by Scarlett Sykes
I hold up my hands and say I truly could not be a stay-at-home mum. Truly. I have so much respect and admiration for the mums and dads that do it alone (for the most part) day in, day out, but that just isn’t me and I really think I’m a better mum when I’m a working one. But, when the balance of the two tips a little further on the working scale when do we say ‘enough is enough’?
If you ask me, I probably won’t ever say that. I love working. I want my (three) kids to see that mummy can do both and that working shouldn’t be seen as something that takes away from being their mum. I want them to grow up ambitious and driven to do what they love and for them to see that should they decide to be a mum, they can have both. I am one of the ‘luckier’ ones as I have flexibility with my job, which is never questioned. I work full-time but I do that from various places across Dubai depending on meetings, events or children-related activities, and that is certainly something I don’t take for granted.
Getting the balance between work, home, and social life (or lack of) is just that, a balance. Often one takes precedence over the other which then leads to the guilt that you are either doing a rubbish job, neglecting your children, or telling your friends ‘I’ll join next time for sure’…but will you though?
I have recently tried to make a conscious effort to make sure I am at least attempting to get some kind of balance. I have stopped saying I will go to every event and started saying I will go to more with the kids but I’m also not afraid to say that I enjoy putting my work first too. Mostly because it means I get to be ‘me’, not the person changing a nappy or finding a snack, which is never the ‘right’ snack. I get to talk to people with and without kids about normal adult stuff, I get to go for drinks, and I just get to not think about having to do bath time sometimes, which makes a nice change.
One thing I do think is very important is watching out for signs that you might be burning the candle at both ends and need to take a moment to re-evaluate what really needs your time and where you can possibly take a small step back. You don’t have to say yes to every social occasion resulting in you being out a lot, not getting as much sleep, and waking up even more exhausted. You don’t have to say yes to every children’s party your child is invited to (which is a lot if you have more than one child) just because you're afraid you will be labeled a ‘bad mum’ for not attending and you certainly don’t have to say yes to every work project because you feel that is the only way you really have the ‘balance’.
If I was asked for one piece of advice it would be to lower your expectations, laugh, be present when you need to be, and enjoy the little moments.