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Did you think you could "have it all?
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Posted 23 February 2007 - 12:36 PM
I keep hearing women in their 20's & early 30s who describe growing up believing that feminism was about offering the ability to “have it all” – career, family, time for a relationship and time for you! Many say they are disappointed when they realize that you can’t really have it all and that the reality tends to be that mothers end up frantically trying to do too much and always feeling guilty because they feel that they are just not doing enough! Is that the case? What would you like teach your daughters to better prepare them?
Thank you to the members who joined us on "Mornings with Kerri-Anne" to discuss this morning. We have had a very strong response on this topic from members - share your thoughts with others here
Posted 24 February 2007 - 07:15 PM
I am 25 years old and have a beautiful, 15 month old Son, Aiden. I work, 4 days per week in a hectic recruitment role, but I have the privilege of being able to work from home on two of those days. This was fine whilst Aiden was younger, but now he is evolving into a toddler, he demands far more interaction and attention, which makes working from home very difficult. Because of this, I am more prone to spending time with him during the day and getting my work done when he goes to sleep. It is this routine that has equated to my constantly feeling guilt ridden, in all aspects of life - toward my Son, my Employer, my Husband and even myself.
I feel guilty that I cannot fully devote my attention to my Son, 7 days per week, because of my working commitments.
I feel guilty that I cannot commit myself 100% to my job and perform to my optimum, as I always did for the eight years before I had Aiden.
I feel guilty that because of my working in the evening, I spend less time with my Husband and my house is no longer consistently tidy and clean.
I feel guilty that due to all of my commitments, I no longer have time to take care of myself to the extent that I used to and that I have not yet lost the weight gained during my pregnancy.
The reason that I feel guilty is because there is a pressure as a woman - that is not verbally discussed, but simply exists - to juggle everything and everyone in your life and manage to perform in your job and generate an income, keep your house tidy, keep your family fed, keep your appearance up and keep your child nurtured.
My Husband is supportive, don't get me wrong, but I wonder why it is that it is automatically assumed by everyone, my Husband included, that it is MY responsibility to ensure that all of these things are done. Why is the same pressure not placed on men? Why do we now adhere to female stereotypes of the 50's and 60's when, predominantly, women did not work and were able to maintain their home and raise their children without the stress of managing employment as well?
I am managing, but I am sure that no matter how well I juggle my life there is always someone judging me for no longer being able to commit myself so fully to each separate aspect of my life. It is disappointing, but because of who I am and he responsibilities I carry, I am prepared to grin and bear it. After all, I have a beautiful child for whom I am grateful every day and despite it all, I am still taking the plunge and gearing up for baby number two, who we will hopefully conceive later this year. BRING IT ON!!!
Posted 25 February 2007 - 09:06 AM
JEA wow your story is so very similar to my own. I also have a 15 month old daughter and I went back to full time when she was 8 months old - I had no choice. With travelling to work, it is 11.5 hours each day and she goes to Family Day Care, which she loves. My DH works longer hours than I do and although we go to work together, he doesn't get home until at least 1-2 hours after us. With everything I need to fit into a day, I don't have time to worry about myself and also haven't lost the weight I put on during my pregnancy because I eat the wrong food at the wrong times - I don't eat enough of the good stuff.
My job sometimes requires me to get in early in the morning, but this is hard as I need to drive my DD to childcare and she already starts at 7am, so getting there earlier isn't really an option. Between DH and myself we usually work it out, but it is a lot of chopping and changing with cars and picking the other one up at the end of the day, etc. in between doing all the other things that need doing. Staying back late is hard too because I need to be get home and pick her up as DH's job is more demanding than mine. My work know this though and are very supportive, which is great.
Then, when it comes to the weekend and I need to clean the house which is difficult because my DD requires lots of attention and my DH loves to catch up on sleep during the weekend. Sometimes I wish I could do the same, but I can't, there are things that need to be done.
I often wonder if I just stopped doing the: washing, ironing, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, bathrooms, feeding dogs, taking out trash, cleaning kitchen, stacking dishwasher, picking up after DD and DH, packing DD's bag each night, bathing and feeding DD, paying the bills and organising the family, what would happen. Would it all fall to pieces or would it just fall into place? I will probably never find out because I can't just sit there and think 'I'll just do it later'.
