Yesterday I was helping my step dad with his granddaddy daycare duties. He now has two of his grandsons to look after on Tuesdays, all by himself. Both under 2 years old.
Like so many grandparents he’s helping his daughters out with childcare so they can go back to work and earn a living.
When I arrived yesterday morning he was run ragged and the house was upside down. There was Horrid Henry blaring out of the TV, two high chairs and a kitchen floor covered in food, a toddler throwing balls at the window and a crawling baby climbing up and falling off the furniture.
It was chaos.
I do wonder how people actually have more than one child. How is it even possible? When you start to become out numbered by your children surely that only leads to trouble.
I have one baby and quite frankly that’s a struggle. I’m now looking and observing these superhuman mums/parents who manage to have multiple children AND go to work and function normally in the world. In fact they’re not just functioning they’re killing it. It’s multi tasking on an incomprehensible level. I take my hat off to anyone who does it and appears to have to it all.
Now that Annie is six months old my thoughts are starting to think about work and earning a living and how I’ll manage to juggle family and work life. Millions of mums do it, but can you have it all? Or does something have to give?
As a single mum I come from it at a slightly different perspective because I’m the sole breadwinner of my little family, and I’m also the sole care giver for my daughter too. And that will be tough. To find the right balance.
I’m lucky and blessed to own my home and to have, currently, a good, well paid job. But somewhere down the line something WILL have to give. Priorities change when you become a mum and, for me at least, my career and job aspirations have changed. In order for me to be the best mum I can be I would like to achieve a better work life balance. I don’t think my current working life is sustainable when you factor in a baby.
What I want is to prioritise my family life and put my career on the back burner for a while. To take a step back and focus on what’s most important in life. Because you don’t get this time back do you?
But it isn’t as easy as that, is it? If only life was that simple.
I don’t think anyone can have it all really. After speaking to my step sister when she came to pick her little one up, she too struggles to find the right balance (she has three children!).
Having it all means making sacrifices. If you maintain your pre-baby career you have to be willing to sacrifice precious time with your family. If you choose to work less or find a job which gives you a better work life balance then it’s likely you’ll have to take a hit financially and in turn provide less nice things/ lovely experiences for your family.
It’s a double edged sword isn’t it? And there’s no easy answer.
Ultimately you’ve just got to do what’s right for you and your family. And do the best you can.
Having it all is just an illusion.