Some days being a mum just isn’t enough for me.

What I’m about to say might not sit well with lots of people.

But this isn’t about how anyone else lives their life, it’s about my life, my journey, my happiness.

So here goes:

There are days when being a mum just isn’t enough for me.

I have always loved working, the thrill of chasing a great story, getting an exclusive and then seeing it in print.

I’ve also enjoyed being able to make a difference in people’s lives by telling their story or raising awareness, money or support.

10391971_225492254912_4050424_n

Once I found out that I was pregnant I was quite happy to take maternity leave in 2008 and immerse myself in motherhood.

Despite my previous experience as a nanny in New York I found that being a mum wasn’t as easy as I had thought it would be.  This was probably because I had a child with major reflux issues, she was medicated from six weeks of age until she was one.

Newborns are supposed to sleep, mine never did, even as a three-month old she would only sleep for an hour during the day, if I was extremely lucky.

Looking back I was probably a bit depressed about it all but really didn’t know any different and thought that was the norm.

Then when my baby girl was 21 months my second child was born, talk about an easy baby. He loved the boob, slept well and was a happy chappy.

Once he turned one I was asked to get back into some writing work, I leaped at the chance. Yes it would be tricky juggling kids and writing from home but I decided that the extra money would be good and it would help keep me in the loop.

Within months 10 hours of work a week snowballed to 20 and by the time I found out I was pregnant with my third I was working about 25 hours a week, often more depending on what projects I was working on.

I had a mere six weeks off once No.3 arrived and then started juggling 3 kids under 3.5 years and 25 hours of work.

383053_10150539789520832_492109170_n

Needless to say the past two years of my life are a blur. But I survived.

I’m sure people think that I’m mad taking on so much, but I can’t imagine NOT writing/working. I don’t do it for the money, I do it for me.

Last night I watched an interview with Michael Phelps, the world’s most decorated swimmer, he spoke about his return to the pool after his official retirement. What he said really struck a chord with me.

He said wanted to get back in the pool because he didn’t have to, because it was on HIS terms. There was no one telling him he had to, and yes the early mornings were tough but he missed swimming so much he didn’t mind.

While I would hate to compare myself to the awesomeness that is Phelps, I can relate to his sentiments.

I work because I WANT to, it fulfills me, it energises me.

be happy

In the past four years that I have been working from home I have NEVER turned down work. Yes it has almost destroyed me mentally but I have somehow managed to keep my head above the water.

Right now I am about to embark on a new adventure, a bit of self promotion, something I have never done. All the work I have has pretty much landed in my lap without any effort on my behalf.

Yeah sure I could probably just amble along as I have been until all three kids are in school in 2017, but for some reason I have decided to push myself. I must be batty.

But what Phelps said really hit home. It made me realise that if I don’t pursue the desires I have burning inside of me that I will not be happy.

And if I’m not happy then no one around me will be. 

Yes I’m stretched, pushed, pulled and beaten in every direction but this makes me feel alive, like I am contributing and making a difference.

Of course being a mum is the greatest gift and privilege in the world, but if I’m not being true to myself then all the gifts in the world won’t be appreciated.

Does that make sense? Do you know what I mean?

There isn’t an ounce of me that regrets my life as it stands right now. I have three adoring children and a career that feeds my greedy soul.

Yes I’m a little distracted with work at times and I don’t spend hours crafting, making Lego and baking but these things don’t make me happy. Yes the kids love them and I take part from time to time, but if I gave up my work for such activities then I would not be me.

The light and laughter that escapes from me now would not be as bright.

soul

So my message is this, once you have kids you are still a person. Someone with a brain, heart, imagination and soul. All of these things need fed to ensure you continue to function as you always have.

My advice is to  do whatever it takes to nurture this part of you because this is your lifeblood. If you’re not happy then dig deep and find out why.

Then slowly but surely do what you have to in order to start smiling and laughing with your eyes again. Yes it might be hard multi-tasking with kids, life, work, family, partners, but you still have to be happy in life.

When you are genuinely happy everyone around you feeds off this feeling.

 Are you doing what makes you really happy?

Isn’t it hard juggling kids and work?

Comments

  1. Love this Em! Congrats on taking the leap with your new adventure x

  2. Hallelujah, sister! I couldn’t agree more. I’m not a lego, playdough, craft type mum. I’m a mum that isn’t happy unless she is working. It makes me a better, more balanced mum.

    I’m lucky in that I never had that guilt thing that some mums get about working, nor have I ever given a rats what people think of my choices, because I know my kids are happy and healthy and loved.

    And so am I (and clearly, so are you). Win!

