What does my life look like?
You know those days that are just perfect? When you can get your daughter off to school on time. Your son is in the care of a gorgeous nanny or daycare centre. When work just seamlessly flows. You get to your meetings on time. You make the calls you need to make. You send the emails you need to send. And you finish off that project. Then you pick up your daughter from school by 3.10pm. Just perfect. You know what I mean, those days when everything just falls into place and nothing is out of kilter? Mmmm, me neither!
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My life is an interesting balance of being a wife, mother and business owner. Would I call it work/life balance? Hell no. My life is more like the ocean. It ebbs and flows. It’s up and down and all over the place.
I made a choice a long time ago, to find my own path.
I love being a mum. I adore our two little ones. They are the light of our lives. I even have tears in my eyes as I type this. The love I have for our children is so pure and gives me such great joy.
So the question has been posed to me, as to why I work when I love our children so much. The answer is that my career and being an entrepreneur is part of who I am.
I have had my own business for the past 8 years, but prior to this I worked as a consultant. I love the freedom that working for myself affords me, but it is a challenge on a daily basis. It takes a lot of self-motivation and drive to choose a path of a business owner. The buck stops with you – no matter what.
But, by choosing to have my own business, I have been able to carve out a life that includes time for our family, and, time for building my career. Any given day can include a visit to a school event, a business meeting, phone calls and project work. I often tell people that I have never had the same day twice and that is because I can pick and choose what I need or want to focus on to suit our family. There is something wonderful about saying yes to a school event without asking permission and without having to forgo a lunchbreak.
The true beauty in it is that I work hard and I love what I do.
And having my own business allows me to make that choice. I value the time I have with our kids and am present in each and every moment that I share with them. We make playdough, we bake, we cuddle, and we play with trucks and art supplies. But being present is more than just doing things with the kids; it’s being present when they’re telling you about their day.
I know that me having a career has helped me to fully appreciate the unique little beings that they are. And that is a real gift.
The other great thing about working for yourself is that you can choose what else you want to fit in to your life. For example, I have recently written a children’s book that will be released soon, titled ‘But she’s still got time for me’. And I am heavily involved in helping not-for-profit organisations with their marketing including to produce a documentary on the issue of human trafficking in Nepal.
So what is the big picture when it comes to motherhood and life?
Carving out your own path is possible.
Choosing to have a career is possible.
Being a mum who is present for her family is possible.
I want my children to know that a career and family is possible for either themselves or their partners.
I have had loads of conversations with colleagues and friends over the years about their choice to work and have a career, or to be a fulltime mum. They felt that if they chose to have a career they would be letting their children down and there was a massive amount of guilt. And on the other end of the scale, being a fulltime mum was rewarding in many ways, but wasn’t fulfilling their own needs and ambition. In a nutshell, they felt trapped either way. And quite honestly, that sucks!
We just need to adjust our own minds to choose the life that we want. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy to put yourself out there and say, yes I want a career and yes I want to be an awesome mum – in fact, I want both! Basically because this is not what society generally accepts. When I have had a tough day and share this with others, I am often told that I could get a real job and that things would be easier.
I am living proof that having a career and a family is possible! I honestly believe that once I changed my mindset and gave myself over to the possibility of having a career and a family – things changed and started to fall into place.
So do I believe in work life balance? Nope. Not this chick. What I do believe in is work/life, my way. It’s not about trying to achieve some crazy and unattainable balance of work and life; it’s about integrating my career and my family on a daily basis and developing my own work/life harmony. But let me be clear, that is how my life looks, yours may be different, and you need to create your own path and your own work/life harmony. I truly believe that when we make choices based on our own beliefs, dreams or desires, we can’t go wrong.
If I could offer some advice on those embarking on a career and mum road…
It doesn’t, and will never serve you. Find a path that works for you and your family and make a conscious decision to be present in each moment of that journey. (I practice mindfulness techniques including meditation and that works wonders!) But most of all stop comparing yourself to every other fabulous woman that you might meet. I am here to tell you that even though you may think that her life is perfect – it’s not. Even if she is standing before you speaking to a group of hundreds of people and she seems to have it altogether, it’s not the truth. We all have the everyday stuff that we need to do each day and life isn’t perfect.But what is perfect, is that we have the ability to make choices to make our own life the best life possible.
The funny thing is that I often say that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I say this because I am a work in progress and I always will be. I am constantly evolving and constantly learning.