Working Mums – it’s time to put yourself first > CEOWORLD magazine
I know you. I know your kids. I know your partner. I know what you do at work. I know what you don’t do at work for want of time. I know what you do at home. Like a circus performer, I watch you juggle – keeping all of those very many balls in the air. While you have all the appearance of absolute success in everything you do, you aren’t fooling me. Scratch below the surface and the reality is that you are struggling. Just look at how often you turn up, how busy you are, how often the buck stops with you, how stressed, anxious and exhausted you are. And don’t even get me started on the guilt.
This has to stop.
I know you because I was you. And for my book “Me First: The Guilt-free Guide to prioritising You“, I interviewed other incredible working mums just like you from around the world and they shared their stories of the juggle with me. And believe me, the juggle is real.
For me, it all started to come unstuck between the years 2000 and 2003 when I had three babies in three-and-a-half years, all while trying to maintain my career and juggle work, a husband and a home. I was frazzled, exhausted and working like a crazy woman trying to be the best of everything to everyone. Somewhere in there I forgot about being the best version of me.
Something had to give, and it did — big time. It was a Monday and being a Superwoman I delayed the work commute so I could drop my son at school. Other mums do this all the time, right?
There I was, in my beautiful black suit, red lipstick, high heels and with snot from my shoulder to my knee with a hysterical child clinging to my leg because it was ‘cupcake day’. (I don’t know who comes up with these ideas — it certainly isn’t mums who work.) Clearly, I didn’t have any cupcakes. Later, radiating guilt and thinking about the 25 years of cupcake therapy my son would need, I rushed (late) into my first meeting of the day. It took me a few seconds to register that the room was silent. Everyone around the boardroom table looked at me and then looked at their watches, and then they resumed talking. And I had the profound realisation that I was the only member of the executive leadership team who didn’t have a full-time wife.
In trying to do it all, I had lost sight of what was most important to me. I did not set appropriate boundaries and I never lived in the moment either at home or at work. If I was at work, I felt guilty about not being with my children. If I was with my children, I spent most of my time checking my emails. I was constantly available to everyone. I was never available to just myself. I was highly stressed and terribly guilty.
And so resigned from my job to be a full time mum.
Ten minutes later I was climbing the walls. But what my time out gave me was the opportunity to reframe my relationship with time – to start demanding time for myself. And in prioritising my wants, I can now turn up as the absolute best version of me for my kids, for my business, and for myself.
Somewhere along the journey from professional woman, to mum, to professional woman and mum, if you have moved from the driver’s seat in your life to the passenger seat, then it’s time to take back control. It’s time to start putting yourself first.
This content was originally published here.