The weekend went by in a flash and I loved every minute of it. There was a lot of home time for cooking, crafting and chasings. I made a delicious pulled pork, rearranged my chaotic pantry and washed a bazillion clothes. We made stock, baked eggs, jam and played with play-doh. We sung and danced and smiled.
O.K, so it didn’t exactly speed by and there were moments in it where I thought I was appearing in Groundhog Day: Australian version tittled “We don’t use our feet for kicking things other than footballs or water when you’re swimming. If you would like to kick something, please go outside and kick a ball. Please don’t kick me or your brother or the wall” or “If I have to listen to The Living End’s version of hot-potato hot-potato one more time I may just…”, but then there were beautiful moments including cuddles.
During the week, I started to realise this working-parent things is harder than I’d cared to admit. Sheer willpower will not get you over the line. It will help yoy stumble through, and probably more likely, pull you in a million different directions (far, far away from the finishing line). I’ve always been quite adamant that work will continue to be a part of my future as I truly value my opportunity to contribute in a professional realm. Also, I’m bloody good at what I do. However, the news that Kate Ellis (Australian politician) is going to retire from politics at the next election to spend more time with her family hit me very close to home. I haven’t read too much about it, but what I have read echoes my current feelings. While I’m not traveling between Adelaide and Canberra, nor am I working in the high profile/intense workload role (and I’m going to assume there is a significant difference in our pay cheque). But, I do commute a significant amount each week and there are periods of time in my current role where full-time work is available or LOOOOONG hours are required. There are also lifestyle choices I’m proud to commit to as well – think cloth nappies and the additional loads of washing/folding, home made foods as much as possible (think meals, stock, muesli and muesli bars) and I love being available to play with the boys whenever they request it.
The thing is, the time I need to dedicate to these endeavors doesn’t magically appear (duh, all that magic is reserved only for Harry Potter!) and inevitably, something somewhere has to give. It’s never the “same” thing either. Some weeks it’s my health or the house work, others it’s the social life or concentration at work, and others it’s the family that suffer my lapse in focus. Mostly it’s my sense of unbalance that gets the most attention, and sleep that gets the least. I never get enough of that (but seriously, who does. Is there such a thing?).
I’m feeling like I’m at a real cross-road with my career, and feeling that maybe it’s ok for me to properly step back for a few years and do something that can supplement my family life (rather than the other). Clichéd I know, but this article about Kate Ellis resonated with me. It is true – having kids certainly does change you and your priorities and in a way that is hard to talk about. I studied hard, and have worked hard to prove to myself (and others) that I am a very capable individual. I’ve always felt driven to achieve, so I’ll still work hard, contribute to my superannuation and I’ll still look to one day be successful in the professional arena but at the moment I need to he successful in parenting. The stakes are too high.
I sound like I’ve got it all figured out, don’t I?! I certainly do not and I will not be making any rash changes to life just yet. I may need to borrow your eyes (and ears) to come to terms with life for a while yet! I also need to mention that I’m pretty grateful to be in a position that enables me to reassess my life priorities.
[EDIT: this is just a random word vomit as I sit on the train coming home. It by no means summarises all my thoughts about working with a young family…the topic is so very complex and different for each person and family unit. These words are simply a reflection of my thoughts in the current moment.]