Being a working mum, there are days when I feel I am kicking ass. Days where everything goes to plan : the kids both slept through the night, I made it to the office before 8am, my boss is in a good mood, my team is motivated, my presentation to the Board is met with approval and smiles, my husband tells me I look pretty and I just signed a big contract that will really boost the P in my P&L.
Those days are precious, but they are rare…
Most of the time, I feel pretty desperate. I am tired, I have dried milk on my shirt from Apple’s breakfast, I forgot to reply to an important email from my boss, one of my colleague spotted a pretty big mistake from my team (and told everyone), I am asked by the CEO how many sales my product did yesterday and I can’t answer because I can’t remember, my parents are pestering me to know if we are coming over for Easter, I yell at the girls because there’s is water everywhere in the bathroom, I get a shot of shame when I realise I have forgotten to pay the cleaning lady and I throw a tantrum when I find out the Amazon delivery guy took the parcel to the Post Office instead of leaving it in my safe place.
I finally go to bed at night feeling like a bad professional, a bad daughter, a bad mother, a bad human being and, when I put my pyjamas on, I realise my tummy is still not flat from my last pregnancy and tell myself I am just fat and lazy. Therefore, I am a bad wife too for not looking better for my husband.
It is like an uphill climb. I rarely feel that I am doing good enough. And I feel both jealous and angry at others, especially in the context of work.
I envy the ones who can just pull an all nighter to stay on top of their work – and yes I know this is a bit pathetic and counter productive too but man, I felt that futile feeling of self-pride and accomplishment once and would love to feel it again.
I envy the ones who do know their sale numbers from yesterday because they managed to sleep for longer than 5 hours. When they woke up, they jumped on their emails to find out how the top line looks. When I wake up, I put a baby on my boob and get my hair pulled by an over loving toddler.
I envy the ones who show up at the office with clean hair, make up, perfume and a designer handbag. I carry a backpack with my breastpump in it…
I envy the ones who can go on the impromptu drink with colleagues and stay late. I need to plan those things 3 weeks in advance and I miss out on a lot of those bonding experiences.
I envy the ones who never have to apologise for leaving a meeting early to go collect the children from nursery. I have to do this at least once a week and people notice.
I envy the ones who don’t have to prove themselves back after maternity leave. Even taking only 3 months damaged my self confidence.
Deep in my pit of jealousy, there is however something I know.
It is that a lot of people are probably very jealous of me.
Not just because I am blessed with 2 wonderful little girls, a very handsome and supportive husband, a fulfilling and well-paid career. But also because I never tell anyone of these struggles. So they think I kick ass ! When the truth is I rarely do. I am catching up most of the time. So I realise I send a very false picture of myself and that I might discourage others who think “I will never be as strong as her”.
If only they knew…
If only I could muster enough self confidence to actually share my flaws and let people know that, like them, I am not a superhero. When I do that, it will be both a very selfish act and a most selfless one. Because only by sharing our weaknesses do we help people build on their strengths.
I may seem like I have it all but the truth is I screw it all. Heh, don’t we all ?
At least I am doing my best. Holding on is all I can do for now. And it might be what makes success in the long run : just keep trying and hold on !