OK, so I’m nearly 2 days late. Story of my life.
International Women’s Day was a couple of days ago and I am just getting around to finishing the blog that I started writing on the day. But hey… working mum life!
This time last year I wrote about my fears about being left behind in the workplace and in my career because I was now working part time. I spoke about my desire to prove my capability to be mum and hold down a job without weakening my efforts in either position.
My, how things change in a year.
I spent most of last year bending over backwards to complete a 5 day a week job in 4 days. AND spend enough time with my daughter. Not to mention looking for, buying and moving to a house outside of Sydney. Whew!
I found myself working outside of my standard working hours over, and over again. I found that in particularly busy periods I was just absolutely swamped and quite stressed.
It did make me wonder how I was ever so busy when I wasn’t a mum! As we started the new year, I decided I wanted to go back to work full time. A lot of people may think (and many say to me!) “Why? Why would you do that? Won’t you have to put Little Miss into daycare? Won’t that cost more? Won’t you have even less time with her?”
Yes, its controversial but here’s how I look at it:
Get paid for the work you put in!
For the past 12 months I’ve struggled to work in just 4 days. Why not be paid to work the 5 days I’m virtually working anyway.
Cost isn’t a massive issue.
Working an extra day outweighs cost of daycare
Time with my daughter!
If I work from home I can work before Z gets up, then spend some time with her – instead of rushing us out the house at 7am every morning and throwing her at the daycare educators, as I run out the door to the sound of crying. I can pick her up. We can feed the ducks as we stroll home. We can play in the garden. Then I can do some more work once she’s in bed. Instead of arriving home 15 minutes before she is due to get into bed. Ok, I lose my day off with her, but when I am home, I’m not rushing off to do work or having to remove myself from family time while I go and put some slides together for Monday.
Now is the time to work full time, to achieve the things I want to achieve in my career – we would like baby number two some time and when that happens, even if I work I’ll still need to take a step back. And I won’t be able to jump back in until school starts.
And, although I only just started back full time, I can already see a difference in my little girl. Instead of clinging to my arm when I drop her at daycare, she asks to “get down” and runs in to see her friends. This has a lot to do with the fact she is now growing comfortable with her new daycare after our move too. But, she can’t grow comfortable and confident if she is constantly anxious because I’m always leaving her too quickly or I’m noticeable more by my absence than my presence.
Yet, even as I write those words I think about all the people who will think “If you really wanted to nurture her you’d be there all day with her instead of leaving her with someone else”. The nagging voice in my head constantly tells me I’m a terrible mum. A selfish mum.
I’m trying to be the best version of me. I’m trying to pay bills. I’m trying to show my daughter what it is to have ambition and goals. I’m showing her what it is to be empowered. I’m making myself as available as possible while paving the way for her future and giving her the tools for her to make the best of it.
After all, I was brought up by a working mother and my mum is one of the most inspiring women in my life. How she used to work full time and get dinner on the table for 6pm in the years she was a single mum I will never know. My mum always had a social life, always had ambitions, always had an adult life outside of the family home. When I was in primary school she even went back to tertiary education, and while some of what she did was necessity, a lot of it was just because she is that kind of person. And whether by nurture or nature (most likely a mix of the two) I have inherited that mindset.
But, the guilt of not being around more never really subsides. The wondering whether she will have a better life if I am around more doesn’t stop. And while I pacify my overthinking mind by telling myself I am ‘enough’ for her, I don’t think those voices telling me I’m not will ever completely go away.
The truth is we always compare ourselves to other women. And sometimes other women can be very judgemental. Yet ever since I’ve been a mum I find myself admiring so many other women, and feeling inspired by them.
I have a friend who deals with an almost- 2 year old who still won’t sleep through the night.
I have a friend who travel for work – sleeping on overnight flights (in economy) and doing back to back meetings all week.
I have a friend who is trying to study, renovate a house, plan a wedding and look after an old lady with dementia.
I have another friend who is separating from her husband and moving out of her family home with her kids.
I have friends who (individually) have lost both parents in the space of a year, had an abortion, been divorced, and many, many more things that I couldn’t begin to imagine coping with.
These are the same women that lift me up. The same women that are real life, day-to-day, messing it up then picking up the pieces and getting on with it, getting no-sleep, frazzled, beautiful women that I know won’t judge me, that think I’m a good mum without question and that inspire me to strive for the best kind of life, and the best kind of world for my daughter to grow up in.
And so I celebrate International Women’s Day: I celebrate strong women, I try to be the strongest woman I can be, and hope that by the time my daughter is my age she is living in world of equality and peace.
This is how I spent an hour of my day. Doing the 8 for the 8th workout for International Women’s Day – 8th March! @theminersgirl was the perfect workout companion as usual – not only is she an inspiration but she can always be relied on to act the fool with me! To all my girls – thank you for inspiring me. Here’s to strong women – may we know them, may we be them… may we raise them. #iwd2018 #pressforprogress #mumlife #runlikephoebe #twomumsonedeck 💪🏼❤️🙋🏼♀️👩👧ps we set the video music to Chaka Khan but Instagram won’t let us! Please feel free to hum it to yourself. 😁🎶 “I’m every woman….”