I am currently on a business trip in Abu Dhabi. I am surrounded by a group of sixteen fun and motivated individuals which is making the trip even better. Talking over lunch and dinner we try not to talk too much about work and instead focus on more casual conversations. Naturally, it didn't take long before feelings of 'guilt' came up and how much pressure we put on ourselves to achieve. In today's world, we put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to be better. Better business people, better parents, better in life. But what is better and what does better look like? There is nothing wrong with us wanting to better ourselves, absolutely, but if the mindset is switched too high in an aim to get things 100% right, then we should be honest in knowing that is unrealisti.
Being away from home makes me realise that we are all in the same boat. We are all working hard to achieve similar things. We talk about how we are juggling many various daily tasks, whilst working hard to maintain a happy and grounded household. Answering phone calls from teenage children saying 'what time are you home from work' and other questions like 'why aren't you around to pick me up from school. It's not fair'.
So if we are all striving to achieve the perfect balance of work and home life, the question is, does that even exists? Am I damaging my relationship with my children by not being around enough? I don't think so. In fact, in recent Harvard study, they found that the daughters of working mothers go on to have more successful careers and more equal relationships.
Stay at home mums are pulling their hair out because being with the kids all day is thoroughly exhausting and leaves little energy left for unloading the washing machine. They might feel guilty about not contributing enough financially but they are contributing in other ways they want to ensure are recognised. That question of 'ok you have the kids, but really, what do you do all day?'. I warn people not to ask this. That mother may just rugby tackle you to the ground.
Part time mums. Juggling both isn't easy but it works well. It's a smart way of how you can keep one foot in the playground and one in the office. Although, some may secretly worry about failing to keep up with either of them.
Telephoning my children last night before we headed out for dinner, hearing about their day at school and how my daughter had lost her front tooth. This was big news . I had a huge lump in my throat. The sounds of their voices is just like strawberry jam to me - all sweet and gooey. I pull myself together and tell the voice in my head that I will be home soon and to focus on enjoying the moment.
Often, we are all just fumbling along - winging it. Remembering tasks at work but forgetting things for the kids. Remembering my daughters Taekwondo kit on a Friday is a major achievement (high five). Being class rep sounds hilarious to me. I'm not sure I make very efficient class rep as I can barely remember things myself. I'm so pleased my daughter thinks I'm a great mum, because sometimes I just don't feel it at all. But then again, she doesn't know I turned up for parents consultation evening on the wrong night and then had to pretend I just popped in to look at my child's artwork on the wall. Wait five minutes - then leave. How embarrassing...but that's ok.
Still striving to be a perfect mother? Personally, I am just going to shake off the shackles of perfect parenting and focus on the important stuff, like enjoying my little munchkins.