Confessions of a Working Mum
I recently read this article online where a mother was trying to say that being a mum isn’t hard work. I’m actually unsure what planet she is on or if she even parents for that matter, because hands down this job is mind-blowingly hard.
I think that social media has a lot to answer for. The frequent depiction of mothers keeping their shit together and successfully running numerous extracurricular projects and activities with their kids is rife.
Conversations often extend from the notion that society has changed so dramatically and life is busier than ever, something that I agree with to an extent, but this is not the full picture.
Mothers have always been busy.
They have always been juggling the work/life balance, whether work meant outside employment or unpaid work in the home. This is not something new. What is new, is how this balance is portrayed to the outside world. A society that is so quick to make judgements. Quick to envy their neighbour and lust over their perceived success and “togetherness”.
People only show you what they want you to see.
I believe that the big reason for this is so that there are no questions asked. It’s much easier to agree with someone that, “yeah, things are awesome!” than to start a conversation with “man, life is really hard at the moment”. This in turn creates a society where connection is superficial and the hard questions are not being asked.
I met a girl a few weeks ago while away for the weekend. We started chatting and from our conversation came a heaviness that life was just so busy that she just never had time to catch her breath. “But”, she said, “I’m working in tourism and I must deal with one client after the other, I never get time to actually stop”.
Two thoughts came from this, one that we create this way of life by allowing it to be the way that it is and, two, even if we don’t get many opportunities to stop during the day, we still have the ability to allow MINDFULNESS to ground us and allow us to feel more settled wherever we are.
So, I want to put it out there, holy crap life as a working mum is hard!
The juggle is relentless. Keeping on top of the day job, the business, the sport practices, the dancing, the kindy events, the school requirements, the husband, the social life, the study, the down-time and the up-time. People wonder why I’m such a big advocate of mindfulness and the truth is that every day its saving me from myself. From all the dumb thoughts, the anxieties, the difficult tasks, the financial juggle and my working roles.
I’m writing this because I want fellow mums, (and dads) to frequently remind themselves that even though it may look like others have it down packed, they really don’t and we’re all faking it as much as the next person.
I am faking it just as much as you are and I can see why bears go into hibernation! Damn that sounds good right now…
I keep practicing mindfulness because it allows me to take and hold each barrier and each difficulty for what it is.
Life has never promised us eternal happiness but sometimes we forget this and we end up walking around feeling cheated and wishing for an easy out. It’s at these times that mindfulness can support us with feeling OK, not necessarily happy, but OK. When we’re in the depths of despair, confusion or rage, mindfulness is a gift that prompts us to be OK being here, wherever ‘here’ is.
We get so caught up in trying to resist those ‘adverse’ emotions that we spend all our precious energy on fighting rather than just being. The juggle of being a working mum has been made a little easier with mindfulness. With emphasis on the ‘little’ because if it were easy we would most likely get bored, right??
Sometimes I sit down to meditate and it’s so damn hard, no word of a lie, and I want to highlight this because it is REALLY hard to dedicate that time and just ‘be’ in that space. There are days where I will sit for three minutes and then decide nope, I’m not there today. And actually that’s OK. At other times I’ll struggle but push on through and then reap the benefits. I’ve learnt to take everyday as it comes, because the juggle is different from one day to the next so in line with this, my needs are different one days to the next as well.
So in saying this, a simple grounding tool that you can use throughout the day to make your chaotic life a little less crazy employs our senses. Just by stopping, feeling our feet making contact with the floor and allowing ourselves to notice where our inhale meets our body and where our exhale deflates. Tuning in to sounds close by and just noticing that shift in your being, from operating up in your head to settling down in your body.
Allow these sounds to come to you, there’s no need to go searching for them. Grounding reminds us that we are here now. We are not yesterdays dumb meeting or tomorrows panic. We are here in this moment and this moment can save us from ourselves if we tune into being and tune out of the busy.
About Victoria Hood
Victoria has been working in the mental health and addiction field over the past 7 years since leaving University with an honours degree in Psychology. During her time spent working in addiction, Victoria was introduced to the practice of mindfulness. Since this time Victoria has become extremely passionate about incorporating mindfulness into both her professional and her family life.
Victoria has an honours degree in Psychology from the University of Canterbury. She is a Life Coach, Mindfulness Coach, Mindfulness Practitioner in schools and is a passionate holistic health and well-being advocate and facilitator of mindfulness based workshops.
More about Victoria…