Just as the year draws to a close amidst the craziness of the end of the school year, whilst discussing the never ending juggle of work, study and the continual responsibilities of bringing up 3 kids, including a very hands on toddler, a friend of mine asked me today – is it worth it?
That’s a question I think many of us working mothers ask ourselves as we race around the clock, feeling like we just manage to get the eggs in each of our baskets with a bit of spillage at the best of times and generally with a nagging sense of not having completed anything to the standard we would like to. Is it worth it? You bet it is!
I feel as though our generation were sold a lie. Brought up and well educated, nothing stood in our way to lead the lives of our choice and to make a difference in the world, nothing that is until we had families. Somehow, that little piece of the puzzle was missing from our great education. No one told us of the heart wrenching choices you would have to make to continue to have a place in the world of thought, action and contribution beyond the home. No one told us that what was expected once you had kids was that your own interests had to be put on hold indefinitely, if not forever and that you should be happy with a life of lunch boxes and lollypops …or did I just miss something?
Of course not all mothers feel like this, some negotiate the transition with ease, either seemingly not missing their previous independent life at all (blissful stay at home mums – I envy you), or somehow never giving up their previous life, outsourcing the bulk of childcare so that they can continue a life outside the home. I also envy them. For me, sitting in the middle – not wanting to be full time at home, but at the same time not prepared to undergo the sacrifices a full career outside the home requires, the transition has been brutal (in a metaphoric sense, walking over a bed of nails would have been less painful). But somehow, with pure blood, sweat and tears I have been able to regain a sense of who I am, outside my role as a mother. This sense is growing stronger each day I nurture it with my efforts to focus on my independent interests, no matter how challenging the juggling act and social pressure to give up.
So, the answer to, “is it worth it?” is, Yes, you bet it is!