Musings on (Working) Motherhood: What if you had a big enough Why?
Last week I was back at work and study for half of the week. The insights I’ve gained over the past few weeks have helped me through the week immensely. Work and family and housework no longer feel like a juggle. I am learning to move calmly and effortlessly (well, not always effortlessly…occasionally there are small children attached to my legs) from one arena of my life to another, with the overall focus being “family”. Whenever I have a moment of conflict, where a decision has to be made, I consider the overall goal, the big picture – being of service to my family (which includes ME) and to others. Housework is no longer a chore, but something I do automatically, without thinking, without resentment, and I’ve been taking note of how much my darling husband does as well – aren’t our men fantastic? Can you imagine our fathers helping out as much as our partners currently do?
I’m reading a new book called the “Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, and thinking a lot about my goals, my mission and my life’s work. In a nutshell, my mission is to teach and inspire others to lead happy, healthy and fulfilled lives. The inspire bit means I need to be an example. I have just this morning written down a list of goals – including to publish 10 papers before the end of 2015, and to self-publish a book or have a book contract by the end of 2016. For the first time in my life my goals stem not from personal ambition, a wish to stroke my ego or gain personal fame and fortune, but from my mission statement – the real “why”. My mission statement has quickly become the rudder, the oars, that steer my little boat (me) through the waters of life. No matter what the currents are doing, or the waves, or the wind, I’m able to head in the right direction, and I’m avoiding being carried away by currents made by others. I’m living my own life, thank you very much, not the life that the media or the slick advertisements by corporations are telling me to live.
I’ve also been doing a lot of forward planning, thinking beyond my PhD and the possibilities for a post-doctoral position. The road ahead, if I wish to achieve what I want, is long and hard, but today I had a Eureka moment while watching Owl play. The hardest job is not really building a career. A career is something anyone could build. Really, all you need is hard work, determination, persistence, organisational skills, all of that… You need to plug away, be passionate about what you do and strive for excellence, but anyone could do that. Raising a happy family, now that is the hardest job. I am fortunate in that my “why’s” (for my career and my family) co-incide. Teaching and inspiring others, especially my children, to lead happy, healthy and fulfilled lives. I realise I had to re-examine why I had children in the first place. For women there is that inexplicable biological longing, the drive to have and nurture a baby, to buy lots of tiny onesies and ooh and ahh over blankets, booties and prams. But beyond the baby and toddler years, what then? What of children who go to school, grow up, fall in love, have their hearts broken, become of legal age to drink and drive (oh dear Lord hopefully not at the same time… not on my watch!!) and consider careers of their own? All I can do is give them the skills, the tools to live life to the fullest. And they do this by learning from me.
So, part 3 of the Working Mummy Mindset. Discover what your why is and let this be the guide throughout the busy week – not your ego, not the whims of others, not fatigue, not old and unproductive habits.
It hasn’t all been about mindset this week though – we added a new member to our family! Roomba is our little robot vacuum and while I must say Roomba appears to career around the room in a somewhat demented and slightly ineffective fashion, the floors are definitely less crunchy and it’s nice to set Roomba to work and enjoy a few extra minutes a day to spend with the kidlets, or have a glass of wine…
Today is my first week of being a full-time working and studying mother. I’m ready for whatever the week brings. I hope you all spend a few minutes this morning reflecting on your “whys”. Have a wonderful week :)