I do end up feeling guilty because I sometimes get annoyed that I can't do all the things I want to do around the house on a weekend and then I realise that my daughter is more important than housework. I get annoyed with myself for feeling that way.
BTW, we will also be TTC #2 towards the end of the year. I am hoping between now and then we can sort out our finances and I can stay off work much longer than I did with #1. I would love to be home with them until they reach schooling age, but I don't think that will be possible, the cost of living is just too expensive.
I do believe we try to cram too much into each day. I don't know about the expectations of other people - about what they expect of me, but I do know that my expectations of myself are quite high. If I don't achieve what I have set out to do each week then I am annoyed at myself. Whether this is because I feel pressured into what society expects of me I may never know. I just do what I have to do.
JAE and to other mums who are in the same boat, you're all doing a great job and I'm sure we are all appreciated in some way or another.
Posted 25 February 2007 - 12:31 PM
Like the other dedicated Mum's here I strive to juggle a part-time job with caring for my two young daughters aged 1 and 2 and a 1/2, both of which require enormous energy and dedication as well as take care of the house, my girls' additional care arrangements, health and well-being. I agree this is extremely difficult, even if you have a supportive partner and family/friends. God forbid if you actually want to try to have some sort of social life of your own and continue to grow and develop yourself through courses, activities or joining social clubs and groups.
Most of the women I work with suffer from 'Mummy guilt' about the amount of time they spend with their children, the amount of attention and affection they reserve to their partner or what other people think of their mothering. On top of this a lot of my female workmates feel that there is added pressure at work to make sure that family life doesn't affect their work, and so we are working harder and longer hours to keep up with the men and avoiding talking about our kids and taking time off to spend time with them.
The advice I would offer my daughters is to come together with other women to strike a better balance between work life and family life by lobbying for more flexible working arrangements - more part-time or job-shared roles, work from home possibilities and school hours etc and that this be supported and endorsed at the highest level and also to be understanding of other women and their struggles.
Posted 25 February 2007 - 02:24 PM
This is definitely a topic I have given a bit of thought to. I have two daughters. One five year old who has just started school and a five month old. Before these two lovely additions I was a career oriented teacher who had achieved early promotion and was on track towards a glittering professional career. Things certainly changed when baby one came along and trying to juggle my previous ambitions with my new found and loved responsibilities definitely left me with more feelings of guilt than success in either department. It has taken me a number of years to realise that I can have it all but just not all at the same time!!
I would love to discuss these thoughts further but would obviously need some notice so as to organise for my husband to drop off daughter number one to school.
I look forward to your reply.
Posted 25 February 2007 - 03:19 PM
Wow, we all feel guilty don't we? It's just the type that varies! I have a 7 month old gorgeous boy (hereafter referred to as 'GB') and returned to work part time when he was 6 months old. Before GB, I put in after hours, nights and weekends as part of my job as a high school Drama and Music teacher. When I went on maternity leave at 37 weeks pregnant, I was awash with guilt. How would work survive without me? How would Year 12 ever make it through their exams? How on earth would we pay the mortgage without my steady income? How can I clean the house when I can't get off the lounge without a support crew????
When GB landed in our lives, new guilty thoughts arrived to keep me entertained during the late night feeds. Am I good mother? Why can't I breastfeed like all the other mums at the clinic? Why did I eat all that chocolate in the last trimester? Why the hell didn't anyone warn me it was going to be so hard and terrifying?
With my husband working long hours and late nights running his own business I was terribly lonely. I was used to being surrounded by kids all day, with lots of conversation and creative activities. I began to miss work and longed for my old life back. Visiting work didn't help, as I just felt that they had replaced me and moved on - not true of course, but new mums are not known for their rational thinking skills.
So I felt guilty for leaving work. Then I felt guilty for feeling guilty for leaving work. And then, I felt guilty for feeling guilty that I felt guilty in the first place..........which led to a strange kind of Nirvana. I realised that no one can do it all and that's its ok to leave the dirty dishes in the sink and point them out to your husband later. I returned to my weekend sport, and chose not to feel guilty for reclaiming some 'me' time.
