Can we really have it all?
- By Sophie Taylor -
I was really lucky to be able to have almost a year off work when I had Harry and then return to my job on reduced hours (4 days a week). I couldn’t grumble at all, my boss was very supportive and I felt ready to get back into the world of work.
My biggest worry was how we would make it work with drop offs and pick ups and would we get to spend enough time with Harry, our now 18 month old. The first week was tough – I missed not seeing him all the time, but then I remembered that my poor hubby only had 2 weeks off with our boy for paternity leave and he was already used to only having quality time on evenings and weekends.
It got easier, we found our feet and between my husband and I, we managed to develop a bit of a routine. Ben would do drop off so I could leave a bit earlier to make sure I found a parking space and I would do pick-ups. Obviously that’s not a hard rule, we work it round our schedules to make sure Harry is dropped off and collected (grandparents 2 days and nursery the other 2 days). For instance, this week Ben is working away, so I will be doing drop off and pick up for two days.
Anyway, I digress...Even though our routine works for us, we both have busy jobs and bad habits started sneaking in; reading emails in the evenings, leaving later due to work commitments. It made me think, this is actually hard. I don’t think its helped that Harry hasn’t been himself and is fighting naps so often he is tired in the evenings and not at his best. It sometimes makes me feel that nursery and grandparents get the best of him and we get the toddler-come-teenager who has hit terrible twos at 18 months.
I was starting to doubt how possible it is to be both a career woman and a mother, the washing and ironing was piling up, the house was a disaster area and I had 25,000 emails in my Hotmail inbox.
And then I was contacted about a brand new job opportunity. An opportunity to take a big next step up the career ladder. It was a big confidence boost and made me believe I can do it. Yes the job means some travel and potentially more hours, but it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.
So I had a re-think. I stopped stressing about making lean in 15 meals every night, I cut myself some slack and started doing quick teas (aka beans on toast) a few nights a week. Ben makes the overnight oats and we both try and leave work on time when we can. When we get in at night, we get changed and start playtime – every toy is out and phones go away, it becomes family time.
Yes I’ve still got 13,000 emails in my Hotmail inbox, but this week I’ve played cars and fire engines every night.
I really do believe that if you want to, you can do both – you can have the career and the family, it’s hard and it’s busy and you do need to be organised. But those days where you have kicked butt at work all day and then your child runs to you when you collect them, giving you the biggest hug ever; those days make it all worthwhile.
So, in answer to my original question, “can we really have it all?”…I’m not sure (my dishes waiting by the sink and my 13,000 Hotmail emails tell me otherwise), but I’m going to try really hard to find out.
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