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

Salespeople - Just Answer the Question.

How we love to elaborate…     Both in our personal and business lives.   It is rare to find somebody who simply answers the question.
In sales, it is becoming more and more critical to just say yes or no.   If you want to embroider afterwards, by all means, but tell the client you can or you can’t do it, first.

That’s what they remember, the yes or the no. Being married to an engineer, I have learnt that if I don’t answer the question, he simply repeats it, until he gets a definitive answer..
As the above is extremely bad for marital relationships, I try to say yes or no first and then give the details.

I thought it was just me, but I have been observing my friends and the people I work with, and it is fascinating how few one word answers are immediately available. When you are selling and a client asks you:
If the widget turns blue in the dark, say yes if it does, then ask if that is a key part of the decision making processIf they ask when you can deliver, give them a…

Hi, 22 year old me..

If I were 22 May is my birthday month, so a time for celebrations and introspection. In interviews, I often ask our applicants to pretend they are 60, and look back on their careers.   Their dreams range from leaving a legacy to being able to retire by the age of 45. At 22, I had taken my first steps on the career ladder.   I had been promoted from being a PA and Installation Secretary (setting up PoS installations for NCR’s large retailers) to becoming a full time programmer. I had made some extremely poor academic decisions, and realised I had to make some very good career choices.   Software development was a relatively new field when I was in my early 20s, and it became an exciting and fulfilling career. Based on my history what advice would I give myself or a new graduate? It doesn’t matter what you have studied, or what your first job is. Keep looking for your passion, find what makes you happy. If it’s money, and you don’t mind being a little unchallenged, as long as there is eno…

3 things to do BEFORE you resign

or sign a new contract…
1.Confirm your notice period ·A lot of companies allow 30 days from date of resignation, but many ask for a calendar month
2.Check your restraints ·If you are joining a competitor ·If you are joining a client
3.Find out when your last payment will be transferred ·Companies have been burned by paying over on the 25th, and people not returning, so they may delay payment transfer until the last official working day, or even the first day of the following month.  You may need to make special arrangements regarding debit orders ….
Both your current company and your new one deserve to be fairly treated.   Knowledge of the policies makes this possible.
Even if the policies don’t make sense to you, you agreed to them when you signed your contract.
HR managers will tell you how many great working relationships are damaged because people don’t follow policy when resigning. It’s worth taking the time for many good reasons.  Building a solid career can depend just as much on how you …