We’re walking! How excited am I? Adoti is a few days shy of 10-months but she’s already finding her way down route 11. In typical Adoti style, she’s been walking for five minutes but already, she wants to run.
It’s as if she was on battery power before, and now she’s connected to the mains. She’s not yet steady on her feet so it’s quite funny to watch her zig-zagging around the house, standing and falling down, and getting very amused by her own antics.
I don’t think she quite believes that she can stand on her own two feet and they can take her places. And neither can we, really. It’s miraculous – in the most literal sense of the word – the way children grow. They have an internal schedule, which they follow instinctively, never having to be taught. Amazing.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that we have already started chasing the child around. You can imagine the chaos.
Thankfully, I miss most of it, being at work for most of the day. I’m happy to miss the ensuing chaos but was very sad to have missed its genesis. It stings that I had to be told about her first steps rather than being there to see them for myself.
That’s the dilemma you consistently find yourself in as a working mum. You’re always trying to find a working balance between your obligations as a mother and your duty as an employee. In the end, it is more of an acceptable compromise instead of a balance. One thing will always be more equal than the other. Sometimes it’s work (most times, if we’re honest) and sometimes it’s family.
You hear folks talking about that elusive work/life balance so much that you start to believe that it is something that can consistently be achieved. But there is a growing group of working women who have come to the conclusion – unsurprisingly – that there is no such thing as a balance between work and life.
“The whole concept of work-life balance is bull. I’m still a parent when I walk into work, and I still lead a company when I come home. So if my daughters’ school calls with a question in the middle of a meeting, I’m going to take the call. And if a viral petition breaks out in the middle of dinner, I’ll probably take that call, too. And that’s okay. I have accepted that work and life are layers on top of each other, with rotating levels of emphasis, and I have benefited from celebrating that overlap rather than to try to force it apart,” writes Jennifer Dulski in her commentary, There’s no such thing as work/life balance.
“I don’t believe there is such a thing as “work/life balance. You don’t hear people talking about finding a “family/life balance” or an “eating/life balance.” It’s all life. Work usually takes priority over the rest, however, because work is what we spend the majority of our day doing, it financially supports our dreams, and it’s a core part of our identities,” writes techprenuer Holly Hamann in an article titled Don’t fool yourself; there is no work life balance.
As a Kenyan working mum, I have to agree with both these women. It really is “all life”. What it comes down to is priorities. If Adoti fell ill in the middle of the day, it wouldn’t matter if I was in a meeting with the president himself, I would head home without a second thought. When we’re out of diapers, it doesn’t matter what time of night I leave the office, I will still have to stop and stock up. There are some things that you cannot get around.
On the flip side, I’m missing out on key milestones because I’m working. Adoti learned how to crawl while I was at work. She learned how to cruise too. And now, she’s learned how to walk. Bummer.
Her nanny was so stoked when she was telling me all about it. “This one, madam,” she says to me, “this one we have to record on video!”
My heart got a little heavy at the thought that I wouldn’t be capturing images of her very first step. Only ‘first-times’ are recorded for posterity, I thought to myself unreasonably.
Well, hey. I guess it’s not all about me. Adoti is a healthy, happy child, who is growing faster than her Mama can keep up with. I might not be there with her all the time, but I’ll be there for her for the rest of time.