Working with a new client earlier this week, I was reminded of my feelings of guilt and frustration when I worked at a big international law firm.
At the time, I had two children under the age of 5. I was working long hours, juggling work and family life, always exhausted, feeling guilty when I was at home and not listening properly to my children because I was taking sneaky looks at my BlackBerry, while worrying that my children thought their childminder was more fun to be with. I was often away for a week or more. I didn’t feel that I was a good mum and struggled to overcome my feelings of guilt and frustration.
This is how it was for my client too. She was feeling guilty about not spending enough time with her children; guilty about not spending enough time at work; guilty about not paying enough attention to her clients. She is worried that her children love their nanny more than they love her and guilty that all of this is damaging the long-term relationship with her children because she is trying, and failing, at multitasking emails and bed-time stories. Being a working mum was not what she had expected. Does this sound familiar?
I asked her “What is the most important thing to you about being a mum?” For some mums, it might be really important to be at home on time every evening for the bedtime story; for others being at the school Easter bonnet parade could be most important; or spending time creating a home-made bonnet for the parade. This exploration helped my client decide to make some small changes – one of which is going to be turning off her BlackBerry between the hours of 7pm and 8pm every night. It’s a small change, but small changes can make a big difference. Next time, we’ll explore how this has worked out in reality and what other small changes could she make.
I have worked with literally 100s of new mums in my work as a family practitioner. Being a working mum is hard for all of us, not just lawyer mums. Juggling to find the right balance between family, work, and clients.
If this has struck a chord with you, please share what small changes you have made to help you get your working mum balance right.
And if you would like a free 20 minute strategy session to explore what small changes you could make, please call me on 07905 826267.