Mommyhood – balancing both worlds
Balancing both worlds is challenging yet rewarding in the same breath. Being a mother, wife and career driven woman is hard. What is balance and how do we find that balance? I’m a mother of two lovely boys aged 8 and 2. I’m a wife to an amazing partner and dedicated, driven career woman. Striving to balance these worlds has always been a challenge for me. As Oprah Winfrey once said “You can have it all, just not at the same time”.
Being a mother has its own challenges but it is mostly fulfilling. It comes naturally to me. The unconditional love, nurturing, patience, tolerance and resources that you have to provide for the little ones. Yet, it becomes a challenge when you are stuck in traffic and you are not able to pick them up from after care in time. You end up being charged few rands for every 15 minutes they are there.
Then comes homework time where as a parent you must be devoted in assisting the child through it. It’s like your homework, as a parent you have to own it. Ensuring that the homework is completed according to the required standard. For needy children, having to attend those occupational therapy sessions every day which are normally during office hours. The horrible one is when your child is sick and you have to take family responsibility leave at work to take the child to the doctore. It becomes worse when the sickness occurs during night time where you have to get to the Hospital Emergency room and be there until the early hours of the morning while the doctors are monitoring your child.
On being a wife, I love it. It’s actually the one job I have always looked forward to. But oh boy… It’s hard. My husband loves a fresh home cooked meal, which means that I cook every day. However, we have made a compromise on getting takes-aways on Fridays and Saturdays. I also need to ensure that I attend to his needs, especially sexual needs and still be active while at it. Sometimes I’ve had a long day at work, the children have exhausted me but I can’t use that as an excuse for having a failed sexual life.
Women, especially those in corporate environments like myself feel pressured to climb the corporate ladder. Who wants to be at a lower level than what they could be in their career? When these women ask to work from home and ask to leave their offices early to be with the children, they are often judged. I remember there were days when I took work home for about a month or so. I neglected my kids and my husband. I was always moaning that I have a lot of work to do, yet I did nothing about it because I wanted to excel and succeed in my job. I also wanted recognition in the office. I take my work very seriously, so failure is not an option. I could sense that my husband was not happy, even though most of the time he said nothing. After all the work was done, I would feel guilty that I had to compromise happiness at home.
As I started feeling these frustrations on how to balance these worlds, I had to make a plan and find what will work for me. I had to prioritise and identify which one is important and why. To me, my family is important, so therefore they are number one on my list, followed by my work. I’ve discovered that it is important to ask for help when you need it. Our bosses are human too, they do experience these challenges. If you excel in your work, most companies will freely give you time off. Today, companies even have flexi-time policies where with certain situation you are allowed to work from home.
To ensure that your marriage life does not suffer, it is important to make your partner understand what your goals are and what that means for your family. He will understand. Make him involved in your career as well. Share responsibilities at home, like agreeing on who’s dropping and picking up the kids from school and when. Find a common ground and compromise. Don’t forget about your sexy lingerie. It works wonders. Make sure you go on date nights. Communicate, communicate and communicate even more.
For me, balancing both worlds has its challenges, however you need to strive to be better and make a difference in everything you do. Balancing is about being disciplined. Being able to prioritize your time, resources and energy. Ensure that when you are at work, you give 200% to the job at hand so that when you are home you are able to make time for the kids and hubby and still cook a happy meal for your family.
Someone once said “Character is the courage to do the right thing, when you could get away with doing the wrong thing”.
Tell us if you’ve been struggling with keeping the balance between family and work and if not how have you been ensuring that there is balance in your life? We would love to hear your views on the matter?
By Theo Tshanga