Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Settling but still searching for that balance

As any previous readers of this blog will know the last 6 months have been a pretty busy time for Ellie and I. Right now, for the first time in quite some time, I’m not planning, doing or recovering from a huge life change. I know that sounds a little melodramatic (and I’m never melodramatic…well not too often) but in the last 6 months: Ellie started school, we moved in with my boyfriend and his son in a totally new area, Ellie changed school, I published my book and finally, a few weeks ago we moved house again into our new family home. You get the point?

Well finally, after all of that, (my fingers are firmly crossed as I say this,) it looks like life might just be settling down and we are settling in.

Ellie has been invited to a number of birthday parties from friends at her new school and crucially, was desperate to go to them. She was also ridiculously excited when we wrote the invites for her birthday party and handed them out in the playground herself (at her insistence). She’s now had several play dates outside of school and is looking forward to going to one on her own later this week.

For my part, I now know the names of a number of the other mums from school and have their mobile numbers. We are in the process of organising a night out and a pamper night is forthcoming! I’ve met several of the neighbours at our new house and actually know their names ... oh yes I do.

I am no longer anxious about how to drive to the places I need to get to in the area. Okay okay so I know it sounds sad, but no longer needing my sat nav for every single journey has to count as an indicator that we’re settling doesn’t it?

We also had parents evening this week and there’s no doubting the fact that Ellie has settled at school. I felt immensely proud as I was told that she was doing really well in all areas, learning well and being kind to others. They also mentioned she was very tidy minded so that’s noted! The fact that Ellie joined the school slightly later than everyone else is now clearly insignificant.

So it’s fair to say that by and large everything’s going pretty well which is why I can’t help feeling utterly frustrated that once again I’ve found myself struggling to get the balance right...that is the utopia of being as great a mum as I can be whilst also satisfying the desire/need to work and to deliver in my work. I’ve had tears (mine not Ellie’s), I’ve felt down and I’ve felt like a bad mum.

I’ve had a couple of occasions where I’ve needed to literally beg and borrow family and friends to look after Ellie, I’ve had a lot of nights where I’ve been tired and bad tempered and there have been several things at the school which I’ve been unable to do.

On the other side I’ve got a number of key things to get done for work and quite frankly, not enough time…I simply can’t work late in the office because I have to come home for Ellie but I do want to achieve. I’ve been really fortunate in that I’ve been able to work from home regularly for a few months now, but that isn’t something I can do for much longer.

If I’m honest though, what I think makes this all particularly frustrating is that, rightly or wrongly, I really do feel that I should just be able to deal with this, get over it and well…get the hell on with it! My inner voice is loud in its annoyance with me, not least because as I’ve already said life is actually settling nicely at the moment, but also telling me to quite frankly give it up because this is real life…millions of other working parents manage it and quite frankly you can’t have it all.

Well I’m sorry…but when it comes to this I want it all. That is when ‘all’ is working and also being able to be Ellie’s mum in an active, every day part of her life way. Surely this isn’t too much to ask?

So come on guys help me out here…I’m dying to know what you think. Is it possible to balance it right? Have you managed it and if so, can you share your secret? Also of course, I’d love to know that I’m not the only one who feels this frustration. 

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