered in play-doh and crayons, however the children are slowly beginning to learn that when I sit there, it’s work time, meaning mummy shouldn’t be disturbed.
It’s a work in progress. I’m still hounded by minions wanting to listen to whatever’s playing on Spotify. They still steal my lunch off me when I eventually find the time to make it. Yet my focus is better. The simple act of sitting at a desk and intentionally working makes a huge difference.
It Pushes You To Be Better Than Those Before
I mentioned in a previous post the fact that my mother passed away, without really doing anything with her life. I didn’t mean for that statement to sound cruel, it was merely a simple observation that she dedicated her life to caring for three children and yet did nothing to celebrate her own life.
If I believed in the power of mediums and contacting those who have passed, I would ask my mum why. Why did she put her life on hold, why did she sit back and watch it pass her by, even after myself and my sisters had flown the nest?
I don’t want that for myself. It may sound selfish but I’m a huge believer in the power of small acts effecting big change. If through my blog or my work I can initiate change for the better, in any way then it will have been worth it and I’m sure my children would agree.
Do I really want them to look back when I’m gone and ask the same questions I do? Or do I want them to take inspiration from my actions and push themselves to be even better?
It Reminds You Of The Little Things
Having less time with my children, helps me appreciate those things that mean the most, even more so with Mother’s Day coming up in the UK. The warm, cosy smiles upon their rosy cheeks when they first wake in the morning. The roars of laughter when they all clamber over you to be the first to receive a hug. The moments when they’re sharing and giving and being good to each other.
The sound of your own child telling you that they love you.
Even the bad times when you feel less than a parent, have meaningful lessons to be learned. Like entering the kitchen to find your twins covered in paprika. Discovering your toddler is off up the street in the five minutes your back was turned, to go find the ice-cream van. The smiley face drawn in permanent marker on your living room door is a reminder to keep them out of reach. Secretly you giggle because you did exactly the same thing when you were little.
It’s those moments that matter the most. It’s why you work so hard, why you beat yourself up and why you throw yourself in at the deep-end, despite not knowing how to swim. You’re building a future where time isn’t a problem, where responsibilities are shared equally. You’re proving to yourself that yes, you can do this thing, this dream.
You’re proving that you’re more than ‘just a mother’ or ‘just a father’, to yourself more than anyone else in the world.
And do you know what? I think you and I, we’re doing just fine.