Trying to Mix Motherhood and Business – The Juggle Is Real! by Megan Harbrow at @fromkayleytoparker
Welcome to motherhood – the ‘hood where you’re less about gangster rap and more about getting your child to have one heck of a gangster nap, so you can “rest” (read: do ALL the things).
Becoming a mum a little over two years ago changed my view of the world completely. I began to think bigger picture – what kind of example did I want to set for my little guy, what kind of world did I want him to grow up in, and what kind of people did I want him surrounded by. Most of all though, I began to seriously think about what kind of mum I wanted to be.
I have always been a yes person – a people pleaser, not wanting to disappoint anyone or let anyone down. Over the years this made me a generally compliant child, a good employee, a good girlfriend/partner, but it has also meant I had lost a little of myself.
I went to pretty much everything I was invited to, regardless of whether I actually wanted to go or even felt like it. I worked extra shifts, I took on others work as well as my own, I even went three months being on-call 24/7, effectively working in some context every day for 3 straight months. Nothing changed… until I became a mum.
Funnily enough it took becoming responsible for someone else’s health and well-being for me to give a stuff about my own. Health-wise I was okay, a little tired and run-down, but okay. Mentally though I was less than myself. I felt anxious, overly concerned with what people would think if I dared to say no to an invite or request. I had to learn to embrace the option of saying no, and it has lead to a much calmer and more peaceful life for my little family. Why don’t you try it?
The Juggle is Real
Got an invite to that farewell for the colleague you don’t particularly give two hoots about anyway? Say no!
Have 25 things on your to-do list for the weekend then get asked to ‘pop in’ to your parents/in laws for lunch? Say no!
The first couple are hard, but once you get the hang of it you will be throwing out no’s like confetti.
Now before you stop reading and label me as an anti-hermit or family-hater let me first explain. The notion of ‘no’ does not come from a mean or insincere place, it comes from a place of self-preservation. The fact is that life does change once you become a parent. Yes you, of course, incorporate your child into your existing life, but it becomes a lot less practical to spread yourself so thin across the needs of others when you have a perfect little someone who needs you so very much, particularly in the first few years.
And a word of advice: they need you at your best. Heard the saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’? It’s one of my faves (though admittedly one I sometimes forget myself).
You are of no use to your beautiful little family if you are so weighed down with the expectation of others and the obligations that you burden yourself with. Let that shit go Mumma! The last thing you need is to worry about what everyone else thinks.
From the day that beautiful little bundle of joy enters the world, you will be tested. A billion people will want to visit you at the hospital, or the minute you get home. Kindly send out a text message, or pop up a Facebook post, heck hire a sign writer if you must, and simply say ‘thank you for the love and well wishes, we will be in touch once we are ready for visitors’.
You cannot ever get back those early days hunkered down with your new little bundle of joy and partner, don’t spend them sitting before a stream of well-meaning visitors whilst all you can think of is how much your boobs are aching, how much sleep you didn’t get last night, and DEAL LORD what is that random substance in my hair?!
“…those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” – that Dr Seuss guy was really onto something, am I right?!
If you’re returning to work, the power of saying no becomes even more important. I am very fortunate to have an employer who has an actual flexible work policy in place – one that gets used, not just trotted out in the recruitment phase and then tucked away never to be seen again. I have coordinators who appreciate that I have a whole other life outside of work, and I have a strong female leader who is a mother herself who ‘gets it’.
I appreciate not everyone reading this is in the same boat, but the underlying principle is the same: you are employed to do a job. DO your job. If you wish to do anything above and beyond that, all the more power to you. But if you choose not to that’s okay too, because once you punch that clock at knock-off time you head off to your other ‘job’. Your other job has ups and downs too, good days and bad. The pay is pretty decent though, and if you’re REALLY lucky you will get the added bonus of an “I love you Mum” before your working day is done.
Maybe you can do it all.
Maybe you have epic juggling skills and can astound people with how much you fit into one day.
But maybe you can’t, or you don’t want to.
Know that whatever you choose is okay. This is your life, and you only get one shot at it. Don’t wipe yourself out trying to be everything for everyone else.
The juggle is real Mumma, only take on as many balls as you can handle.
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