Skip to main content

When did having it all become doing it all?

Or being all things to all people…
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice:
“You can’t have it all at once. Over my lifespan, I think I have had it all. But in different periods of time, things were rough.”
As a mother, a wife and a business woman, I have thought a great deal about this.    My article about #OutsideWork generated some personal mail that asked me, inter alia:
“What do I need to do to satisfy everybody that needs my full attention when I am with them?”  My children, my boss, my partner – they all need me to be the best that I can be, and I am barely keeping my head above water.”
“I don’t want to be selfish, but there is no time for me.”
And a poignant comment:
“This article made me remember that there must be time for “self” but I am not finding it.  I am mentally and emotionally exhausted and nobody seems to care”
There is no one answer.  It’s different for those in a committed partnership, compared to single parents and, without question, financial independence allows for more options, too.
So I looked back at the last few decades, and asked myself what I got right, and what I would change..
  •  Prioritise
  • Simplify
Neither you, your partner, nor your children can have it all and do it all, and stay sane.
So I would sit down and discuss the end goals with my husband and children, and then create a daily strategy that is moving in that direction, accepting that life happens and any targets will move.
  • Today’s enthusiastic guitarist will be tomorrow’s passionate horse rider
I would definitely accept that there were negotiables and non negotiables with all the things we were trying to fit in a day.
I would listen more to what my children wanted to do after school and what they needed to do.
I would ask my children which are their favourite activities -  soccer, rugby, squash, art, chess, piano, dance or swimming?   I am pretty sure they did some things just because I was over compensating for being a working mother.
Meals were draining, too.   I thought I had to force feed vegetables to my reluctant son.  I have a particularly horrifying story about courgettes, a carpet and a vacuum cleaner!   In desperation, I went to my wonderful GP and he asked me which vegetable my son ate without fuss.   “Peas” I responded.   “Let him eat peas”, he said.   We all ate a lot of peas.
When he went to university, I took him shopping for groceries.  He put broccoli and cauliflower into the trolley and I had to be lifted off the floor.
Working mothers do have a lot on their plates, no question.   Some of the stuff can be redistributed, but we feel guilty.  We constantly compare ourselves to other people, and find ourselves wanting, not realising that even those with the calmest exteriors are struggling with the sheer volume of things to do.
What else did I do and would I do now?
  • Lift clubs – the lift club ladies are still among my dearest friends
  • Au Pair – if it fits into your budget, it can make a real difference
  • WhatsApp Groups – they can lift your spirits, and help organise your life
  • Uber – sometimes it is the only option – a last minute meeting or a deadline that has moved up and all the support systems are unavailable...
 It is also true that a supportive partner makes all the difference, I have been blessed with one.   It's always important to remember that many fathers face similar challenges.
Looking back we made a lot of mistakes, just ask my daughter, the self-designated crash test dummy.  She maintains we practiced parenthood on her, and then did it all correctly with her brother.   Needless to say, he doesn’t agree… 
No second chances, though.  
So as a closing thought, if I could go back 30 years, I would find a whole group of working mother role models, across the age groups, form a support group, and get loads and loads of practical advice.  

Links, References and Notes
Accsys provides people management solutions ie Payroll, Human Resources (HR), Time and Attendance as well as Access Control/Visitor Management.
The company develops, implements, trains and services our solutions.  We provide readers, turnstiles, booms and CCTV.
We run both on premise and in the cloud, as well as mobile options for ESS.  Recruitment, online education and Outsourcing are part of our offering, too.
twitter:   @TerylSchroenn
Note:   Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source.

Popular posts from this blog

It's Not My Job

It’s Not My Job
Assuming that there are reasons for saying this: 1.It’s not your job and is totally is outside of your skill set 2.It’s not in your KPIs and you don’t want to do it 3.You believe you are being exploited and want to draw a line as to what you will and won’t do. Outside your skill set This is reasonable and there could be many scenarios where this is appropriate
·Where there is a safety or special licence requirement to do the job eg driving a forklift truck
·Where there is a formal qualification like giving legal advice
·Where additional qualifications are required as in a medical doctor without surgical qualifications or experience

Not in my KPIs This response could be perceived as a lot more negative, not to mention career limiting. If there is a good reason why you can’t step outside your pure job description, share that immediately.  ·“I would love to be able to help, however, I need to complete this project by 5 pm today and I am out of the office all day tomorrow at our larg…

It's Not Your Fault, But..

It’s Not Your Fault, But…
Its’s not mine, either. When something goes wrong, whether at work or home, most people immediately start casting around for somebody to blame. Over the weekend, I was reading and drinking a cup of coffee which was perched on the arm of the couch.  I do this daily, and have never spilled it.   My daughter came into the room, I put my reader down next to me and we started chatting.  A little later, I picked the reader up, turned to my coffee, and knocked it over.  Something in my expression caused her to ask whether it was her fault.  Of course, it wasn’t, but a mean, small part of me was thinking, well, no, but if you hadn’t come in the room…  And she was kind enough to help me clear it up!
If that lamp post wasn’t there If that faster person wasn’t in the race If the traffic light hadn’t turned red at just that moment If we hadn’t hired Joe, I would have got the promotion If, if, if….. We are very quick to accept the “if” when it is about us, and much slower to do so…

Why Employees Stay

Are your employees staying because of their managers? Popular thought indicates that people leave because of their managers, so is the opposite also true?
Added to that is the view that it is always the good people who leave.
Fortunately, that is not a view, not a fact!
Great people stay. The challenge is to understand both why people stay and why they leave.
As in sales, management ask sales people to find out why they lost a deal. It is even more important to find out why a deal was won.
At Accsys, we realised years ago that we were finding out what individual’s issues were after they had resigned and moved on mentally. We designed a system that allows us to understand our employees’ expectations on a regular basis, not just at increase time, as well as share our expectations with them.
Nothing works all the time, but it has given us much more insight and created a positive manager/employee relationship model.
So why do people stay? Today, many of us have good social media presences and…