Being a parent and working is not a match made in heaven. If you are anything like me, you can feel guilty, have doubts and have quite a few sick days.
Becoming a parent changed my perspective on life and made me really calm. Honestly, I expected the opposite. I have relished in letting out my inner child while playing with my daughter. But I have also cried on many occasions for no reason other than I was exhausted.
I used to be able to party until 3am and still be at work by 8am full of beans. These days if I stay up past 10pm I look like I have been partying for 3 weeks. Fancy hand bags, once my guilty pleasure, have have been replaced by unsightly eye bags. I’m learning that comparing myself to parents posting on social media and then spending the rest of the day in a funk that I have somehow failed to live up is a waste of time and emotion.
My daughter became my boss the minute I held her in my arms. I am on call 24 hours and 7 days a week with no holiday or sick pay (unless my husband is unexpectedly generous). There is no chance of a pay rise, my little one is a tough negotiator. I need to come to terms with the fact I will never be able to quit this job, I will always be mama.
Job description: looking for a hard, dedicated team player. Sounds great! What if it went on? Always on call, always on time, no lunch breaks, no salary, no pension plan, emotional exhaustion required - would you apply? But the reality is that so many of us take on this role anyway. Inevitably we then must try to balance, splitting our times between our paid jobs and our career at home. There’s pressure to be the best at both and never complain about how difficult it actually is. Sometimes it is easier to lose our cool at home rather than the workplace because, let’s face it - no one wants to see tears in the boardroom.
There is so much advice out there, so much judgement. There are body and parent shamers and so many opinions. It is clear that what works for one person may not work for another and therefore all I can give you is what has worked for me.
*Trust my gut
*Don’t be afraid to ask for help
*There will be messy days and low days and that is ok
*Being perfect doesn’t matter but being present does
*Stop comparing myself
*Don’t waste precious energy on guilt and doubt
*Relish the good days as cushion for the bad
*Take time out for myself even if only for 15 mins
*Dance dance dance because that makes a difference to me
So ask yourself what works for you. What do you want to do more of? If someone asked for your
advice on being a working parent, what would it be? Equally importantly, do you think you would follow your own advice?