  3. I totally get you! ! Although I only have one child, this could have been me writing this. For some, being a mum is the icing on the cake and what they dedicate their life to which is great, for me it has changed who I am and I love being a Mum but it definitely doesn’t complete my life, I have another part of me that needs feeding and that’s my career ambitions and new found love for writing. Thanks soo much for sharing, it’s very refreshing to read.x

  4. Oh I hear ya Mumma! I feel exactly the same way, and while I’m only at the very beginning and start, I know if I work hard I can get to where I want to be and do what I want to do on my own terms. It’s not gonna be easy, but nothing good ever is!

  5. Great article Em! Agreeee! I love being busy & working on other exciting projects as well as being a Mum. Can’t tame ambition & that’s a great thing we’re demonstrating to our little ones! :-))) Can’t wait to find out more about your endeavour?!

  6. Good on you Em! I completely agree. That said, wine makes me happy and nurtures my soul, but it’s not quite the same thing is it?!
    (Kidding… Kind of) xxxw

  7. There’s no easy answer for this one. Everyone’s got to find the point of balance that works for them.

  8. “You just have to make ‘one day’ happen”. This used to be my motto and it had been shuved to the very back of my agenda until today. Your post is the second reminder I’ve had today. We always tend to wait for the right time in life to follow our passions or desires or, as you say, do what makes you happy.

    A few years ago (before breast cancer) I juggled a VERY small part time hot stone massage and counselling business. People thought I was mad because I already had enough on my plate caring for my chronically ill husband and four kids. Even though I was exhausted most of the time I was exhausted in a good way (if that makes sense). I loved every minute of it. Why? Because I wasn’t wondering anymore if I “could” maybe do it one day, I “was” doing it.

    Go for it Em. Enjoy making “ONE DAY” happen. Motherhood doesn’t define us or dictate we should forever live the label. It’s one part of who we are and who we love to be.

  9. Totally! Kids throw a spanner in the works of what you think your life will be and I think it just takes time and desire to find the balance that works for you.
    I think so many mums feel guilty for doing something for them and they shouldn’t as you say, we are also people too. x

  10. Amen sister. You are an amazing woman. I love your passion! I think if you know what does it for you and you can do it whilst juggling the demands of playing Mumsy then GO TO! Mummies deserve to be full, complete, happy human beings too. I have always done extras but have found it impossible to return to my prior career of acting. It means too much time away from home, potentially on tour, long trips to the city to be seen for a few moments. All in all, my time often not being that valued. It’s definitely something I may pick up again when the kidlets are a little older but for now I’ve had to creatively shift my attention (doing singing gigs instead, blogging etc).
    I’d love to know your secrets about time management!

  11. Thank you for this fantastic, honest and much needed post! I have been struggling with the feeling that something is not right for a while now and I’ve only just felt ‘brave’ enough to name it. I love my daughter with all my heart but by god I bloody hate ‘mothering’! If I get guilted into building one more block tower or playing with play dough I might scream!! Like you I have part time work that I love – and would love to devote more time to, will have to work on that…

  12. Right post right time for me to read Em. I’m right in the middle of finding my happy – lost my way a bit, started wondering if I should just not bother.
    Thanks lovely.
    X

  13. I have had very few months since my first pregnancy that I haven’t been working from home. When contract work slowed I wrote an ebook and started freelancing. I say yes to everything too and more! I love being busy and challenged. I feel very close and connected with my kids too as we’ve always been able to find a balance. There’s an evolutionary reason why we live beyond menopause; it’s to look after the young while the productive young healthy adults bring in the bread. I often think our productive years are at odds with our reproductive years so we just need to find that balance.

  14. This is so true Em. I’m the same, being a full-time mum isn’t for me yet I still need to find that balance between gaining that personal satisfaction that I crave from work and being there for the kids. A very honest post – thanks for putting into words what a lot of us feel x

  15. This is something I struggle with but in a different way as I feel I’m not really one thing nor the other. I’m not really an ambitious career oriented type. On the other hand I’m not really a housewifey type either. I do feel like I need to time away from everything including my boys (as much I love them), but I need time just to be, without anything that I need to do or places I need to be. I totally get how somebody who is ambitious would be unfulfilled just being a Mum. Your new project sounds amazing, as you are. xo

  16. I don’t think you are batty at all…I think you are quite inspirational!
    I think you know that I am not doing what makes me really happy and I am slowly working on trying to find out what does! I love that you are so open and honest and look after yourself! Go you!!
    Excited to read what adventures await!

  17. This is EXACTLY why I blog – because my circumstances don’t permit me to to do much more than the occasional freelance article, yet I need to purge all the words that run riot in my head. I need to do something for me.
    Keep doing what you do, you’re awesome xx

  18. Love your passion em and can’t wait to see what is coming for you xxx

  19. I knew I loved you for a reason Em. You’re me! 😉

  20. Excited about your next adventure.

    • PS. Also meant to say I struggled with the opposite at one point. I wanted to cut back and do a 4 day week or 9 day fortnight but whenever I mentioned it to anyone I got strange looks. It wasn’t like I had kids or was studying so why on earth should I not work FT.

