TFIF! We’re almost there peeps – the weekend is nigh and I for one can’t wait for this working week to be over. It’s been a long and tough old week both with work commitments and in my personal life. To say I have been feeling a little overwhelmed with everything that has gone on is probably a bit of an understatement! To top it off, Bob has been away now for 8 days so it’s been a bit of a struggle.
I have been sitting here for the best part of an hour now thinking about what inspirational photo or quote I can post for Free Spirited Friday when all I really want to do is write about the personal battle I’ve had with guilt this week. It’s all I can seem to think about so I thought why not write about it – guilt is something I’m pretty sure every single one of you have felt at some point in your life. For me, its a mother’s guilt I’m currently in the boxing ring with and I feel like I’m losing.
People say that when you first go back to work after having a baby you feel this guilt that can completely consume you and bleed into every aspect of your life. Not only can you feel guilty that you’re not spending enough time with your baby but you then begin to doubt whether you’re a good mother entirely as well as a good wife, friend, daughter, sister, person! The guilt can quite quickly lead to irrational thinking and before you know it you’re in a downward spiral of insecurity. Up until this week, I haven’t felt any of this. In fact, I’ve been patting myself on the back at how well I’ve been doing and thinking that working with a baby was a bit of a breeze. HOW WRONG WAS I. This week the guilt has pretty much slapped me, no…..punched me in the face every day and I can feel it beginning to creep into other aspects of my life, not just with India. Whether it’s been Bob being away that’s been the trigger, or teething has been rearing it’s ugly head and I’ve not had much sleep – I don’t know, but I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed with it all to be honest with you. It’s made me really think about how do people make this work? How do you get that work life balance? I absolutely adore Festival Brides, the drive and passion I have for making this business work thrills me but then on the other side of the coin I have this gorgeous 5 month old baby that is changing so much everyday and I don’t want to look back at this time and wish I hadn’t worked. It’s a dilemma I know pretty much all new mums feel – so where does this guilt come from? Is it nature? Is it in a woman’s genetic make-up to be predominantly a mother so when we go back to work every part of our natural instinct makes us feel like it’s wrong. Or is it modern day society? 21st century women feel like they have to have a career and in some cases need too because otherwise they can’t afford the life they need – their child needs. The cost of living is rising and wages aren’t so we have to work.
For me though, its not just about necessity, I want to have a career. I like working and running my own business and I have so many ideas and plans for the future which makes me really excited but realistically am I going to be able to achieve them all with a baby? And then I worry that if I don’t grab the bull with both horns now then someone else will. The wedding industry is fast moving and if you take your eye off the ball you can quickly be replaced by something or someone else. There is so much competition out there and if I slow things down so I can care for my baby then will I miss out on opportunities?
I know what some of you may be thinking…..and you’re right. I just need to grow some balls and get on with it because it is what it is and there are so many other women in my position. Like my Mum said to me in the week, I need to count my blessings as I have so many especially India, who comes in a perfect heart shape and greets me with the BEST smile every morning. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and crack on – I know this. It’s just easier said than done.
If you have any advice about achieving the work life balance then I would LOVE to hear it. Why do you think we feel this guilt and pressure? Do you think there is something to be said for that 1950’s attitude of a woman’s place is at home? Is there a part of every new mother that secretly wishes that she could embrace that 50’s stereotype and stay at home with her baby.
I don’t know whether you have heard of Claudia Winkleman’s daughter whose Halloween costume caught fire last Friday resulting in serious burns. She was admitted to hospital and Claudia missed the Strictly Come Dancing live show to be by her side. In the days that followed, there was speculation in the media as to whether a woman should stay at home if their child is ill or whether she should be expected to work. ITV’s Loose Women spent a good 15 minutes of their show debating this very question. If you have a big work commitment but your child falls ill – what should you do?
In a newspaper article about Claudia Winkleman and her daughter, she discussed her work ethic and was quoted saying that she never accepts work abroad because that would take her away from her children and they always come first. She said that when she is on her death bed she won’t be lying there wishing she had spent 2 weeks away from her family doing that documentary abroad. No. She will be thinking, I’m glad I put my children and family first.
Maybe that’s the answer…………when it comes to work you have to make the choice to fit it around your family. Claudia is testimony that it can be done. She is a woman who not only has a fantastic career but is also obviously a fantastic mother.
My Mum and Mother-In-Law believe its an attitude. You just have to be practical and say to yourself this is the situation so get on with it and in the times that you do spend with your children, make them count. Don’t let the guilt take a hold of you because what’s that going to achieve? Feeling guilty will only ever have a negative affect on you and your babies.
To sign off today I wanted to share with you a beautiful song I have just heard on Lauren Laverne’s 6 Music show which has been the soundtrack to writing this article. It’s called Lonely Night by Richard Hawley.
We really hope Claudia’s daughter Matilda gets well soon.
Have a lovely weekend peeps.