How do you do it?
Do you find you’re asked that a lot too?
As in how do you work and raise a young family? The context being you’re some kind of superwoman or something?!
It’s a strange question really and one I’m certain men are rarely asked, however hands on they are.
How do you work and run a young family as a father?
How do you meet deadlines and raise kids?
Said no one to a man ever (probably).
Let’s face it, the assumption (and often the reality) remains that the family domain is primarily the mother’s responsibility so undoubtedly, it’s a common question or remark, yet it infers someone or something must be lacking or missing out as you, the woman, goes out to work.
Not to mention being unfair on Stay at Home Dads.
When we get to the crux of it, the context of the questioning is pretty anti-feminist and shoddy really (society/media’s fault and the inequality of the workforce for mothers are to blame rather than the enquirer)…
And I don’t blame those asking because the juggle is hard and it’s mostly kind enquiries meant in a flattering way, yet like many, MANY other women out there, day in, day out, we simply just get on with things. We bring home the bacon along with our partners (or not for some) while raising well rounded children whom we love more than anything.
Look, I know who I am- I have CRAZY energy levels like my parents still possess, I write prolifically and I can juggle like a mama ninja or a mum boss or not a superhero at all, just a woman who wants to work who also happens to have kids.
I’m a go-getter, a plate spinner, a mother and a shaker, a hustler baby, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE WHAT I DO!
I’m a full time, award nominated blogger and mum of two boys, Oliver, nearly, 5 and Alexander 2. Life is busy, fun and varied, sometimes stressful but NEVER boring.
My boys couldn’t be more loved, I have a husband who raises my kids equally with me and a family close by-my Mum and Dad who help me hugely and my eldest is in school.
Most of all I NEED and WANT to work. It makes me happy, stimulated and fulfilled.
I was a busy TV and film director pre-kids and I felt (ironically) direction-less and lost when I was on maternity leave with my first…I wanted to use my brain and feel like me again but wasn’t ready physically or emotionally to get back to filmmaking.
I grew up with parents who worked tremendously hard to give us a fantastic start in life-my Mum, a former University lecturer and my father, a businessman who met at university, set up their now, group of award winning restaurants when I was two and the importance of academia and hard work was drummed into me from a young age.
This does not mean I judge SAHM’s, in fact they have my up-most respect. I know theirs is the hardest job of all. Truly.
Some of my best friends are SAHM’s so I’m familiar with both sides and they too know that being a full time mum just isn’t for me. It doesn’t make me happy. I live for my kids and I do what I do for them as much as myself but I certainly don’t feel guilty about following my dreams.
Happy parents equals happy kids.
We have so much quality time and working from home means when my Mum is here looking after Alexander (or a lady who helps me- Beverly who comes 3 mornings a week), I see him more than I would out in an office and what’s more, my kitchen office is a child-friendly open environment.
What I love about professional blogging in particular is it allows me to run my blogs as magazines, earn the same living as I made as a director (without 12 hour days on set) and yet still pick my kids up from school, have dinner together as a family and do bedtime with my husband.
My kids also get incredible perks from my job, staying at 5 * hotels, clothes in return for reviews, days out at child theme parks (picture taken at Diggerland yesterday) and eating free at some of the finest and most child-friendly restaurants the UK has to offer.
Yes I have to catch up on work on an evening but from 9pm all digital devices bar Netflix are switched off and Peter and I set about binging on Suits until midnight.
Our imperfect lives are pretty perfect from where I’m standing, make that lounging on a sofa drooling over Harvey Spector (kidding Pete)!
Yes some days I fail at child-rearing- and my job, I forgot Harvest Assembly which made me a little sad the other week, I got ‘fancy dress day’ mixed up and my kid nearly turned up to school as Batman (swiftly prevented when we clocked the neighbouring children in their school uniform)… And yes I’ve had to work till the early hours a few times over the last few months to make deadlines but on the whole, we’re one happy, very LOUD, little family.
I suppose work/family life is really down to two things: compromise and balance and that means understanding that sometimes you have to compromise on the balance bit!
I think the key is finding what works for you and your family. To try your best not judge, to support one another, and to realise that having it all means not having everything all of the time.
Most parents just ‘do it’ because we learn to get on with it, we get used to the endless juggle because whether you work or not, that’s what parenthood is, a never ending ball juggling ‘when is it wine o’clock’, game with high odds and great loves and never enough sleep (or wine)… and when it comes down to it, we’re all just simply, trying our best.
So how do you do it?
Would love to hear your thoughts…
Linking up to Mama and More‘s All About You.