I’m having a bit of a wobble today.
I know a lot of working parent’s will identify with the term half measures when it comes to work/life balance. That’s how I feel like I’ve lived my life for the past 10 weeks since returning to work, and I’m not going to lie, it’s not a great feeling.
I came to my career pretty late. I was 30 when I landed my first job in publishing and instantly knew it was where I was supposed to be. Without knowing it, writing has always been my ‘thing’. Whether that be journaling, like now, or writing to a brief for work, it’s what I do. It’s what I love and without wanting to blow smoke up my own ass, I’m pretty good at it (most of the time).
Today my writing ability was questioned at work and it really upset me. So much so that it surprised me how upset I was. But when I sat back and thought about it, I realised what I was – and am – actually upset by, is the feeling that I’m not doing either of my jobs – mum and editor – to the best of my ability. And now other people are starting to notice. The cracks are starting to show and I’m left wondering whether I have a) the skill and b) the mental strength to get myself to a point where I truly believe I am capable of doing both well.
Self doubt is a hideous thing, and all it takes is the smallest of comments from someone else these days for it to start growing inside me like an infection. However, as I sit here typing, I know there is still a determination in me to try to make this work and not spend my evenings and weekends at home worried about work, and days at work worried about home.
I love my job. But not to the point where I will give up time with my family for it (although I lie somewhat there as there have been many a time Eamo has taken a back seat to my working in the evenings). I’m not someone who has the luxury of staying at work until 7pm to get ahead, and nor do I want to. I want to come home and see my family. But why is it that I feel on the back foot because of that?
There are so many pressures on working parents, I wonder how any of us do it. When I think about my days, I wonder where they disappear to and then I remember that around my 8-9 hours at work, I still have the 24/7 job of being a mum as well as get tea sorted for that evening, lunch and Rex’s bag ready for the next day, put the washing on, keep on top of the housework, etc. It’s after I count up all these infinite jobs that I start to think that while I may not be doing a great job, the fact that I’m managing to stay awake most days after all that is an achievement in itself. However, I’m often knocked back on my ass. Tonight, for example, the chicken we had for tea I realised has gone off and so now we’re stuck with chicken goujons and sweet potato, which I’ve now burnt due to this blog post. *sigh*
I sit here with my burnt goujons and overcooked, slightly grey broccoli, feeling slightly tearful, I’m left wondering whether being promoted was the wrong move here and actually all I’ve done is put way too much pressure on myself. And maybe a job with less responsibility would be a better option? I wonder whether I’m not giving myself enough of a break as it’s still early days and to see how I feel after a few more months? I wonder whether maybe now is the time to make a break and try something new? I wonder, I wonder…