Working mums and the art of juggling
For many of us being working mums is a necessity, for others is a choice. Either ways, being working mums is not simple. As part of being working mums, you need to have excellent time management, a lot of energy, tons of patience, and being a bit indifferent to criticism. And love your kids and your job very very much.
The joys of motherhood
Motherhood comes with a great deal of joy and satisfaction, but also with a free guilty chip. Working mums often go back to work before the first year of their babies and many feel like bad mothers for missing out on their kids.
There are many women that are happy – and have the possibility – to put a temporary halt on their careers to focus on their family. But what if a woman wants it all? You become a working mum and a juggler and for so many, a bad mother as well.
Working mums are very often stigmatised and judged harshly, especially by other women.
I have recently spoken to one of our client and that was an eye opener for me. She has a highly rewarding job, a great income, but the workplace is extremely competitive and having a baby means practically the end of her career. She can either go back to work after just 3 months of maternity leave to keep up with what is going on, or be overlooked for a promotion. Her work starts at 7.30 am, and she covers a role where flexibility is not an option. That makes having a family or maintaining her work a very difficult choice for her.
Plus, there is a lot of peer pressure on working mums because the choice of being a working mum brings a lot of judgement. She told me that many of her colleagues believe that working mums are horrible mothers because they do not spend enough time with their kids.
Many hats, one person
But let’s be honest, being a mum is one of the many facets of a woman’s life and too many times we have to choose what to be because we feel we have to. But do we really have to?
As human beings, both women and men have the inner need of expressing themselves in all aspects of their lives. But whilst working mums wear many hats because of all the roles they need to play, a man does not need to face this choice because nobody expects dad to quit his job to stay home with the kids. And dad is also a very important figure in children’s life.
Now women are becoming aware of their potential not only as mums or wives, but as working mums – or entrepreneurs – as well. Women feel they have not only the right to have a career, but that they are also incredibly good at what they do because of all the hats they wear.
It is extremely challenging to be working mums. Working mums need to be great at being organised and multitask. Working mums are expert jugglers.
Practically if you do not have help from your parents, a nanny, or your husband, you are just wonder woman.
The quality of time
A photographer – who is also a working mum like me – asked other mums what would be the worst thing your kids could tell you about your parenting skills.
For me, it would be not having respected and supported my son as an individual. Many other mums replied by saying that the most horrible thing would be not having spent enough time with them instead.
Time is such a precious thing but I wonder how many of us make a good use of time. The concept of quality time is a profound one and it carries so much meaning.
I believe that many working mums listen to their little voice inside their heads accusing them of not spending enough time with their kids, but what kind of time we are talking about?
I spent my entire childhood with my parents because they were working from home, but they never had time for me. They were physically present but they were not there with me.
So to whom tries to make working mums feel guilty for their limited amount of time, I ask is it not the same when you have more than one child? Even if you are physically present for so many hours, is your attention on the child that really needs it? Have you ever wondered whether any of your children is going to feel neglected because one of your children needs more attention because of a physical or emotional defect that needs to be tended to?
So why working mums need to feel bad for choosing to wear more than the “traditional” hat?
Being a working mum pushes me in so many ways because it makes me more conscious of the quality of time I spend with my son and makes me feel a fulfilled person because I do what I love, both in life and business.
Is it hard? Of course it is, but I love it and as long as my son, my husband and I are all happy, it means that having a working mum in the family is the right thing for us.