Life completely changed for me once I had kids. Though I didn’t realise it straight away.
You can never be fully prepared for what the reality of it means. You can read all you like. Ask all the questions. Go on any parenting course. But when life brings you that child or children, everything changes.
As a mother, I naively thought that I could continue living my life as I had done. Maintain that job. Build my career. I thought it shouldn’t be much different than life before kids. Oh, how wrong I was. Perhaps some people can do this, but I couldn’t and can’t!
I don’t believe it was my fault that I thought it would all stay the same - society now expects and somewhat brainwashes us parents that we can carry on living the same way as before.
There is this process and treadmill we are expected to follow, almost without question.
It took me a while before I realised I had to stick my finger up to the ‘societal expectations’. The pressure of working too damn hard, not making enough money, spending too much money on child care and not spending the time I needed with my boys was too much. Oh, there’s the stress and unhappiness of it all too.
I didn’t want to handle it. It felt wrong. In my heart I felt that there had to be a better way.
In the early days I tried going back to full time work and failed. Not only could I not bear the emotional side of being away from my kids, but the practicalities of full time work did not did not match up to the family life that we wanted and needed. It ended up with me working to mostly just cover my work and childcare expenses, not seeing much of my boys and generally living a life without the focus we needed.
Perhaps I would have felt differently if I was in a job that I truly loved, respected and given the flexibility that I needed. At that time I wasn’t. I felt confused and unsure where I was heading.
This partly made me feel like a failure when I decided not to pursue a full time job. I had no clear vision of where I wanted to be. I felt like I was missing out. Getting behind in my career. Not contributing as much as I wanted to financially. Something really felt strange about the fact that as a society we are expected to work consistently and constantly. When we can’t we all too often feel inadequate.
My kids changed everything for me. They’ve made me think and re-think everything I do. I have learned to focus my energy and time on work that I am passionate about and what makes me feel good. Anything else is not good enough for me, and consequently my family.
My family is a reflection of who I am, what I do and how I feel. I think the ‘feeling’ part is often overlooked and considered a low priority by society. Yet how we feel radiates in a positive or negative way to all those around us.
This focus on feeling good, being happy, doing positive things and things that I enjoy has become a part of who I am. I turn down things that don’t align with this ‘feel good’ factor. I try things out and evaluate whether they make me feel good. Sometimes I think they will, but they don’t. The ability to stop is equally as important.
Isn’t this feel good factor important in the one life we get to live?
Of course, it’s not all a bed of rosie’s 🙂 Life is not perfect. And living this way brings it’s own set of challenges and sacrifices. However, they are challenges I am willing and happy to fight to for.