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*This is a guest post from Liberty over at Liberty on the Lighter Side
Can a woman have it all?
I don’t believe so. Assuming that is, that HAVING IT ALL means to have a successful career while simultaneously raising your children, with no other child care (no crèche, no nanny, no au pair, no granny). There simply isn’t enough time in the day! You can ask any new mum and they will not remember when the last time was that they shaved their legs or had a shower or drank a cup of tea while it was hot. There’s just no time for little luxuries like those. Let alone a booming successful business!
I was one of those Mums who decided that I’d give up my full time career and stay at home to raise my babies (all four of them). My ambition – inappropriately – was to freelance while breastfeeding. Well I did, sort of. When my eldest was six weeks old I had her across my lap while I sat in front of the computer at home working on a layout for a book – with one arm.
However, as time went on and my brood multiplied, time shrank accordingly. Now I have watched most of my class mates from school and university, who took maternity leave and went back to work. going on to do so well and in comparison, at times, I felt like a second rate citizen. They lived in the fast lane, dressed to kill, making big deals and raking in piles of lucre while I pottered about driving my kids from A to B, dressed a bit like road kill, cooking big meals and cleaning huge piles of laundry.
I don’t regret that I have spent this time with my kids, I know it is a season that passes. We had to make financial sacrifices for me to NOT work but I don’t believe you can put a price on seeing your children’s firsts, firsthand. It was me who saw their first steps, heard their first little jokes, had my hand held and my lap sat upon, without fail.
Now they are all growing up, my eldest is nearly 16, my youngest just turned 9, they don’t need me as much anymore. They are not taking up my time because they are able to do almost all things for themselves. I don’t want to spend all this extra time in my days continuing to potter about, cleaning the skirting boards for another go because I have nothing better to do.
But my past career has moved on, I’m in my forties looking for a position filled by 20 somethings – my CV is the avocado green of bathrooms. This is where the crisis can come for many women – what’s next?
Fortunately for me I discovered blogging, which has opened up some exciting avenues and possibilities for a new career. I have discovered that I’m not too old to learn a new career and that I have a wealth of experience to write about! The other thing I have discovered is the lost art of being content – of living in the moment and appreciating it.
Well actually, to be brutally honest, I discover contentment for about half an hour. Then I get all antsy and start bustling around picking up piles of laundry, checking emails, cooking dinner, writing another blog post, dropping my kids at ballet/cricket, checking social media, wiping dog snot off the windows and melted chocolate off the stove top.
It’s busy now but I wouldn’t change it because I am surrounded by the busyness of life. I have a store house of my children’s growing-up memories and photos. I could attend all their little day time sports events and recitals; I am there for them when they need me to stay home off sick from school. I know I did what I felt was right for our family and I have no regrets about the most important things in life – I have a sneaking suspicion that I really do have it ALL, in basket loads, after all.
Liberty lives in Ireland although she was born in the UK and spent her growing-up years in South Africa. She’s a wife, mum of two teens and two teens-in-training, writer, women’s ministry worker and graphic designer. Her writing resonates with other parents because she talks honestly about her faults while looking on the funny side.
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