The crisis we are having, is with ourselves

As I sit here eating my 47th piece of homemade banana cake I started thinking more clearly about the past week.

In usual fashion, each time my husband travels for work at least one of our children get sick.

This week it was both kids. My eldest has unfortunately come down with the flu and has been bed ridden since -her father left on Saturday. I have played nurse all week and barely been able to shower.

They are grieving their father’s absence. Part of the post pandemic hangover of him still working from home.  Like most other families, we are still trying find our ‘balance’.

Personally, I grieve the old days, where life was simpler – both parents went out to work and came home and there wasn’t this confusing mush that exists now where the delineation of responsibilities is unclear and boundaries of parenting and work are all intertwined.

But with this set up, I find myself in a bit of a quandary. I want my husband back in the office – so I can do my ‘stay at home’ role well. Why? Because I want to feel that at least I am kicking one goal in my life and doing it well. I want to prove to him and to myself that I can nail this role too.

-Am I the only one obsessed with this notion?

In our late 20s and early 30s it was about doing work well. Nailing the corporate ladder, ensuring manicures were a regular fortnightly ritual and hair and make up were on point. In our 30s it was about having babies and secretly being pleased with ourselves when they slept through the night.

What is the 40s? The 40s feels like we aren’t nailing anything. That if we are to stay at home and not go out each day wearing the latest Lululemon and heading to our local yoga studio, we are somehow failing this role too.  That if by Friday we don’t have the energy to host large family dinners and we would rather watch re-runs of sex and the city that there is something wrong with us.

The 40s is a crisis of the self.

We feel like we aren’t nailing anything – either work or parenting.  If we have a great career – then we miss out on the parenting. If we parent then we miss out on the great career. If we let our husband parent so we can go to work, then we get jealous when husbands or carers know more about our children then we do.

As a woman I feel like we are constantly trying to prove ourselves. Prove ourselves to our bosses, our husbands and to other women that some-how we can do it all.  Prove it to ourselves that our decision to leave corporate life to be a more involved parent was the right decision, even though the job of parenting is 10 times harder and most days we’d rather hide under our beds then engage in the daily monotony.

So where does this leave us?

At the end of this crazy week – I am feeling more grateful than ever.

Why? I managed not to kill us, to still cook a few homemade meals, to deal with excess sleep deprivation and to do yoga at home with my son.

Today on the way to school I found out he has a crush on a girl in his class.  In a past life, that would have been a moment I would have missed as I would otherwise be commuting on a train at 7am heading in to the city.

So, what is the message? We need to be focusing more on our wins rather than our losses. Our obsession with the pursuit of perfect is only hurting us. Claim the day at hand, and appreciate what is going well – what we have achieved, even if it may not seem as glamourous as it once was.

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