It’s been some time since I last blogged. But now I feel like I have the space to have another go. For the last couple of years I’ve been juggling Mamáybebé, a very full time corporate job, my family of four kids, marriage, a travelling husband, charity fundraising, friends and life in general. For those who know me well, they know I am a professional juggler. I take on more and more and can probably take on more than most. I know lots of women are doing this so I don’t want to come across as a bit of a princess, but for the first time in my life, I felt like I had reached my limit. My head space was so to capacity, even playing the radio in the car could push me over the edge.
Before kids, I was a management consultant. I loved so many aspects of my job: the team, solving problems for my clients, building relationships and always learning. Once I had my kids, I didn’t miss the long, very long hours and decided to set up Mamáybebé. For the first few years, I managed to have three girls in three years and set the business up. It grew thanks to many of you and I was truly enjoying my every day. Then fours years on, I felt so lonely. The one thing about owning your business that no one talks about is this. The loneliness. I had people helping me but they were never truly responsible for the decisions, time and dollar investment of the business. The buck stopped with me and the pressure was building. My own pressure too. I had no one telling me I had to keep growing or I had to be better. I was doing that, to myself. Quite the opposite was true of my family and friends. All I heard from my husband and friends around me was how amazing I was and what a beautiful business I had built and how proud I should be.
I didn’t feel this way. Unfortunate for me, my pre-kid career had conditioned me to believe that success is based on the income you earn and the promotions you receive and how high the totem pole you go. When you own your business, success is actually very different. I’ve only worked this out now. I didn’t appreciate how valuable the flexibility of owning my own business offered me and my family. I didn’t appreciate I am one person and I can only do so much in one day. I didn’t appreciate what it takes to build something from scratch. Without, the formal performance management structures of a corporate job, self doubt started to creep in. Was I doing enough? How could I make the business grow more? I was doing lots of research and upskilling as much as I good but I felt like all my ideas were swirling around in my own head.
So over two years ago, I decided to re-enter my old corporate world. In my head I could continue to run Mamáybebé, a full time corporate role, my four kids, my marriage a travelling husband, charity fundraising, friends and my life in general. And well, of course! Ha!! I laugh as I write this. Initially, I loved it. I loved being in the city. I loved putting on my high heels and fancy clothes. I loved my coffee conversations with my clients and team members. And then, school went back and my little ones did not adjust well to me no longer being there at everything. And then the mummy guilt settled in. Every time I would leave the school yard with my eldest (in year 1 at the time) in tears, I wondered “WTF am I doing?”. I would consider my kids to be pretty resilient, so it was a super shock to me that baby number 1 was so unsettled and distressed by my absence. Baby #2 and #3 seemed to cope much better but they were much younger and I guess more comfortable to changes. I had been a stay at home mum for 5 years and was so ready to re-engage in the ‘real’ world. I was so happy in this world but so unhappy knowing it was causing angst at home. I preserved through this with the help of my extraordinary school mums. OMG. These women were and are amazing. When I missed school events, I would receive with no judgement, photos of my baby doing what ever it was they were doing; they jumped in when I needed help with school drop off so I could attend a breakfast event, they jumped in when I couldn’t get to school pick up in time. The support was and continues to be endless, done with so much love and no judgement at all. They are my rocks!
So, you can imagine what my life is looking like right now, getting up at 5am, doing orders, writing up blogs, posting up social media, getting three little girls ready for school and daycare (hair, dressed, breakfast, school bags, sunscreen (which is likely putting cream on an octopus in this house??, lunches blablalblba), making myself look FABULOUS for the office, dropping off to all locations – running in heels carrying a multitude of bags, guitars, swimming bags…. and on many occasions ubering from the office to the School to not miss my first born’s first reading in church, or to watch her get an award at 2.15pm because school does school assembly at 2.15!!! what!!! (Can they not do it at 9am so working parents can actually have a chance of attending???) ubering back to the office to a client meeting and….. you now get my drift. This explains why I was always tired and a little short!
So in December just gone, we went on a holiday of a life time to the Caribbean, the States and Colombia. We were travelling to spend time at the orphanage we support in Medellin,, Colombia and fund raise for regularly to meet our foster daughter who will be joining us soon (another blog to come about this amazing experience!). Anyway, during these 5 weeks away, I had a chance to pause, think and review my life and where it is going. I truly believe we create our own world, so why the hell had I created this never ending tornado of activity? I had done this to myself and family and needed to work out what I cherish most and wanted out of life. Which I did and have now 4 months after our trip, actioned.
So these are the decisions I made:
I love Mamáybebé. I love the business I had, have and am back! I am back to rebuild and reconnect with so many women who are in the most amazing journeys of their lives. Pregnancy and breastfeeding is a privilege so to be a part of this stage for so many others, is a blessing and experience I’d like to continue having.
I love my corporate job. I get to work with the most amazing people including millennials. They are highly energetic, so bloody smart (they do know everything!) and I can learn from them every single day. I love developing relationships with the clients I meet. I love the learning. I learn all the time!
BUT I don’t have to be a slave to my corporate job. I was ready to give it up. But my manager gave me an option. What about part time? I did not even think this was an option and as feminist and strong as I think I am, I wasn’t prepared to ask for it. So they offered me three days a week and I accepted. This is my first week of 3 days which is why I can write this blog .
I love my family. I don’t have to say much about that. Because it’s just a fact and we all love our families. What I do want for my girls, is to see a strong, independent and capable woman. A role model they can aspire to be. I have quite a senior corporate role and its good for them to see that Mummy is clever just like Dad (actually cleverer but he knows that! hahaha). I also want my girls to see it’s important for Mums to have something for ourselves. Something that develops us, challenges us and keeps us learning and sane.
So this week, my new life begins. There is probably plenty more I need to say no to but let’s see how I go.