The return to work has been hard, as I do miss my GB during the day. But due to financial pressures I had no choice. So, things are a bit more hectic, hubby gave up a day at work, we eat more processed food than before and the house is under all the stuff somewhere - but who cares? We do what we do, not always because we want to, but because we have to.
The perfect mother is supposed to be so many things - full-time mum, full-time worker, wife, friend, cook, taxi service, cleaner, shopper, entertainer, craft enthusiast, interior decorator and my personal favourite - "well presented". So basically, the perfect mother is a very clever woman who has worked out how to clone herself about 3 times in order to get all these things done and look good doing them.
Let go of the guilt girls - our hands are full enough as it is!
Posted 25 February 2007 - 03:49 PM
I'm 32 with a 21mth old girl adn planning our second child. I work one day a week and attend TAFE 2 days a week.I went back to TAFE as where I live in the Mountains it is extremely difficult to get work as a mother. So through extra study I hope to be able to work in a more child friendly atmosphere.
I often feel guilty about not being home full time this mainly comes from my mother in law telling me that mothers should stay at home and husbands go to work. I also wish I could be able to be around my daughter a lot more than what I am I wish I could be the one that is teaching her the things she learns at day care.
I wish I could stay at home but financially it just would not work with no extra money no matter how little.
I feel as though the current generation has it harder in some levels of being a mother than previous generations, not that mothering is harder it has always been hard to be a mother. It's just that there is a lot more pressure to be the perfect mum. A mum that can balance work and family in the same way as previous generations did by only working when husband was home etc or waiting till the children had all gone to school before returning to the work force.
Previous to having my daughter I was working full time in what ever work I could and had done so since I was young and have craved to be back at that full time work atmosphere.
I would love to be able to teach my daughter that there is no such thing as the perfect mum just a well skilled and balanced mum.We can only be as good as we have learned to be. I also would like her to grow up thinking and knowing that no matter what is going on in her life or mine I will always love her and support her.I would hope that she grows to be strong in mind,and spirit.
Posted 26 February 2007 - 12:32 AM
i am almost 36 and a single mother of 5 (3boys 2girls) and i believe having a balance in everything and that just because u r a mum and/or a partner doesn't mean it should restrict u from all that the world has to offer yes we may b mums, partners, sisers, daughters etc but we r also people in our own right and were individuals before we became mums
i balance 1 at high school 3 at prmary school and 1 at kinder along with all the after school sprts and activities
as well i do belly dancing and go to the gym 4 times a week
i have a great mate in my xhusband, but have some hassle with the two dads of my eldest 2 kids
i also have a boyfriend of 4 months so am dealing with upcoming issues of the kids and him relating and the future contact with his 3 girls and x wife
every sunday we have dinner with my parents and have regular contact with my nan who lives in the same town
i am starting prep courses with the hope of doing a law degree next year and am looking to do part time work really soon
i believe a happy mum means a happy household and all too often we put our own needs and desires last to everyone else but we shouldn't b we have every right to our own lives that don't constantly involve our children
i deal with a medical condition (ulcerative colitis) and also medical conditions with my children including chronic asthma and coeliac disease
4 years ago before my condition was diagnosed i had 5 months bedridden in severe pain which outweighed the worst labour pain lol so i now live every day as a new opportunity for happiness and try to b a positive role model for my kids
happiness radiates fom the soul within and if as mums we're not happy then that radiates out to affect more people than just our immediate family
the most important thing is to put things into perspective, keep a balance and learn to say no plus it helps to pick ur battles u have with the kids not every battle is important enough to become world war 3 sometimes u need just to let it go and walk away
surround yourelf with a good and loving support network of people and enlist the help of your kids (they love to b part of it all) and treat urself with the same patience, love and respect that we so willingly give to everyone else but ourselves and then yes we can do everything
i'm no super mum and its tough at times but never would i ever think of giving up my rights to have it all
how can i expect my kids to do and b the best they can if i don't show them the way first???????
good luck girls
Posted 26 February 2007 - 06:50 AM
This will be written quite hastily as I need to get 7 year old DD off to school, 3 month old DS is teetering on the brink upstairs in his bouncer and the 7 year old DS will never get dressed unless I stand directly in front of him and harrass him.
The chance to go on a national show and discuss working mothers and the implications sounds amazing.
