Work / parent balance – is it possible? So many parents try to find the balance between work and parenting and it can be an almightly juggle. I can almost see you nodding to that. Let’s think about it from the female perspective for a minute. Working mothers have a juggle at hand and anyone who tells you it isn’t a juggle is quite frankly super-human in my eyes. Kids make work – that is not paid for! That work looks like washing, cooking, cleaning, sorting, tidying, homeworking, bedtimes, clubs, parties, school-runs, and that’s only about half of it. It a work that just has to be done – no matter what.
Add to that a job. I’m self-employed and have been for 17-years and I chose to be self-employed because I wanted to fit round my children. AND THEN LOCKDOWN HAPPENED. Working at home, from my bedroom, with 3 kids around my ankles and a cat on my laptop most days was a situation I never want to be in – ever again. God it was horrible. I started to work late, early and then bark at my kids. I was burying myself deeper and deeper into my phone and even “tweeting” when they were in the bath. That was always a big fat no in my rule book, but there I was doing it.
As lockdown eased in April 2021 here in the UK, my mind clicked into gear and I pursued an office space that I had wanted to take a year ago, but didn’t for obvious reasons. I got an email back from the office manager saying that she had one available. An office. All for me. I set to thinking about it. 5-seconds later I replied and let her know I would have it. I wanted it to be mine, all mine! (insert cackle laughter).
I joke, but I knew it was right. For me to develop my coaching business, have space to think and do and to get all my crap out of our family home (full professional make-up kit, paperwork, books and all the other office bits one seems to need) I had to make this move. My new studio/office space is dellightful. It’s got high ceilings, lots of light and no paw patrol figures, fidget toys, broken pens, scraps of paper and a half eaten apple. I honestly would go so far as to say it is life-changing.
My youngest child is 2, and goes to nursery 2 days a week. I come to the office for full days whilst he is in nursery and do a few hours on the other days. This gives me 20-hours of undisturbed time to coach, connect, email, film helpful videos and pay more attention to my thriving facebook group for older mums; We are Geriatric Mums. My work time is mine again.
What this also means is that I go home, in the car, and step into my house and am Mum again. I’m not glancing at my phone and trying to send emails whilst cooking. I’m fully present and already I feel nicer towards my children. I have been on the trampoline with my eldest, I have been reading properly with my middle child and playing “golfs” with my little boy. It works. The separation work. No more blurred lines.
So the only way I found the balance, is to move out! (into an office).
What is your working situation? Did you have a terrible lockdown, too?
I was featured on the BBC yesterday talking about my new office; see it HERE
Lucy Baker is a confidence coach and geriatric mum.