Although I love my kids to bits and love my family life, I sometimes feel frustrated by these things. Trapped, even.
One good example of this is when it comes to jobs. I work part time and I want to do this so that I can reserve some time for my family. So that I can be around when the kids come home from school, so that I can be there when they want a lift to an activity or an event. So that they are not always in after school care rather than at home.
However, I want to continue developing my career as well as offering support to my family. I don't just want to abandon my career, only to find that once the kids are sufficiently grown up, I'm too old and it's too late.
If you are working part time, career development is difficult, as so few roles come up that are both senior and part time. I sometimes feel envious of people who don't have my family ties. People who can move anywhere in the country (or beyond) to take up an opportunity, and who can work full time without feeling that they are short changing another area of their lives.
I have briefly considered working full time again. Focusing on my career rather than my family. But I quickly realise that this is not really what I want. Consider, for example, the recent news article about the woman who juggled a top job in the City with raising a large family. One of her children ended up as a young teenager running amok, mixing with a bad crowd and taking recreational drugs. The woman had to resort to sending her daughter to a US 'boot camp' in order to get her back on the straight and narrow.
That is emphatically not the outcome I want for my children. I want to provide them with time and attention and a steady home life so that, when they leave home, they are equipped to cope in the world and to succeed. I don't want to devolve that responsibility to someone else. And so I continue to work part time and to develop my career as far as I can within those parameters.
Having it all is not about quantity -- having everything, but in fact only focusing on one thing to the detriment of all the others. Having it all (in my opinion) should rather be about quality. About finding the right balance so that you can succeed in all of the areas that you have taken on. After all, what's the point of having it all if half of what you have is, in effect, broken?
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