It would be really great if a debate/discussion was raised on making child care totally subsidised (i.e zero out of pocket expenses) to working mothers/fathers. That is, if you want to use child care purely to babysit whilst you do your shopping, coffee dates etc etc, you pay full price. Equal amounts of free child care for equal amounts you work. Pre-school being the exception as this should be fully subsidised at least three days per week as they need to be prepared for school.
The idea of fully tax deducting the child care fees is not all the fantastic, and for those who still end up in the lower tax bracket, would be worse off than the rebate scheme currently in place.
The simple fact is, if you are out there working, you are paying taxes and the more taxes paid, the more in the governments coffers. Where they ar going to be shelling out subsidies, they are going to be gaining when not paying for all these mothers who are putting their little ones in for $3 a day and not even working.
Ok, must go as blood pressue gone through roof with little one starting to howl at Kochie (usually thinks he's pretty funny)
Posted 26 February 2007 - 08:23 AM
I am 38 - soon to be 39 - wow where did that time go. I am the mother of a georgeous 6 yo & have a very support husband. I have a bookkeeping business that keeps me busy about 5 days a week - sometimes more, I have also started an online store, www.babeaze.com.au, with a business partner that keeps me busy about 3 days a week. I am mum, wife and step-mum to a great 16yo boy - who fortunatley is very low maintenance for want of a better word in relation to my time. He is a great young man and has accepted me & his sister with open arms. I was fortunate a few years ago to go to a luncheon with Ita Buttrose as the guest speaker. It was a luncheon for working mums - she talked about the importance of working together as a united front to stop worrying so much about increased wages & work on getting child care in the workforce. At the time I thought this was strange as why shouldnt we have equality in wages! Well she is a very intelligent lady & she is so right - if we have roles & work for organisations that see the benefit of providing onsite child care then we could relax a little more, feel a little less guilty & actually spend a little more quality of time with our families. We sometimes forget that we "work to live" we don't "live to work". I am guilty all the time for the time that I spend working away from my family but I know that I am someone that would need to work to feel complete. My husband, who had a mild stroke 4 years ago, is very supportative & without that I don't know how I would juggle. He looks after so much in the household that it helps me not "drop the ball" so often.
Posted 26 February 2007 - 10:14 AM
I am a 31 year old Mum to an 11 month old and also run my own business. I found my business partner (male) to be extremely un-supportive throughout my pregnancy. His view was that I would abandon the business (we started it 4 years ago) and that I would not be able to work in the same capacity for at least 10 years if I had 2 kids. (I hadn't even had one!)
I made the commitment to return to work after only 3 months and left my baby with a Nanny while I tried to juggle 3 days a week of work. My baby was not a great sleeper and also had colic and cried a lot early on. I found it to be very challenging. I was also breastfeeding and having to express at work 1-2 times a day.
Now I am managing a lot better. I am enjoying my work and still have to take some work home, but usually I just have to work harder and get more done in the days that I work. I have had to relinquish some control, I can't oversee everything the staff do and I can't attend all the meetings. My salary is half that of my business partner so I don't feel too guilty.
I love the days at home with my baby but I do feel the pressure to maintain the house, cook meals and do all the washing. My husband is actually doing less around the house than before. It is funny what happens when you have a child. He has taken on the male stereotype as breadwinner (even though I am also working) and doesn't even wash the dishes anymore.
There are so many challenges facing working mums and you can't help to feel guilty.
It is my choice to work. My husband runs a successful business too so he is very understanding of my work commitments. He would probably prefer if I was a stay at home mum, but is incredibly supportive of me.
I don't think there is ever a right time to start a family and working women have it very tough. It is all about finding a balance and knowing when to accept help.
