I have been aiming to write a constructive post about this for a while. Here it goes, please let me know your thoughts by writing in the ‘comment’ box.
When I married I was adamant not to forget about myself and all the things I liked prior to marriage…. This strategy faded once I started having the children.
My children means the world to me; who knows me can testify this am sure!
I was in front of my children’ primary school gate the other day when I was greeted by one my son’s friend’s mother. Yes, she looked a bit ‘all over the place’ but I don’t usually notice it as I am always busy trying to give attention to my children before dropping them and head off to work.
The lady came to me and said ‘wow, you don’t look like a mother, neither a mother of 4’!
Then I walked to the train station thinking about her comment…. Why? Why when women have children they have to forget about their self-care, the things they like etc….is it part of being the perfect parent?
Are the perfect mothers those who live and breathe their children’s breath? Do mothers need to live for their children until the children are older enough to leave the nest? Why can’t mothers take time to do their nails, their hair, go to the gym, etc?? Is this part of people’s core beliefs or perhaps embedded in the Irish/English culture? Am I less of a mother if I work fulltime? What about if for an eventuality I cannot attend my children’s school concert or any other activity? Am I then a bad mother?
What does a good mother encompass? Let me share my personal story with you….
I was in a middle of a professional crises last year… working for a global function within the second major bank in a regulatory project rule covering 73 countries. I had a selfish, childless and cold boss.
In October last year I cracked and ended up in hospital for 3 weeks then off work. In hospital I had the opportunity to rethink my life and reconsider my options. I was given a book called Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds. This book changed my life.
Carmine, the author, sets a question at the beginning of the book to get the reader in the mood. “What makes your heart sing?” What he meant is what’s your passion? I learnt I was prioritising the wrong priority. I had forgotten what I really like and what gave the most pleasure in life and devoted to much time trying to fix the unfixable.
Fast forwarding the story at beginning of 2015 I decided that from now on I would review my priorities as a mother, as a professional also as a person.
My heart sings when I see the happiness in my children’ faces when I collect them in school, when we go on holiday and I get to have such a great quality life with them (never take it for granted anymore), when they tell me how much I changed to the better giving them more attention…. My heart sings for nutrition, wellbeing and childhood cancer research. It also sings for taking time off from it all every now and then when possible – being myself.
No, I cannot change my career…too late for that! But I can utilise some of my energy in blogging, planning a book, supporting charity, teaching my children nutrition, reading the authors I love, cooking and putting in practice my reading, lecturing in schools…. There are many ways I can fulfill this gap and get my ‘heart singing’.
As of changes, I am now working in a total different environment, different company, and getting my heart singing in my spare time.
Also I discovered that I was not being a good wife. I was always complaining, bringing home my insecurities and sadness; daily. In order to address this my husband and I try to take short breaks where possible and get the nanny to take over our responsibilities for the weekend. Is that being a bad mother?
Greek island here I come tomorrow… and I can assure you that I don’t feel guilty in leaving my children in someone’s care because being myself is also part of my many responsibilities I have including being the best mother I can be.
Be strong, be yourself and be happy xx