Perspective Is Everything
Mums will agree, the struggle is real. For me, it's the juggle struggle that's got me like a hamster on a wheel. Here's what I've realised..
If there's one thing that being a mum has made me realise, it's that finding some sort of balance between what makes me happy and stimulated as an individual and still allows me to be the best mum I can is a juggling act. Some days it's like being on an emotional rollercoaster, riding the ups and downs of what feels like an identity crisis - what you want to be verses what you need to be in this moment for your family.
I am naturally a pretty upbeat person, so I try to ride these times out not let it get to me. I generally like to see the good in people, find the silver lining in most situations and when I am feeling shitty, I grit my teeth and claw my way back out of my dark hole. I've always had a fierce determination - and it's something that I see in my son, Samson too.
But a few weeks ago, my Debbie Downer pants come out and stayed on for a bit longer than they should have! So what happened to mess up my mojo? Let me explain...
Firstly I love that being a full-time freelancer, gives me the flexibility to work from home, take on jobs as they come up and be around for morning cuddles, breakfast, daycare pickups, play dates and work on this website which I pour lots of love into!
When Samson was 5 months old, the same age Maia is now, I went straight back to full-time work, juggling a 4-day a week Fashion Director role on Bride To Be and also freelance jobs, while my hubby took paternity leave and stepped in for daddy daycare for the next three months. Sure it was full-on, I left the house before Samson was awake most days, pumped in the fashion cupboard on my lunch break and raced home just in time for bedtime kisses, but most days I actually loved being back at work. It gave me a sense of purpose and a guaranteed me a pay check at the end of the month - plus it gave me, "me" time! Yep, being back at work meant I was able to enjoy a hot coffee sitting at my desk reading over emails, and lunch hours were for runs or Xtend Barre workouts - guilt-free and without interruption!
But the second time round, managing two kids and a hubby in a demanding job, it's been a different scenario. I am fortunate enough to not have to go back to a full-time work and instead enjoy time with my children while freelancing full-time and creating content for See.Need.Want - my third baby! However the flip side to being a full-time freelancer is the quiet times! The times when you swear you can hear the crickets sing and you think to yourself am I ever going to work again? Or an I destined to a life in activewear hanging washing, ironing, cooking, constant tidying, endless washing up!?
The few weeks prior had been a bit on the quieter side, so when I was approached by a PR about a fantastic opportunity to come on board as a fashion expert for their major shopping centre client, I was thrilled. The job was to create content for their Christmas campaign, which would go out to their impressively large audience. The deadline was tight, but I could get it done, so I emailed back straight away asking for the budget or if I should send a quote. Then came the clincher - this was not a paid job, it would be for exposure. Needless to say I politely declined.
Now I know it should have been water off a duck's back, because I declined and rightly so. But really hankering to get back into a bit of work after a few quiet weeks, it really knocked me for six. How had my 15 years experience creating content in one form or another, been reduced to payment in exposure? Maybe I just needed to bite the bullet and start applying for jobs?
Relaying what had happened to my husband, I lamented that I felt like motherhood is like a choose your own adventure except sometimes it feels like the answer behind every door is “you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t”. He quickly put me in my place - he said you know what, many women would kill for what you have, to not have to go into the office and to have the flexibility to work or not. I said but I want to fee like I'm contributing - and he said you are, you are contributing to the house, keeping it running and to keeping our kids happy by spending time with them. He also reminded me to start asking for what I want - send emails, follow up job leads, and while I don't usually like to admit this, he was right. It gave me some food for thought and a whole lot of emails to write - which I did by the way!
The following day I woke with a new attitude. It was a Wednesday, a day I have both kids at home. So I got up early and sent off a bunch of emails touching base with clients and perspective clients, then got ready and vowed to keep my focus on the kids. Sammy is an active kids, so generally we like to get out of the house for a walk on the days we are all home. A proper speed demon, Sammy has taken to wanting to ride his balance bike everywhere, so at his request, we headed for Western Sydney Parklands so he could show me where he goes with his daddy. Scooting along, me running behind with Maia in the pram, I let Sammy lead the way. He took off up a dusty path I'd never travelled before. I tried to coerce him not to go that way - "there could be snakes!" I said. But he would not be swayed, he told me not to "freak out" there's no snakes! And so on we went until we came to the duck pond. Four years walking these tracks and I had never seen this duck pond! I turned to Sammy and said, "oh my goodness, how beautiful, I've never seen this duck pond!" And he turned to me and said, "isn't this a wonderful adventure, mummy”. I stopped in my tracks... From the mouth of babes. How right he was. This big responsibility called Motherhood, is a wonderful adventure, One that is blessed and definitely not damned. One that allows me to enjoy precious midday walks in the beautiful sunshine with Samson and Maia before they grow up, and the hustle and bustle of school and after school activities take hold!
Of course it doesn't mean that I don't have ambitions or yearn to take my career to the next level and to see my website grown into something even more successful, it just reminded me that at the moment it's ok for it to come second to my family. There will be good days and bad days, and while we can't always control our circumstances, we can control our attitude and our mindset. This perspective and new-found appreciation of what is actually important has actually helped me handle some tricky work situations that ordinarily would have rattled me, it's freed me from caring so much about what others might think of me and it has given me the courage to write this blog because really who cares if people want to make fun or judge - that's their problem not mine. I write these blogs because I hope that by sharing my experiences, and ups and downs on this journey called motherhood, that others will feel less alone on theirs. And sometimes choosing to walk the road less travelled is the best adventure of all.