Monday, 5 February 2007

Little Time

I hate myself for saying that I haven't got enough time. I always recall Anthony Robbins speaking about time, stating the obvious fact that we all have exactly the same amount of time - it is actually the one thing that remains constant.

But we do all have different levels of responsibility.

My biggest struggle in my quest for success is not deciding how best to design my websites, or working through pages of tricky coding, or generating ideas for new functionality. And it's not keeping my paperwork and book-keeping up to date (although I have a strong dislike of these tasks). I was always a nervous flyer and hesitant to give speeches, but when working on an international project I would bite the bullet and overcome my anxieties. All these things were, and are, easy, easy, easy, in comparison to the struggle that I meet with each day.

The largest mountain I have to climb is the constant juggle of motherhood and 'homemaker' (or 'housewife', as it is still politically incorrectly referred to in the UK) with my work.

My family is the most important thing to me - by far - but my work is tremendously important too. These two aspects of my life do not sit comfortably next to each other. They sit at opposite ends of the table, staring at each other in confrontation, both fighting for more space. This fight started eleven years ago when my daughter was born, and intensified two years ago at the arrival of my son. The fight is often inside my head, where I am constantly looking for justifications to my actions and for better solutions to my organised chaos. I have become proficient in the art of multi-tasking, but am resigning myself to the conclusion that there is no real solution, other than to 'make do'.

Many people have big opinions on how mothers should be living their lives. 'If you aren't prepared to look after your children, then don't have them,' is a common one. Well, I do look after my children. My son is actually with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and has been so pretty much constantly since he was born. In addition, he has only slept 2 nights through since his birth, and if I consider the uncomfortable pregnancy, that makes nearly 3 years that I haven't had a good night's sleep. Since there are so many distractions in the day, I do a lot of my work at night, which means it is an early night if I get to bed before 1am in the morning. On average, I'm getting 5 hours sleep each night. Friends ask me why I haven't got bags under my eyes - well, I can see a few wrinkles actually. But the truth is, I am so excited about my work right now, I don't want to go to bed, and often jump out of bed in the morning to get a little extra done before the day begins.

Being a mother with a career is tricky, but it does have some advantages. In fact, I wouldn't be where I was at all now if it wasn't for my children. It was the birth of my daughter that made me reassess my values, completely change my direction in life and retrain for a career in IT. Then it was my baby son that gave me the freedom to remain at home and work for myself - had he not been around, the pressure to go and get 'a proper job' would probably have won in the end. And with two angels to cuddle whenever I am feeling down, how could I possibly complain?

I just have to be ultra efficient. If I can complete everything in half the amount of time, then I can do twice as much - simple!

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