      It took a long time before I felt like I was ‘allowed’ to consider cutting back – and yet I felt I constantly had to justify myself. “I’ve worked for over 25yrs and feel like I need a break… yadda yadda yadda!”

      Guess it’s about keeping true to ourselves and not worrying what others think!

      x

  21. Goodluck with whatever comes next. I understand completely xx

  22. This is SO true Em!! There’s no doubt in my mind that we have to do things that challenge us and make us happy.
    Good on you for chasing your dreams xx

  23. Oh I can so resonate with this Em. Sure, I craft & cook, very badly I might add. As for the lego? My son wants to send me to lego school because I’m so crap at it. Do I enjoy doing any of this? Shit no. You are such an inspiration. Having 3 kids of my own now, I seriously don’t know how you do as much as you do without any help from a nanny. How exciting about your new adventure. I’m also about to embark on something that will make me a happier person. I just need to take the plunge. xxx

  24. I think that’s why many of us started our blogs! I worked on and off around my first two kids, but after the third I found it impossible to manage an ‘office job’. Thank goodness for technology though! I’ve managed to find a balance of sorts these days by working from home. But everyone’s journey is different – we are all just muddling along trying to get it right! I look forward to learning about your new venture 🙂

  25. Go for it and never for a second feel guilty. I have six kids as you know and have still managed to keep ‘myself’ separate from my Mum role. I could never be the Mum that is solely dedicated to serving others at the expense of the self – they’re the ones who get in trouble with themselves in all kids of ways.
    Go forth and seek whatever it is that makes you happy – your kids will love you for it. X

  26. Good for you, and good luck with your new venture!! And you know what, it’s the balance that will make all the difference…:)

  27. Being a mum is a big part of who I am- but it’s just one part. Good on you for taking on new ventures and pursuing your own happiness- it sets a great example for your kids too!

  28. Good on you for doing what makes you happy!!!
    Popping on over from #open slather
    xx

  29. I really enjoyed going back to work albeit, part time. I think it gave me a healthy balance in my life. I love how passionate you are about your job.

  30. Thanks for a wonderful post Em. I so get what you mean. I can’t wait to read about your new venture! I need a new venture myself. I have so many plans, I just need to make them happen! Thanks for the reminder about not letting fear of what others think hold you back. We deserve to be true to ourselves, then we’ve got the best chance of happiness, which is the real gift to those around us.

  31. I think you’re absolutely right Emily. Do what makes you happy, and everything else will fall into place. You are amazing x

  32. Em – this is a perfect post, as many others have said, for the sentiments of how many of us feel. You are a great Mum because you need more than parenting and in particular because you give (and get) so much out of your writing.

  33. Applause, fistpump, standing ovation and all that. EXCELLENT post. Being a mum actually has been enough for me until now. But now, not so much. I need something else to support it. Not to replace it. MORE APPLAUSE.

  34. I am not a mum but I am so glad you’re saying this out loud. Mums are so hard on themselves and almost every single mum I know is doing such an amazing job! A friend of mine works full time. She is really good at her job and it’s not just a job for her, she really loves what she does. But she’s always filled with guilt and tells me how she feels like a bad mum for loving her work so much. She feels like she should be spending 24/7 with her son even though she knows she would resent it if she did have to do it. I try to get her out of this guilt cycle but it doesn’t seem to work! I think I’m going to get her to have a read of this.

  35. Well done you for taking this step! For recognising that you need more, accepting this and doing more.
    Interestingly, I never wanted to do more. Mothering can be long boring repetitious days, but I wanted to do it. I probably wasn’t always happy, but when I was, it was perfect. I loved having all these little people around me and spending my day in nothingness.
    Yet now that I am doing more, I want more of more. So, I understand why you don’t say no, even when you recognise the stupidity of trying to fit more in. I don’t miss all the play, instead, I feel guilt of not wanting to play anymore. I’ve moved on.
    Thanks for sharing.

  36. You absolutely have to do what makes you feel more alive. I think in the long term it will probably make you a better mum to your kids too, because you feel more fulfilled. Everyone is different and has different ways that make them feel better about their lives and I think it’s great that you have found a way for it to work for you!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Some days being a mum just isn’t enough for me! from Emily at Have A Laugh On Me There are days when being a mum just isn’t enough for me.  I have always loved working, the thrill of chasing a great story, getting an exclusive and then seeing it in print. […]

Speak Your Mind

*