Who offers the greatest inspiration to our kids? Working Mum or Footy Star?
I’d of put money on the footy star…
My primary school aged son was recently asked to participate in writing a bio on someone they found inspirational in the community. Naturally I assumed one of those well know footy players would have been on the list. Or a much loved teacher. The school principal perhaps? Or a grandparent? Or his Dad? The school priest? Or even Chris Martin (my son is impressed with the musical talents of the Coldplay front man).
My son opted to write about me. Me! But why me? Aren’t I the constant nag in his life who monitors all of that screen time? Well the crux of it is, he appreciates the role I play as a mum who has a full time career, the juggle of the 2 roles and the persistence to make it work. Most importantly my mantra “never give up” resonates strongly with him.
A snippet from the bio he wrote:
“The greatest lesson I have ever learned is from my mum. She taught me to never give up and try my best always…
…Mum inspired me by the way she continues her life with three children, a busy job and when she stays up late almost every night doing her job.
I love my mum the way she is”
I share this because as a woman, mother and parent there is always that angst at striking the right balance between raising your family while still pursuing a passion for learning, income earning, career growth and just overall personal achievement. My ambition has always been about a journey of self improvement, a test of how far I can push myself, never settling for mediocrity, a love for learning and focusing on what more can I achieve & pack into this brilliant life. If I am honest it has never really been about conquering the corporate world. And for my son, from a young age, he has known no other mother other than the one that goes to a paid job each day.
There are plenty of experts with advice on who makes a better mother; the stay-home versus the go-to-work Mum debate we have all read about and probably even weighed in on. But who is right? Well, there is no “right” way to be the “right” mother.
An inspirational mother, a role model mother, is one who figures out what is best for themselves, and then makes it work in collaboration with their partner & family. It’s not to say this doesn’t involve some compromise, there has to be compromise, it’s about being ok with the compromise.
My career has enabled me to get to a stage where I can work with flexibility and I am pleased to see so many companies offering “work from home” options. Companies where there is a culture of flexibility, an agile environment, the ability to work remotely and where work life balance is not lip service but real culture. At the moment I can duck off to a morning school assembly with freedom and the knowledge that I am trusted to get the job done. And for my children they get a real buzz from saying “hi” to work colleagues on Skype when I do my evening calls with the London colleagues. It’s not to say getting to this point was a walk in the park. It took persistence. Faith in the unknown. A bit of risk. Figuring out what was right for me as opposed to what was expected and of course “never giving up”.
So to those mums who are working at a career, at home or on maternity leave contemplating the “right” decisions, just remember you can be a form of inspiration to your children, especially your sons by doing what it is that is “right” for you. That is the greatest inspiration and parent leadership we can offer.
It goes without saying I am beyond proud that through my sons eyes I am an inspirational person in the community – that trumps any other career reward or achievement to date.
Note: Working Dads are just as inspirational but I’ll leave it to a working Dad to post!