Posted 26 February 2007 - 10:32 AM
Sounds like we are all in this together! That guilty feeling! In this day and age how do we balance it all! With the cost of living there is no choice but for mums to work to help pay the bills. i am a 38 year old mum with three children (6.5 yrs, 4.5 yrs & 11 months). For the last 7 years (up until xmas) i have had home based businesses (conference & event management and Tupperware) which worked quite well. But couldn't have done it without the support of my husband and parents & in-laws. Working from home has its advantages, but as its your business you are totally responsible for everything. Meetings with clients & customers were not always at the most convenient times. I still felt guilty! So i have now stopped my home based businesses and gone back to work part-time (2 days a week - 9am-3pm) in a administration role. Much happier now that i work "school hours". Although now that my 11 month old is becoming more aware - i am starting to feel guilty leaving her 2 days a week - I am very lucky though that my parents & in-laws help look after 11 month old on the 2 days I work. However, it would better finanically for us for me to work more days - but that means child care - a catch 22 - mums go to work to pay for child care! Doesn't really make much sense. Then the guilt kicks in again.
I would love to change my career path and go back to uni to study - but the course i want to do is 3 years full-time plus the cost of uni! There is no way we could do it!
Balancing work (i don't know how full-time work mums do it!) and kids is not easy. Waking at 5am to pack lunches, feed, dress kids - then drive them to before school care and then drop 11 month old at parent then drive to work by 8.45am! By the time I sit at my desk at work I have done 1/2 days work! Then leave at 3pm and pick all three kids up (at different locations) - take them to after school activities (like karate, swimming - then home - cook dinner - homework - bath - bed for them - then you start your night of the rest of the housework!!
Wish i could spend more time with the kids (without the worry of housework and timetables!).
We must remember though - we must enjoy the time we do have with our little kids. Also, our kids are like sponges and watch how we react to situations etc - so a positive, happy family and probably i think the most important. As I sure when they grow up we want them to be happy and positive. They grow so fast and we will wish they were little again! We just all need to try to reduce the level of guilt we have - we are all in this together.
Posted 26 February 2007 - 01:43 PM
I am supermum, and so are most of my friends. Chances are you are too if you gave yourself any credit.
As Mum's we are the first to offer priase to our children, and tell other Mum's how wonderful they are, but we never beliece it about ourselves. I am a Supermum, if that means that I do the best job I can do, and my kids are well mannered, well adjusted kids.
I started a company when I was pregnant with my first child, my family has now grown so I have a 3 year old and 18 month old boys. While my business has grown into a multi million dollar company. I am proud of my achievements - two great kids, a loving husband and a thriving business. I have always only worked 3 days in the office, so I can spend time with my kids, then I work once they go bed.
The biggest lesson I have learnt is too ask for help. I love helping other Mums, and chances are, they won't mind helping you. Plus I traded in the pedicure and got a cleaner. My house doesn't stay tidy for long, but it is clean.
Guilt will always be within a mother, but a Supermum will seize opportunities, share her love with her family and have respect for herself.
Posted 26 February 2007 - 03:10 PM
What's with all of these new members that have been registered for years but never posted? Very odd.
Posted 26 February 2007 - 03:15 PM
In reply to the post that subsidies for child care should be provided only to working mothers.... i while you are entitled to your opinion i find this kind of attitude among working mothers to be highly offensive. i am simpathetic and encouraging to working wothers who have chosen juggle work life with family, i imagine it to be demanding and overwhelming at times. However to suggest that stay at home mothers are using child care as ''baby sitting'' is just offensive. Stay at home mothers are just as entitled to utilise child care as working families. Just because a mother is not in the work force does not negate her right to use child care nor does it mean the demands on her time are any less meaningful than working mothers. Children of stay at home mothers require socialisation as much as those of working mothers. How are we to generalise every situation, what of mothers suffering health problems, PND, single mothers and travelling spouse couples. Are theses motheres not entitlled to some time out of the home (that working mothers enjoy) one/two days a week to be women not mothers??? working mothers often express guilt..or comment they "had" to go back to work. They in many cases have put financial and material possesions at the top of the priority list . Many stay at home mums have downsized homes and cars, stick to ridgid budgets, and forgone many of the perks and comforts that the working mothers are working to have in order to be at home with their children. why should they then be scorned for placing a child in child care once or twice a week.
At the end of the day we are all mothers, what happened to sticking together and supporting each other. it is hard for all mothers and we all feel guilt whether working or not. there are many reasons for utilising child care and to suggest that one mother deserves it more than another is out rageous.
Posted 26 February 2007 - 03:43 PM
I would suggest that this is most likely a topic that really hits home to a lot of us, hence the sudden influx of new members...
