If you have been following The Untold Story series, these Life Lessons (and so many more!) are a culmination of the journey and how we have found our balance.
There are so many more good things that can be added to the list. These are my top 4. If you can think of others, please do share them.
Lesson 1 – Staying home with children (under age 5) is much harder than going out to work
I do not mean to start a national debate, at all, WOHM and SAHM contribute significantly to all areas of our lives. I will admit that this feeling may well not be universal, but the majority of SAHM’s I know seriously miss the ability to ‘shut the door’ and have some down time. Equally, WOHM’s wish they could spend days with their kids, finger painting and digging in the sand. It’s not a competition!
So yes, I stand by, going out to work is easier than staying home with children, BUT, having said that WOHMs – all that juggling — that is a super-human task. So which ever camp you fall in to, pat yourself on the back, and remember we are all just doing the very best that we can.
[Disclosure: WAHM – definitely have it best of all!]
Lesson 2: No regrets – Decisions you make at that point in time are the ones best for you then (keep moving forward!)
There will be times when we look back and think, I wish I did it differently, but (and it is always a very big BUT!) there is no way of knowing what you know now, and if circumstances where the same in the future, you then have the benefit of hind-sight and will perhaps take a different path.
But Live with it and do your best and most importantly – Keep moving forward (ever watched Meet the Robinsons?)
Lesson 3: Having it all, doing it all, being it all, is a Myth! (UNLESS you define having it all in your own terms)
Us women, we are too hard on ourselves! The suffragettes ensured that we had equal rights, equal access, equal votes etc to the men, and for that I thank them.
What they did not need consider, and perhaps it was because most suffragettes had live-in nannies and house-keepers (cue Mary Poppins), was that women generally are (very loosely said here) responsible for the household and for the children, not because there are inequalities in family life, but because by nature, women are more nurturing, they are able to multi-task (it’s true!), they do after all, carry that baby for nine months.
Now before you jump on me, yes we are very much a 21st centrury family and share all these responsibilities, but, (again it is a big BUT), I was never asked to go out and earn my keep, I did it, because
I felt it was only right that I contribute to the household income
I felt it was a distinct waste of an education and significant qualifications to do otherwise
I had an image to up-keep, and perhaps most importantly, and now i figure most bizarrely,
I needed to feel a sense of control, especially where money was concerned.
Note here, these are all I‘s, demands placed upon myself, by me. No one else. Do you see where I’m going?
And so how have I reconciled it? I will be honest, it has taken a long long time, a lot of support (thank you DH), a lot of open conversations.
I still have crazy demands of myself (a gazillion things, I want and need to do) but because I want to do them (writing this blog and another that’s coming is one of them). This is closely tied in to Lesson 4.
I accept that money earned, whether by me or by DH is ‘our’ money. Yes it’s still a guilty feeling to spend money on ‘myself’ if I haven’t earned it, but it’s getting better (I suppose it’s like the first time crook, do it once, do it once more and sooner or later, it becomes second nature 😉 I’m not at all suggesting that spending joint money is like stealing!) Oh and haven’t you heard, ‘your money is my money, and my money is my money ;))
I accept that I contribute significantly, whether in the business (that we own jointly) or in the household (where we live jointly) – it is about give and take. Some days I do more here and some days I do more there.
Which brings me to my final lesson.
Lesson 4: Live NOW.
Whether you are a WOHM, SAHM or WAHM, you will know what I mean about this.
The typical scenario of
a) a WOHM is, guilt at work because child is in childcare, guilt at home while with child, because of unfinished work.
b) a SAHM is, guilt when playing with children, because of unfinished housework, guilt doing housework because not spending time with children.
c) a WAHM is, generally a combination of the two above.
So having been at some point or other one of the three options above, I have come to the realisation that the very best we can do is to live NOW. So when I’m with Georgia, I’m with her (wholly, mentally and physically) or I try my very best (you know what they say about multi-tasking?!)
If I’m working, I’m working, full stop. Admittedly, it helps significantly to trust the child-care or school environment your child is in, completely.
So there – my four Life Lesson’s from my experiences. Do you have any more to add?
© 2011, Li-ling. All rights reserved.