Parent versus Professional, the continuing struggle for balance!
I stood yesterday evening poking holes with a roasting fork through my living room ceiling while waterpoured out on my head and into a series of tubs, bowls and a cool box, (having grabbed anything and everything to hand) I realised that flooding my bathroom was entirely my own fault and I could blame no one else (I did have a minor go at blaming my 22 year old son for standing there watching it rain and not moving to put anything under it, however he reminded me that when I first looked at it I had yelled ‘do something!’ – i.e. I had not taken immediate action either). I had fallen into the trap of attempting to be the smart Director of my own business, a good mum and a competent DIYer and drain clearer, all at once. I’m sure you can see that this was a disaster waiting to happen and on another day when I was calmer and not under pressure, I would have too. The fact is that so many of us spend most of our days, NOT calm and under A LOT of pressure and therefore we make poor decisions, sometimes these decisions don’t matter too much and sometimes they rain a deluge of consequence upon us.
When did life become so full of stuff to do? When did we learn to carry buckets of guilt while trying to do it? Many families now have both parents working and single parents are often be doubling up on jobs. We all say we are working for the sake of our kids, but are all the after school swimming clubs, residential trips and 5 different pairs of shoes they “need” for school really worth it (indoor, out door, up the corridor etc?) If you ask kids, they would prefer parent contact hours. Now, I’m not saying that this means you sell the house; buy a boat and home school your kids while sailing around the world as one couple I read about have done – I couldn’t live with myself in a small space let alone with my kids! But what I am saying is that there is no monetary value worth our sanity.
Another point is that, and yes you can gasp but I’m going to say it, while a lot of me following my dream of running my own business is that it will enhance my children’s lives, it is also to enhance mine. I LOVE my job as a coach and cognitive hypnotherapist! I have no issue sitting up until 1am working because it doesn’t feel like work. I look forward to seeing my coaching clients, I take huge pleasure from seeing them grow and become contented in their lives and I am content working towards creating world peace from Cambridge – I maybe a small fish in a big pond but you have to dream big.
I feel that as parents we are not allowed to say we like working and the higher level you go the more difficult it is to say this. How many CEO’s and executives do you know who say, well actually I find my job very satisfying and a very meaningful part of my life. Aren’t we primed to instantly hate them for admitting such a terrible thing? Then the reverse is also true, those who hate their job and yet have managed to get stuck (and I use stuck deliberately because it's a word my coaching clients use) earning high figures now stand on the top of their personal mountains and see the view isn’t so great from the top. The problem is they aren’t really sure how to get down without slipping, falling and breaking a few bones on the way down. So they tread water neither sinking or swimming and never quite sure when they might run out of breath. This is when my coaching phone rings with cries of 'I'm stuck... unfulfilled... suicidal' etc.
So, whilst trying to run two baths at once in an attempt to flush through the drain (drain clearer mode) that I thought was blocked (I was right and later had to call the drain man anyway and hand him hard cash to clear it – oh the irony) I was also attempting to have an in depth conversation with my two older children (good mum mode), one of whom’s birthday it was and the other just home from university. At the same time in my head (Coaching Director mode) I was deliberating which contacts I needed to speak to, which coaching client I needed to feel concerned about and what topic I would use for my new blog (again, the irony). Aren’t we told to multi- task?! So I feel like irony poked consequence in the stomach and said, let’s go cause trouble. Minutes later I had a sudden revelation that while the hot tap I normally run takes ages, the cold does not and I ran upstairs to see water cascading over the bath like Niagara falls.
In some respects, I fulfilled my goal, as I stood on the chair poking holes in the roof (competent DIYer who knew to do this!), with my que sera sera attitude, my 22 year old laughing hysterically at me while I was drenched, my 26 year old whose birthday it was laughed with us whilst emptying various receptacles (so I fulfilled good mum mode by having fun with them). I did clear the drain albeit through someone else but if you can’t DO, then DELEGATE! Finally, I thought, this would make a great coaching blog about how those of us who love our kids, love our jobs and who struggle under the pressure of trying to get it all right, all the time, will always have times when we find the tide against us. The most inspiring part of the entire episode for me was that I realised that I had been entirely calm and actually in good humour through the entire ordeal. My own coaching skills have paid off and I was laughing, problem solving, working with my team (okay, kids) and thinking outside the box (roasting fork as a tool!) and most of all, making very quick good decisions! I can’t quell your stormy seas and I wouldn’t want to as those waves come with great lessons, but if you’d like to navigate more easier then I can give you a compass.
If you are interested in creating change, balance and fulfilment in your life, do get in touch for a conversation about how we can use coaching and cognitive hypnotherapy to do that.