Friends, I’m feeling a bit fragile today. That came out as “ragile” the first time; Freudian perhaps? I guess I’m feeling a bit ragey too. What’s up? I don’t rightly know; I guess an accumulation of different stuff. Yesterday was a bad day – I felt lost and out of control and manic, but it was also good, because I finally allowed myself to look the bad in the face and ask for help. I’m struggling. I’m stretched too thin and I need help.
Trying to reconcile work and baby and childcare and homelife and my sanity seems like an impossible task sometimes. There just isn’t enough rope, not enough space in the day, not enough of me to cover all the gaps. I stretch myself too thin and then I get holey. I start leaking out, falling away. I need more help to patch myself together again.
Who’s putting the pressure on? Me, myself and I; again and again. I tell myself it’s not professional to take baby to see clients, that they see me as weak or that I’m doing a bad job, that I’m not holding it together. All this at the same time as believing it SHOULD be acceptable to be a working mother, and knowing that the only way for it to BE more widely accepted is for it to be visible, for working mothers to show the world that it is possible. It starts with us losing our shame and throwing off the preconceptions and stigma about what motherhood looks like and living our own truth about it.
Have I ever had even one single negative response from bringing baby to work? Nope, not one. And if I did? I would write it off as outdated, defend the practice, say this is what feels right for me. But I also know the comments would lodge somewhere inside and start corroding my confidence.
Working mothers, however you are managing the juggle, don’t do as I do, letting it get to you and second-guessing your choices. Live your truth, and if your truth is getting the job done, even if that means bringing the baby with you, or bouncing him on one knee while you finish an email / blog / publicity piece, or staying up when everyone’s gone to bed, or getting up early in the morning – ok. Don’t let anyone dictate to you how that should look. If you need to then take a nap, an afternoon or a week to recuperate, DO IT. Don’t hesitate. This shit is hard; cut yourself some slack. If your truth is you need to take those first six, 12, 24 or more months to be at home, to savour it and be there for your children, the career can wait – don’t let anyone tell you you’re missing out. What’s important is to get real on how you feel about it, underneath all the opinions of others that, if you’re anything like me, you allow to colour and confuse you.
One thing I’ve learned: once you’re a mother, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, on every-single-fucking-subject. Be it work vs. stay-at-home, breast vs. bottle-feeding, co-sleeping vs. sleep training, you’ll have detractors on every side. So ignore them. Find your truth, and find your champions, and stick close with both.
Today, friends, I’m having a hard time remembering this. Gimme a shout if you have time for a coffee or a chat and let’s bolster each other, chase the clouds out, and keep those doubts where they belong, over the hills and far away.