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A few words about having it all


I really thought that when Dottie started school that would be it, all of a sudden everything would fall in to place, I would be reaching all my career aspirations,  alongside being the perfect working parent to these two gorgeous girls (yes I am biased).  But I am starting to wonder is it really possible to have it all.

Pre-Christmas, the reality to above was a completely different story, I wasn’t getting anything much done at all.  And I have definitely not been looking after myself better, which was supposed to be a priority.  Instead I was more stressed than ever because actually all I was doing was trying to squeeze more in to those precious school days, which meant my parenting suffered.  I found myself on my phone when the kids were home from school, trying to answer emails whilst I was cooking dinner, posting photos on social media whilst we actually ate, paying for school trips half way through a blog post, you get the idea.  Not only feeling like a parent on the edge, but also a bad example to my children..

That’s not how I want to be, my girls are my World, and I definitely don’t want to be short tempered with them because of work.

Eventually something had to give and so I swung the other way, trying to return to the kind of parent that I aspire to be, good home cooked food on the table every night, keeping away from my phone until the girls are in bed, trying to squeeze work in between making cakes.  But it turns out that isn’t ideal either,  I realised I wasn’t actually getting anything done at all, bye bye career!

But I am hoping I may have found a solution, the answer to doing both things to the best of my ability, I’m giving myself a day off each week!  Yep, you read that right!  Instead of trying to do it all.  I am separating my work/home life.  I am very lucky to work for myself and so this is an option for me (anyone who works full time for someone else.  hat’s off, I really don’t know how you do it).  I realised that I am trying to be a full time stay at home Mum, whilst working, and it just isn’t possible to be all things at once.

So instead of doing the washing in between emails, sorting out things for the girls whilst writing a blog post, trying to keep up with friends whilst my to-do list grows longer and longer, I now have Wednesday’s off work and it is already making a difference.  I can get all the personal things done then, like renewing passports, clearing out the loft, pruning the roses, doctors appointments and catching up with friends, the general stuff of life, without it impacting on my work because I know that the rest of the week, I will be giving work my full attention.  Most importantly of all, it means that when the girls finish school, I can be their Mother and nothing else, and although I know I’ll never be the perfect parent, (because who is), that is exactly how I want it to be, because I have achieved more during the time they are at school, I can focus on them after school.

Now I know I am incredibly lucky to be able to do this, to have a job I love that most of the time fits around my children.  And whether you are the same as me, or alternatively you work nine to five in an office, I would love to hear how you balance work with being a parent.

And I know it is probably controversial, but I have to admit that I often wonder about others with seemingly perfect social media lives too.  How do they manage it?  The constant posting, commenting,. liking, does that come at a cost, a cost to real life?  Are they shouting at their kids for interrupting them because they are trying to draft a post?   Maybe they have found the answer, but I still seriously doubt it is possible to have it all.  What do you think?

Emma x

8 comments on “A few words about having it all”

  1. Oh my! I can identify with so much of what you’re saying, and I think you’ve stumbled upon a brilliant idea with the Wednesdays off. I’ve been enforcing a 9pm ‘shut down’ every evening for a few months now, so regardless of what time I finally manage to wrestle my Smalls in to bed I only have until 9pm to work, then all electronic devices go off and I pick up a book. It felt counter-intuitive at first – like I should be trying to maximise that time, but I’m super focused and productive till 9, go to sleep with much less whizzing round my head & am able to think more clearly in the morning. Bam! Requires a fair amount of discipline thought, humph….

    1. Hi Emma

      I think at 9pm shut down is a great idea. I don’t work after the kids are in bed if at all possible. But an hour or so on the iPad watching Netflix is my current switch off time, but as you say that can still get the brain whizzing. I’m wondering if I too should enforce the electronic device curfew on myself too. Thank you.

  2. Brilliant plan, Emma! Thanks for sharing transparently about your struggle to find balance and your thoughtful solution. I know a few people who also work four long days and take most Fridays off to rest and attend to personal matters. 💗

  3. Here’s my truth, as our kids got older I worked less and less because it became just more complicated, until by the time they were in high school I was working 30 hours a week which included every other weekend. In general in 2 weeks I’d have 7 days off. If you choose to be a parent, parenting is the priority .Home cooked meals are great but positive interactions are better. Have your daughters help you as much as possible ,promoting independence and the importance of sharing duties in a family. And say no once in a while it’s so important and one I see parents give up on. Setting boundaries for yourself and your kids makes everyone happier.Social media is a part of life but it can become intrusive and keep your kids from establishing real friendships . Good luck because although it’s not easy it’s the best life has to offer.

    1. Hi Peggy. Thank you for your comment. I whole heartedly agree, parenting should be the priority if you choose to become a parent. I agree too that positive interactions are important, and definitely boundaries. I think this might be the start of a reassessment of my path, time will tell.

  4. This is perfectly refreshing! I relate and as a mother the older I get the more I am at peace with choosing people over projects., time being present over task accomplishment. I have never found the balance and I have tried and tried. brilliant post! refreshingly honest and yet not an imposition on anyone else but just sharing your own journey, love this.

    1. Hi Deborah

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I agree with the peace found choosing people over projects. The more time I spend thinking about it, I wonder if my current path is the right one for me, and whether actually I would be just as happy being a stay at home Mum. Food for thought over the coming months.

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