Edith Bowman on being a working mum
The reality is, whether you are a parent or not, juggling everything life has to throw at you can be physically and emotionally challenging.
I certainly feel this being a working mum, trying to navigate my own way while making sure everyone is happy. Sometimes, I’m last on that list. But, recently, I’ve discovered that if I can be in a good place myself, it has a knock-on effect, not only on my family but on my friends and colleagues, too.
IT’S OK TO FEEL GUILTY
I made the decision to be a working mum, and I’m a better mum for doing that. Believe me, I’m far from perfect, but I do acknowledge the importance of having a career, and dreams and aspirations of my own.
That said, there’s not a working day when I don’t feel a sense of guilt that I’m hosting a radio show, doing an interview or writing this column when I could be with my kids. But you know what?
I think it’s OK to feel guilty, it’s natural and, in a way, proves how much you care about your kids.
Over the past six months, since starting work on the Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio, I’ve had to say ‘no’ to other work opportunities. Having gone from a freelance situation to being given a two-year contract does take certain pressures off, but it also takes a while to condition yourself. I’m not great at saying ‘no’, but I am getting better.
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES
Just last weekend, we went out for a Sunday lunch with my parents for a belated celebration for my dad’s 70th, which also happened to coincide with mum’s birthday. It’s always a bonus being together, rather than stealing time over the phone or chatting on FaceTime between London and Scotland.
As we were waiting for our roasts to arrive, my three-year-old son, Spike, turned around to me and said, ‘I’m Edith and I’m off to work!’ If you could have ripped my heart out of my body and stuck it on a spike, it wouldn’t have hurt me anymore than hearing those words. Is that what he thinks? Does he not think of me as a loving, nurturing mother, there to see him take his first steps or teach him to ride his bike, as I have done?
I turned to my own mum who didn’t need to say a word, her look was enough to wrap me in a warm hug. I grew up watching her and my dad work their arses off so that my brother and I could have wonderful opportunities and, yes, a lot of my childhood involved her working, but I also have amazing memories of her just being our mum.
Children can be brutally honest, and it was incredibly hard to digest my son’s words.
Chatting to my mum afterwards she put me at ease by reminding me that both my husband and I provide a great life for the boys – they aren’t neglected, we have a brilliant amount of quality time together and you know what? It was probably a good thing to hear him say that, just to remind me to say ‘no’ a bit more often.
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