And breathe...

Hello September. Hello new school term. I’m back.

I think I can safely say that having had my 3 children off school/at home since early July I’ve worked harder over the last few weeks than at any time this year so far. I can also say that almost all this work goes completely unseen. #Leadership

And I’m just about ok with that.

So now it’s time for me to return to a sense of ‘Me’ again. But right now I just want to stop and enjoy the silence.

That I even need to pause to take a breath today as the new school term starts signals the double bind I (and so many other Mums) find myself in; to have the flexibility to build a career around my kids, and to HAVE to build a career around my kids.

I have more or less taken the summer off from my work and I have missed it so much! To ‘be able to’ take the time off when the kids are not at school - does that read as fortunate? Or is it down to circumstance? I prefer to think it’s a bit of both. Not to mention some serious forward planning and budgeting.

There is always a lot of compromise involved in every family situation. That I ‘take the summer off’ to be at home with our children means that my husband does not. That is the pattern established due to his work, and it is hard to change, but we certainly talk about it more these days in an attempt to find better balance.

‘Taking the summer off’ is not the easy option (although there has been a lot of fun), it is not fortunate, but an essential for our family for so many reasons.

But that there is little value given to the hard work of parenting, and the constant flex required - be that physical, mental, logistical or otherwise - does make it a difficult and often rather thankless role (and one where I question my own role/sanity at points!).

I love being with my children, but I love my work also - and what I love is that I can get headspace and focus and a huge sense of purpose and connection and satisfaction from my work. Which is often much harder to experience and quantify when parenting.

And so today I think we Mums (as in my experience it is largely Mums who have shouldered the summer holidays) should take a moment pause, recalibrate, and celebrate the silence in our homes without guilt or judgement towards ourselves or others for whatever choices, compromises, or circumstances we find ourselves.

We should celebrate our value and not wait for others to realise how damn important our role is or how tough the summer juggle has been (and maybe squeeze our children a little harder at bedtime now that we’ve all had some space!).

Love my kids, love my space - Hooray for school!

Caroline UdallComment