A while ago, I had the great luck to meet Renee Veldman-Tentori, mom to two daughters, social media expert (see her company Zestee Concepts), blogger at Dutch Australian and founder of Professional Parents. In short, she is a person I’d like to call “orchestra person”- someone who can play all the instruments- has a lot of knowledge, contacts, knows everything about everything and does everything. Renee has also developed a model for finding balance between work and family- you can check out her webinar on Nomad Parents.
She has also inspired me to write this post. Because I have it easy, much much easier than many of us moms. I can send my children to daycare, work on my blog and on the Polish blog EgoDziecka, have the time to meet friends, and spend some time with my children. I have just started to offer trainings on intercultural communication. I like it that way, and I am grateful for all these opportunities.
But even I am struggling. Even I feel that there are not enough hours in the day. Even I feel that the time I have with my children is not always “constructive”, or “quality time”. I need a whole lot of me-time. A very scary lot of me-time. I am rather sensitive to high-pitched sounds and crying or whining children are all high-pitched sounds. I also don’t like crowds and fast actions, and children have the tendency to be everywhere, all the time. So this is why I need more me-time, to calm down, to do nothing for a while, to just be quiet, and to do the simplest chores I am not always able to do when the children are at home- and I don’t want to waste quality time with the children doing chores. Cooking is the only exception.
When I first started reading blogs (starting with Dooce.com), I wondered why bloggers were so reluctant to refer to what they do as “working”. I didn’t understand it at all until I saw how much work is involved when running a blog. A lot of that is not even considered “work”. You don’t go to an office, you don’t work nine-to-five, often, you don’t get paid, you just sit at the computer all day, surfing the Internet and writing about whatever comes to your mind. Oh, and then you spend countless hours on Facebook and Twitter. Does it sound like work to you? It sounds more like fun to me. And you know what, it is fun! But it is also work because if you want to do it properly, it requires time and commitment, and hard work.
I am indeed lucky to be living in the Netherlands, where daycares have flexible schedules, where women are encouraged to work, but nobody is shamed for staying at home with their children. I am lucky to have a supportive husband who fully accepts whatever weird new plan I come up with, and who also has a job that can support the whole family. I have a cleaner who comes and helps to keep my house organized. I am hundred times lucky, and yet I am struggling, especially now that the pregnancy has thrown me slightly out-of-balance. I can’t fathom how others do it. I can’t fathom how difficult it must be for people who don’t have the resources and the support I have.
I wish that everybody would find the right balance for themselves- between having a career, having a family and having some me-time, and I wish that everybody would have the support they need to achieve it.