A Super Mum’s Juggling Act!
As a working mother, I know that we can't 'have it all' – and there's nothing wrong with that.
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a dancer, an actress or a Forensic Scientist. I would have two children (one boy and one girl), live in a reasonably luxurious house with a successful husband. My constraints may have been skewed but the adult world was my oyster.
Fast-forward forty years and the reality is somewhat unrecognisable from my expectation. I thought I could be anything I wanted, juggle work and parenting and be the most attentive wife possible whilst building a tidy nest egg.
Sometimes I laugh at how misguided I was – sometimes I want to cry.
When I became a mother, I didn’t just give birth to a child, but to a whole world of guilt, self-doubt and sacrifice. Don’t get me wrong, my children have coloured my world in every hue of joy and unconditional love, but it has doubtless come at a cost.
Sadly there is a common uncomfortable thread that ties at least most mums together. They feel torn, think they’re getting motherhood wrong somehow and feel like they’re doing a disservice to their career, their children, their partners or all of them.
Whether it’s a juggling act trying not to drop any balls or a tug of war being pulled in different directions, motherhood certainly feels like one crazy circus act.
My first child was born with health issues therefore we spent five and half weeks in hospital trying to get him to a stable position in which we could take him home and start our new life together only to find out later that we had years of hospital visits with various consultants and tests and treatments that my first born would need to go through. This was a stressful, tiring and worrying period of our lives where we realised parenting wasn’t going to be easy.
I would have loved to have had the luxury of being a stay at home mum and really be there 100% of the time for my children and family however life had something else in store for me.
Perhaps the harshest lesson I learnt as I clawed my way back onto the career ladder was that mothers cannot have it all. We all endeavour to be good parents. The bottom line is, we want the very best for our children. But what exactly is the test for this and how we strike a balance between all the conflicting demands in our life is quite the conundrum.
My job as a full time Teacher seemed to have taken over my life, I seemed to spend more time for 30 students then I did my own – which left me feeling guilty and a bad mum, as most of the time I was overworked, stressed and ratty.
To relieve some of the tension I started taking some time out for myself and started a fitness class (Bhangrablaze) that involved a variety of dance moves however in a workout format, which I found completely invigorating and stress relieving. I started going regularly and before you know it I was hooked/completely addicted. The founder of this company use to say become an instructor but I use to always say – No, my excuse being I don’t have the time, my life is too busy, my children have too many clubs, my job is too demanding and so on the list was endless.
My love for Bhangrablaze continued and grew and a few months down the line I took the plunge and became an instructor. It’s been almost a year since I started – It hasn’t been a smooth ride but I have stuck to it as it was a dream that I wanted to be a dancer and this is fulfilling that dream, so I will continue to try my best to make it successful. Alongside this I have started smaller projects which involve work with young children and include art, drama and dancing.
So as if my life wasn’t too hectic, I kept on adding more and more onto my hands and it became a juggling act!
My children are my number one priority and to ensure I do my best for them I try my best to give them experiences I can afford to and prepare them with life skills that they can live and lead successful life in the future.
I'm not a super mum for having a demanding job, extra-curricular activities, a social life and two demanding children. I just do all tasks less than perfectly and hope for the best.
I'm often told that this is modern motherhood; that women of today are under greater pressure than ever to contribute financially whilst ensuring their children are not only fed and watered but socially fulfilled and thriving academically and personally.
Except as I stare in the face of the endless to-do list all it does is make me feel inadequate. If I don’t do extra maths with my children, enrol them in three varied after-school activities and read with them at least once a week, it will be my fault entirely if they don’t do well in life. If I don’t go for all the work that comes my way I will be losing the chance to improve our financial situation, if I don’t make time for my mum – I feel guilty that I cannot repay all that she has done for me, if I don’t make time for my friends they will get upset with me. I am pulled in so many directions, it’s unbelievable and somewhere in there I'm supposed to look after me. That is the funny part.
So I decided, to keep sane I have to let go of things, find easier ways to get the job done, house work isn’t on top of my priority list and sometimes I have to learn to say ‘No!’ I am still learning to change my lifestyle to benefit my health, I have yet to master that I am the most important being and need to look after myself as if I don’t then the whole foundation that the dreams are built on will collapse but I will keep living my dreams. My dreams are to dance and keep fit and to spread the love through Bhangrablaze!
Maybe it is a bitter pill to swallow accepting that mothers cannot have it all, but maybe it's also our saving grace. Trying to be everything to everybody is a recipe for disaster which will leave everyone vying for a piece of me feeling decidedly short-changed.
So, mothers everywhere, I urge you to take stock, quit setting yourself up for a fall, prioritise and enjoy the ride. Life is too short, so be kinder to yourself.
I don't believe that mothers can do everything, but I do believe that they can do anything.