Stop Trying to “have it all”

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Choosing between being a full-time mum or pursuing a career…

This has got to be the number one source of mum guilt today, right?

If you work, you beat yourself up for not spending enough time with your babies. Become a full-time mum and you beat yourself up for not fulfilling your potential or contributing an income to your household. For most of us, there isn’t even a choice. The overwhelming cost of living nowadays means the single income household is largely a thing of the past.

When I became a parent, I thought the solution would be to find a career that “worked around being a mum”. I wanted to start a company, invent a product or create content that was parenting-related, enabling me to look after my babies and run my empire from home.

Hahahahaha… good one past me.

Whilst this did bring a lot of advantages, as it became more and more of a full time job it brought a whole host of new challenges too…

  • Immense difficulty separating work & home life
  • Struggling to focus on any one thing
  • Confusion for Lula about why she has to leave me alone for parts of the day
  • Loneliness from only ever being in the house
  • Relationship tensions, from spending all day cooped up together (my partner works from home too)
  • Daily guilt trips for “using” my daughter to help my career (even though she loves it)
  • Struggling to fully commit to anything Lula wants to do, as my head is always in work

Whatever path we choose as mums, it always seems to be wracked with guilt.

I see posts from life coaches (and network marketers) telling us we can “have it all” – all we need to do is find the right balance. But I think it’s this very phrase – “having it all” – that’s at the centre of the problem.

Giving mums the expectation that by simply “finding the right balance” they will magically feel 100% fulfilled as both a mother and a career woman leaves most of us feeling like we must be doing it wrong.

Whatever balance we strike, we always feel some guilt about the things we’ve had to sacrifice, so we assume we must have failed.

Instead, I think we need to get comfortable with compromise and fully embrace whichever choices we make. The feeling of guilt comes from imagining whatever you’re doing is the wrong choice. So if we mentally commit to the choices we have made, we can help to alleviate the guilt.

The mum who reluctantly goes to work and spends all her time thinking about how she’s abandoned her kids is not getting the best out of either reality.

The mum who reluctantly stays at home and spends all her time thinking about how she’s given up on her career and isn’t contributing to the household isn’t getting the best out of life either.

The mum who does a bit of both but never really feels like she’s doing her best at either, is unhappy too.

So rather than obsessing about the “balance”, let’s try altering our mindset.

When you’re working – work. Give it your all. Tell yourself you have made the right choice to be there and give it your full effort and attention.

When you’re parenting – parent. Tell yourself that you have made the right choice to be there and give your child your full attention.

Every parent’s journey comes with some sacrifice and the sooner we accept those sacrifices as inevitable, the sooner we can stop feeling resentful about them.

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