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

Resignation - keep building relationships

Resignation – avoid burning those bridges It has been a great pleasure working with a colleague like you. Now, you are off to your next big challenge! Good luck and farewell!
Isn’t that what we all want to hear when we leave?  We were appreciated and we will be missed.
The need for all parties to maintain professional conduct in the event of resignation is critical, particularly now when we are working within an unsettled socio-economic climate. Employees should avoid damaging relationships, and employers need to adopt a neutral approach and ensure that there are policies and processes that enable the separation to be objectively handled.  For example: ·A formal resignation letter is required·A formal acceptance of resignation is issued confirming any special conditions·An exit interview takes place·Handovers are planned and executed
Our HR team advise those who resign their position to adhere to a few golden rules. Failure to do so could harm whatever bonds have been formed at the workpla…

Favourite Words

Shambolic – it simply sounds better to me than chaotic.. Do lots of people have favourite words or just a few of us nerds? As everybody is starting to think holidays (or maybe you prefer to vacation), it seemed a good time for a different type of blog. Have you noticed how many words with pleasant associations sound more attractive than those that describe the negative. Watching a TV quiz show the other night made me wonder. The contestant hated bulbous and gusset! There have always been some words that appeal to me, triskaidekaphobia being one. I now know that I had the meaning wrong! I thought it meant fear of Friday the 13th, but it is simply a fear of the number 13, so how does paraskevidekatriaphobia grab you? That is the real word for fear of Friday the 13th. Love it! Now I prefer rural to bucolic, but Robert Beard (see below) selected the latter as one of his favourites. Effervescent is a gorgeous word, so descriptive and onomatopoeic while ethereal makes me think of gossamer and fairie…

What I learned from the snake queue...

The lesson of the snake queue
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it or Leave well enough alone.  But do we?  Oh no, we are always trying to improve on things, no matter how well they work.
Progress does come from constant improvement, but it needs to be an improvement!
Hence the lesson of the snake queue… I know that life isn’t always fair, I also don’t believe that everything happens for a reason (see below). However, the advent of the snake queue made me feel so happy.  I knew that, once I was in it, I would get served next.  I didn’t have to decide which shopping trolleys in front of me had more items, and pick a line accordingly, I simply joined at the rear and waited my turn. Those stores who have duplicate snakes facing each other do add a small element of stress in terms of which one to select, but I cope quite well with this one if I have my Kindle…. The same at airports, pharmacies and banks, such a fair system. Then, a colleague and I went to the USA and arrived at Washington Airport with…