Posted 26 February 2007 - 03:47 PM
Fair enough. I was just wondering why the older members weren't as interested.
Posted 26 February 2007 - 03:51 PM
Just bizarre - I have never seen so many long-winded responses from "first time posters" before, either...
Yep *fivestar*... odd.
Posted 27 February 2007 - 08:48 AM
Yes - i have been a member for years and never posted anything on the forum until i saw this topic which i know affects most of us! Also since i stopped my two home businesses in December and my 3rd child is now 11 months i have had a little extra time to spend on sites like this which i do enjoy. Us new members have to start somewhere! Looking forward to reading more....
Posted 27 February 2007 - 11:13 AM
Missymel, I must apolgise if you were offended by my post regarding working mothers receiving fully subsidised child care, however I think you may have misunderstood me.
I appreciate that all parents, whether they work or not, are entitled to place their children in daycare and have some "me" time and never, at any stage was I being derogatory towards mothers who do this.
I however, have only ever put my children in daycare whilst I work, never for me to have a day without them. Personal choice etc etc.
The point I was making was merely that as working and tax paying contributors, working mothers need to be fully subsidised so that at the end of the week, a large portion of their wages isn't forked directly back out to the daycare centre.
Please also don't assume that because we are working, we are Prioritising our lives incorrectly.
Believe it or not, we work just so we can pay the mortgage, feed the kids and keep the electricity on. We, as a five person family, certainly do not have flash cars, go on holidays of any substance nor live on the beach.
This was not about who is the better parent, it was just being realistic about society and trying to do the best by our children.
Posted 27 February 2007 - 01:12 PM
Yes I am a new member and very happy to be, I have always looked to these forums to offer insights into problems that I have found with raising two children and I always thought these forums were about supporting each other. Surely older members should be welcoming comments and insights from newer members...
Posted 27 February 2007 - 02:49 PM
Surely older members should be welcoming comments and insights from newer members...Absolutely! I didn't say anything to the contrary. I purely stated that I have never seen a thread with so many posts from new members amongst only one post from an established member. Settle!!!
Yes - i have been a member for years and never posted anything on the forum until i saw this topic which i know affects most of us!I see this topic discussed on the boards regularly, that is why I found it quite odd that all of these new members popped up. No big deal, I just found it very strange because I have never seen anything like it!
I'm not being nasty, mean or horrible, just observant. (*where's the winking smiley gone??*)
Edited by *fivestar*, 27 February 2007 - 02:52 PM.
Posted 27 February 2007 - 03:44 PM
My guess is like me, it was the email regarding The Kerri Ann show from admin that lead us to this post and perhaps because it sparked a reaction due to the nature of the topic.
Surely the more input by all, old new or otherwise is intersting fodder??
Posted 28 February 2007 - 07:13 AM
What the heck is going on here?????
Posted 28 February 2007 - 08:49 AM
I was highly career-oriented before having my first baby in my mid-thirties. Despite a flexible part-time job and great boss I've had to radically alter my job description to fit in with family life - a process that I found very painful and difficult to deal with. I did think I could have it all but I hadn't really thought through how that was going to work in my situation.
Virginia Haussegger wrote a book called "Wonder Woman - The Myth Of Having It All". It explores the reasons that she delayed having children and tells the stories of other women who've struggled to have it all. I found it really helpful in giving a voice to how I was feeling and it was interesting to read about how other women viewed the issues around combining motherhood and career. I also had a few discussions with DH about it as he couldn't see that feminism hasn't given us real choice without social pressure... until I asked how he would feel if his daughter finished high school or uni and announced that she'd put a lot of thought into it was going to focus on being a homemaker with her boyfriend of the last few years.
I think women of my generation feel a great deal of pressure to combine motherhood and career successfully, certainly that was the clear message as I was growing up. The book I mentioned though has really made me think about the messages that I'll give my own children. I sincerely hope that by the time they become parents themselves, they'll have a genuine choice without social pressure to combine work (or not) and parenting in a way that suits them and their families best.
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Here's a selection of vintage boys and girls monikers which have traditionally been used as either nicknames or given names, from the 1880s through to the 1950s.
Free Printable Activities
Free printable acitivity pages like colouring in, cutting, word finders, mazes, maths activities and puzzles.