If you’re anything like me, when you made the decision to become a parent then you did a whole lot of googling.
You read about the joys of being a parent. The first smiles, the first steps, the first words, hearing them say “I love you” for the first time.
You read about the trials of being a parent. The sleepless nights, the nappy blow outs, the tantrums, hearing them say “I hate you” for the first time.
But what you don’t read about, what no one tells you – is that it can be absolutely heartbreaking.
Your child is like a raw nerve walking around on the outside of your body, and every time they hurt, you hurt ten fold.
Every time they have a hard day, and you see the stress in their little eyes as they hold back the tears… your heart absolutely breaks and you have to keep it together and tell them it’s going to be okay.
When they fall over and scratch their knee and you watch them trying not to overreact and holding back every instinct to swoop in, when you let them get up and dust themselves off because you know that they need to decide if they need you for themselves… it’s the hardest thing.
Being a parent, it’s incredible. Most days you go to bed feeling totally fulfilled about the little humans you are sharing this life with.
But some days you find yourself up at midnight worried about an event that upset your child that day, more worried than you would ever be if that excact thing happened to you.
Because your children are your rawest nerve, and no matter how much you protect them it’s inevitable that they are going to have shitty days.
And as their parent, it’s heartbreaking to watch. Even though that we know this is a part of life, an important part of life, it doesn’t make it any easier…
For the past couple of years, I have balanced a full time job, a toddler and a military husband.
And it’s been bloody tough!
As most of you know, Oliver and I had a very turbulent past 12 months. We did 3 months with a nanny in Canberra, then 3 months solo, then 2 weeks with James home, then we moved to Melbourne and had a one bedroom sublet for 6 weeks close to the city so Oliver went to daycare there and then we finally settled into our new home in Chelsea (another daycare swap for Ollie). I’m exhausted just typing it. Living it was absolutely fatiguing.
3 months ago James moved home, and over the past few weeks things have really started to settle.
Over the past 12 month, I really have burnt the candle at both ends and there’s not too much left. Some mornings I just don’t want to get out of bed. I’m so sick of running from pillar, to post, to the next pillar.
But that is nothing to what poor Oliver has gone through.
This poor kid has lived in 3 states in his 3 years, had 4 different day cares, and has spent nearly 50% of his life away from his Dad.
But these days, things are really looking up. Like REALLY looking up.
Over the past few weeks I have seen this beautiful shift in the relationship between Oliver and James. He has complete trust back in his father’s presence.
He loves his daycare. He has a group of friends, and some great teachers.
He also has a great relationship with our family. We pulled up to my folks house today and he was so excited to see his grandparents. But not, like, over excited. Just, like, it was normal.
And it is normal.
But there are still are few bumps in our way. His speech is still delayed, he has sensory issues, and he really struggles to cope with his emotions.
As of last week, he also was spending 50 hours per week at day care. Yep, he was that kid. The first to arrive and the last to leave. Our life was a rush, he was also always rushed. We could never, just, be.
But today, that has all changed. Today, is the first day of my life as a part-time employee. Today, I spend more hours with my son that at my work, for the first time in 2 years.
And boy it feels good.
His Dad has also been approved to finished work early two days per week.
That means Oliver’s 50+ hours will now be no more than 20 hours a week in care, and a few with my parents. His attitude has already improved 500% just with the sense of calm that comes with this new us.
We don’t even know ourselves, and it’s fantastic!
How do you balance your work and home life?
People always ALWAYS ask me I how I balance my family and my full time work. So here it is, my little secret; I don’t!
But actually, I’m okay with it.
I used to feel guilty all the time. Guilty for not being the mother who holds her child every time he cries. Guilty for not being the employee who can stay back until all my work is finished and arrive at the crack of dawn.
But you know what, I can’t!
Some days I barely even make it in to work by 9:30, and I still have to run out the door by 4:30 to pick Ollie up if James is caught back at work.
You see, he’s in the Navy and he’s a dude. He doesn’t get the same “flexibility” that I get.
But I’ve come to be okay with that too. Okay at a household level, not a societal level.
I also have 5 hours sick leave left, and a whole lot of my annual leave gets taken up by appointments for Oliver.
And yes, I’m okay with that too.
My boss may occasionally roll his eyes, and my work may sometimes be finished on a train or at home. However I always meet my deadlines, I always make up my 38 hours per week and I always produce the best possible work I can.
So yeah, I’m okay with that.
And my son, well I often leave him crying at day care yelling out “Mummy, I’m siccccck” or “I come with you!”
On the train ride to work, I’m not okay with this. I’ve shared my fair share of tears with other Mum’s leaving their crying children each day.
But by the time I get home, he is busting at the seams to tell me all the great things he did at Kindy and I realise that we’re both, you guessed it, okay!
So, how do I balance work and life. I don’t, and that’s okay!
What about you, how do you do this balancing gig?