“Sorry you don’t like your job, Mummy.”
The words came out of my 8 year old daughter’s mouth as I dropped her off at school.
“What are you talking about, I love my job,” I protested.
“Well it’s just that its makes you grumpy, you always have to do work after we go to bed, you yell on the phone and you say bad words to your computer,” she said. “I like it more when you laugh.”
“It would be better if you could get a normal job where you didn’t have to work as much, didn’t have to travel and could do more things at my school.”
This was the wake-up call that I needed.
Not a wake-up call to change my job, but a wake-up call to change the message I am sending to my children. What was I role modelling? That work is a terrible drudgery that makes you an ogre. That’s hardly going to inspire her, or her brother for that matter, to study hard, get a good job and be financially independent.
It’s easy to get carried away in the super busy superwoman single-mother narrative. Some people are balancing impossible choices that make life very difficult. But not me. I have no right to complain at all. I am one of the lucky ones. I was already in a senior role when I had my children, meaning that I am financially comfortable and have earned a level of flexibility.
I have a busy, but balanced life. I work a very full week and travel often for work. But I cook, I run, I bike ride, I play Scrabble and Monopoly, and sometimes I even kick a footy. I volunteer, I have dinner with friends and I even get a moderate amount of sleep these days. I am no Wonder Woman – I have help at home during the week with the kids and the house and my mum is not too far away.
These are all choices I have made and they make me happy. I have no regrets at all about being a modern working mum, and I am privileged to be able to do it my way. But I will regret it if my children grow up thinking my life was a drudgery.
So it was time for me to share more of the joys of my job with those closest to me.
Now I am more like the Mary Poppins of working mums and everything comes with a spoonful of sugar. Hey kids, I had a really great conversation with a former client today and we are going to start doing some more work for him. Hey kids, I hired a new team member today and she is really experienced at social media and has lots of new creative ideas. Hey kids, we had this crazy deadline to get a report written and we didn’t think we could do it, but we shared the work around and everyone pitched in and we got it done. Hey kids, I led a workshop today and gained some really interesting insights from the team.
I can’t guarantee I won’t have the odd rant about some crisis, but really good things do happen every day at work and now I sing and tap dance about them.