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Juggling

It’s not a new concept. I am sure every parent across the country feels like a top circus act, the amount of juggling involved with raising a modern family.

The question is how do we know we are getting it right? When we choose one thing over another are we making the right choice? Is the grass ever really greener?

Recently I was talking to a few friends about juggling the work life balance. I work from home, mostly around the children. Spending a few hours a day on my laptop, when I have a chance and the children are happily occupied. So, in reality, I load my computer 50 times a day and spend approximately 20 minutes doing any real work. My friends all do a variety of working patterns. Some work evenings, some weekends, some daytime and the children are in childcare, some are stay at home parents. All of us, without exception, worry about our choices. There are draw backs and benefits any which way we configure it. Not enough family time, not enough time with a partner, not enough time with the children, not enough money. The feeling of not enough! The guilt that is as synonymous to parenting, as Gin is to Tonic.

The modern world means we are always contactable, so not only are we often juggling work, but the outside world too. Home is no longer a place to shut off, our mobiles and internet have changed that. We now juggle family, household jobs, work, children and also everyone else. Our friendships are 24/7, our work doesn’t necessarily finish at 5pm. We have to manage all this and raise our children the best we can.

How do we feel like we are winning? What validate or reassure us? We have all made choices we feel are right for our families, yet we all doubt ourselves. I wonder what the perfect balance might look like? If there is such a thing?

The idea what we are doing is not enough is perhaps the main problem. Our own expectations of the situation. The reality is many of us have to work in some form. Or if we do stay at home that this is a trade-off. No one really has it all. Do they?

The only tool we do have to evaluate our choices, and to work out if we are successfully juggling it all, is how happy you and your family are. Are your children thriving? Are they happy and connected to you? Have they got a positive attachment? If the answer is yes, then well done. You have done enough! You are giving your children the roots they need to grow and your best is paying off. Even if it is hard to see. Your balls are all in the air, as it were, juggling is a success.

*This was first published in my column in etc magazine in May 2017

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2 comments
  • Joanna Hogg

    Great article. I’m always concerned about whether my daughter feels connected to me enough due to working full time and wonder whether I’m making the right decision. I worry that it’s a creeping thing that happens and you don’t realise it until its already happened – i.e. the disconnect is too great. I try and make the time we spend together as loving and fun as possible and hope it’s enough! It’s helpful to be reminded that we all feel the same, whatever the situation.

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