With Mother's day coming up this weekend, I'm looking ahead at the family's social calendar: two kid birthday parties, rugby for the boys, swimming lessons, and train rides. I'm praying to myself for a Sunday morning sleep-in and mentally preparing for another whirlwind weekend.
Often I get asked, "Aasha, how do you do it all?" as if I have somehow cracked the da Vinci code on being a Mum, a lawyer, a wife, an employer, and an owner of one of Hamilton's growing law firms. I usually brush it off with a smile and say, "oh, you know, I'm just really organised", or "it takes a village". The reality is that there is an honest answer behind my nonchalant response, one that I do not often share.
The truth is that the learning curve of balancing both your career and a growing family is steep, a hill that us female folk are not climbing alone – this applies to our hubbies too. The juggle for the modern working parent is real. As you are trying to figure out this circus performance, you hear the placeholder suggestion that "you just need to be really organised" or "you just need to have a great support network". Hear my truth. I don't manage to "do it all", and "being organised" or "having a village" is no quick fix.
The reality is that the juggle is quite literal, and it comes with a shit tonne of guilt. Each element of my life, of what makes me Aasha, my wants, my needs and all other objectives and interests, are a very literal set of circus balls, mid-flight in the air. Naturally, to keep those balls moving in unison, at perfect sequence and pace, my focus on one is always closely followed by the succession of another. It does not take much for those balls to fall out of unison and form. It also means that when I'm focusing on one thing, I am almost certainly missing out on another.
If I'm home with my toddler, who's sick with the flu – I'm letting down my team, misinterpreting a spreadsheet, and falling behind on a project for a client. I'll be trading my sleeping hours, resultingly running late for the gym and often missing my breakfast. Suppose I'm taking an extra minute in the bathroom. In that case, I'm delaying my husband's workday. At the same time, he juggles the kids' breakfast and often meanwhile forgetting about the load of (daily) washing with his (still wet) socks for work. If I stay late for that work dinner, I miss out on bath and bedtime. And while I'm writing this article, I miss that sweet 11pm "dream feed", in the hope that I finish those last few sentences to make my thought-piece complete.
The reality is that this is the juggle and the truth; the words that are often left unspoken.
Regardless, it's a time – it's a season, and I know in my heart it is one that, in the future, I will miss. One day my carpet will not be soiled with dry rice bubbles. My kitchen cupboards will not show the remnants of my son's ink-filled masterpiece. I will arrive at work bright-eyed, calm and without a Mum-Badge. The guilt I've often felt over what I am missing when it comes to my kids, my hubby or my career, will have subsided. My babies will have grown into young men, and I will miss their little fingers and toes deeply.
So, for now, I'll embrace the juggle as the powerful woman that I am. I will tell those that ask the truth that it's hard, that it will tear you inside and out, but that it will be the most worthwhile job you will ever have. You can have both. You deserve both. And by doing so, you're teaching an invaluable lesson to your children and the next generation.
To all the ladies killing it in the name of having it all, happy Mother's Day. Get that sleep-in girl, and enjoy all those moments (even with the guilt) because in the future – they will keep.