Since the birth of my blog, I do actually feel like I have had another child. Seriously. The amount of nurturing, caring and personal investment that I put into this blog is en par with what I do for my son (well, almost). It’s hard work, gruelling, rewarding and all-consuming, and I absolutely love it to death. But what do you do to juggle it all, when your career/passion is on the verge of becoming another member of your family? The truth is, I don’t know!
Look at this for an example. It is Sunday and I am writing this whilst my little boy has a little nap. It’s Sunday! I could be watching a film, reading my book that has been stuck on page 49 for a long time or thinking about what to do for dinner. Yes, I could be! But I won’t. I could and should also be cleaning the house, as I can see cobwebs in every corner that I look in and I have not seen the wood of my desk for
months weeks, but instead, I am writing this, which is the only thing I really want to do right now and I kinda feel bad about that.
But this is the situation that many of us find ourselves in, isn’t it? The continual struggle between work and family life, which is made even harder when you love what you do and love who you love. Somewhere along the line, one will get neglected over the other and guilt becomes your best friend.
In the course of writing this post little man has now actually woken up and is playing with his wooden animal puzzle. I have told myself that he won’t mind if I just finish this post, as he is really enjoying his puzzle. But kids aren’t stupid, even when they aren’t yet two years old. I may be here right next to him, but he knows I am not here. In fact when I miss the silly thing he does with the animal piece, he throws it at the dog to get my attention. Kids really do know when they don’t have you all to themselves and that is a worry.
It is terrible really. My husband is at work, our summer au pair is having a well deserved day off and this is my one day this week to be a full-time mum, and what am I doing, I’m blogging! I shouldn’t beat myself up about it too much though, because yesterday when I was supposed to be working I took him to an adventure playground for a few hours. So I’m not such a bad mother, am I?
I think as parents we will always feel guilty about working so hard. There will always be times when we are working when we know we should be spending quality time with our children and our partners. But on the other side, I know I have times when I am busy mummying but I know I have a lot of work stuff that needs to be done and it drives me to distraction. I have to put my hands up and admit that sometimes if I’m not counting the hours down to little man’s bedtime, I’m trying to get him into bed that little bit earlier so that I can get on with my work. That sounds bloody awful now I’ve written that down, but it’s true.
The other day, I saw one of those Facebook inspiration quotes that stuck in my mind. I can’t remember the exact wording but it said something along the lines that successful people are those ones who are making success whilst you are asleep. It was a bit more eloquent than that but I’m sure you know what I mean.
That quote is scary on so many levels, but mainly because it is true. Sometimes to be the success in life that you want to be, you do have to work that little bit harder and longer than the rest. Margaret Thatcher, whether you love her or hate her, you have to admire that she only had five hours sleep a night. She needed those precious hours to be the prime minister she wanted to be. Many of my favourite authors too, are on record saying that they are routinely up at five in the morning to get working on their novels, up before the rest of the word so that they can dedicate themselves to their successes. Hearing stuff like this does not do you much good, when you are already trying to tip the scales back to having more quality family time.
Well, I will apologise now if you started to read this post, hoping that there may be some answers here. There are absolutely none. Zero, zilch, nada. Because that my friends is the problem with this conundrum. There aren’t really any answers. Every person has to do what feels right to them. Everyone’s situation is different, even if you share the common status of being a working parent. I feel in my heart that my little boy has the best of me that I can give him. I’m also confident that when the summer, our busiest period is over, he has even more than the best of me. And I’d like to think that that applies to my husband too, but I’m sure it does, as we are both in the same position in the summer, him maybe even worse than me. I work from home, so although I am busy, I can pop my head around the corner and see our little boy playing. My husband doesn’t have that.
We can only do what we can and we can only do what feels right and hopefully, our hearts will guide us to where we need to be in life – the family side of life and the work side of life.
Right, I’m off to be a mummy for a few more hours until bed time. And then it will be me, a glass of wine and my laptop and on the other sofa, my husband, a beer and his laptop.
Welcome to our world.