Advice Column, Parenting

Making Time For Your Children When Working In The Corporate World

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For those people who know me well, they will know that I call a spade a spade and what you see is what you get….in other words I say it like it is! That way I get things off my chest and can move on, so that I can cope with the next thing that comes my way. There is no fluff!

Reason I am saying this is because I think it is important to be honest with other women who are in the same boat as me, trying to juggle many balls and still be that perfect mother, wife and friend along the way! This way we can relate better to each other and perhaps find some comfort within each other’s crazy life of “being a working mother”.

All full time working mothers will know that planning is key! Being organised and writing lists, checking and rechecking those famous lists and being a magician are the key ingredients to making it work! Oh not to forget one must have a sense of humour and 27 hours in a day! Thinking on one’s feet and making arrangements along the way is crucial. I am a problem solver at work and at home. It is a slight military operation to keep it all together! Who can relate? I am sure many…..

Last night I was at work until 8.15pm and I only got home after 8.45pm. My daughter was already asleep and my son waiting up for me.

After a busy and stressful day juggling client meetings, a board meeting and managing all the projects I am busy with, honestly I was hoping both kids would be asleep ( how bad is that!) when I got home so I could put my feet up in peace for five minutes before I started to pack their bags for the next day, sign all the notices, wrap the presents for the parties, finish a project, find something for show and tell and diarise all the rest of the activities and requirements for the rest of the week! Shew…..

Although I know in my heart that I am doing my very best and more, guilt still constantly eats me up and yes at times I do overcompensate with the kids because of this! Just ask my husband!

Yes this life is exhausting and I am not perfect. There are times when I feel like I can’t get out of bed and that I need a break and there are days that I just want to crawl under the duvet when the alarm goes off at 5.15am!

I love my family first and foremost, but I also love my work and wouldn’t have things any other way! I feel that personally I am a better mother when I am kept busy, stimulated and I feel more motivated the busier I am…believe it or not I do love my crazy life!

However when I am not working, I try to spend as much time as possible with my kids. The week-ends are super important and sacred to us. Usually we take the kids out on a Friday evening to enjoy a meal together as a family with Saturdays being filled up with kid’s parties and some general admin that I can’t seem to get to during the week!

My son and my husband both share a love for off road motor biking and spend most Sunday mornings loading up the bikes and on the track at Zone 7 just outside of Cape Town, whilst my daughter is a real homebody and mommy’s girl so is quite happy to chill with me and tag along to have a coffee and do a spot of shopping. Girly stuff generally.

I also get roped into playing Barbie’s and building Lego (which I must say I love!) with the two of them. The kids love this one on one time.

We try to take the kids to school most mornings and that is our special time to chat in the car. I also try to plan my diary to allow for me to fetch them both at least once a week from school. This is often a surprise for them. To see their happy faces when they see me at the gate, brings tears to my eyes.

During the week, when we get home at a decent hour we make time to catch up with the kids about their day and read stores together before bed time.

My kids have always had both parents working and don’t really know any different. I am lucky to have amazing support at home which I need especially as my husband commutes to Gauteng most weeks.

Being a business owner, I can be flexible and make it work. I try to never miss a sports day, ballet show or gala. I still bake the cakes for the raffle (even if at 11pm!) and lift on outings (thank heavens for IPhone and email on the phone) so that my kids don’t feel it too much. These “small things” are actually a big deal for the kids and I am happy to do it.

Being flexible and being able to be at all of these special occasions means that I often have to work till late at night or early in the morning catching up, but that is a small sacrifice to make, to ensure my kids are happy and well-adjusted and I like to think that they are.

I hope my little ones will grow up respecting the fact that we as working parents made a lot of sacrifices to maintain a well-balanced life for them, in a warm and loving environment. Having a strong good work ethic is important to us and I want my kids to know that things don’t come easy in life. One has to work hard, be ambitious and have dreams to achieve all ones goals. That is my gift to them!

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