We make lots of choices in life, don't we.
Some of my choices include:
- To be a mum (I have 2 beautiful daughters, Mac:10 yrs & Matty: 8yrs).
- To be a working mother.
- To leave the safety of corporate world and run my own business.
- To partner with amazing clients all around Australia & the world, so YES this inevitably means;
- I choose to accept that I will travel for work.
The most common question I get asked when I am away (from women & men) is:
“So who looks after the kids when you are away?”
I like to believe the intention of the question is harmless vs. malicious. Possibly even empathetic to my poor mother-less children, concerned they might be left at home to fend for themselves whilst I am off gallivanting the country. Or it simply confusion as to who could possibly run the household and look after the children if, I, the mother is absent from home?
I’ve lost count how many times I get asked this question!
I'm not sure what I am meant to feel when I'm asked this? Should it be guilt? Or maybe I’m meant to feel fortunate? What I end up experiencing is confusion. I simply wonder, Why would you ask me that? Last time I checked, my kids had two parents!
It makes me wonder:
Do working fathers get asked this same question?
Do CEO’s who travel the world for weeks at a time get asked: “who looks after the kids when you are away?”
I pose this with sincere curiosity.
My naive mind, may simply be assuming that only working, travelling mothers get asked this question. Yet my experienced mind, can’t help but wonder if I'm spot on?
Why is that people are so shocked that working mothers can leave their offspring to pursue paid work, yet men have been doing this for centuries without a question?
Why is it also that we don’t give any credit or support to working fathers who want to care for their own children and support their wives at the same time?
Upon reflection, I have learnt this as a working mum:
- Our partners and our children are WAY more capable than what we sometimes give them credit for.
- They can make the beds, get their breakfast, make lunches, pack their schoolbags, get dressed, do their hair and hopefully make it safely through the day, without us.
- They CAN be independent! They CAN step up!
- Sometimes us mums just need to let go and allow them the space and opportunity to do it.
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean it's easy for anyone.
Sure there at times, that dad might muck up the ballet bun, or no one can find the missing library book (that I packed away in a safe spot), and getting to work on time with school drop off, well that’s a nightmare! So absolutely, it takes some serious organisation, co-operation and asking for help.
Let’s face it, the balancing act for any working parent (paid or unpaid) is bloody challenging at times. Whether we are the ones at home working or the ones away from home working, it’s a juggle. But it’s not a competition, it needs to be a collaboration. To support each other, in whatever role we play and quit judging others in the meantime.
Oh and in case you were wondering how I respond. My response is always the same;
“Their very capable, loving father, looks after our children. Thanks for asking!”
Until next time.
BLYTHE ROWE & Her Life on Heels.
The founder & director of Human Incite, is widely recognised for her passion, energy and her ability to shake things up. Blythe is brilliant at revving-up productivity & performance in organisations. Her passion made her to be an advocate in creating sustainable behavioural changes & creating meaningful relationships both personally and professionally with her most recent Keynote 'Science of Connection'. Her enthusiasm simply is infectious.