That ol’ Work/Mum Balance.

So just between you and me, I had to make a massive decision in the last month that I was really embarrassed to reveal to ANYONE. Last year I met some amazing people in Education and after speaking with a few classes of students as a guest artist, I came to the realisation I wanted to teach design. It was a revelation! For someone that failed their way through school, was given no real encouragement for her future career, the prospect of going to Uni was extremely daunting. But if you know me, once I say I am going to do something, you better watch out because I will stop at nothing to get it done. So long story short, to my amazement at 35 years of age I was accepted to University to study an education degree, and at part time worked out to approximately 8-10 years study..

So after the initial shock that I had actually been accepted, I started to plan out the next 8- 10 years of my life… so I have a 5 year old, an 18 month old, I have built a successful graphic design business from scratch, all on my own, I illustrate a range stationery and homewares, I am an obsessive gardener with a now humungous garden that takes a lot of maintaining, and well I have friends, family and like to leave the house every now and then.. yep sure, I can do this!

I got one week in to my study, when I went through a ream of paper printing out my UNI readings for that fortnight, I was up til 2am doing online lectures, I was putting off clients design work and extending deadlines on design jobs from very loyal clients, I was locked in my office and spending even less time with my children than I already do and I was in tears, constantly.

I dont quit! I never quit! Once I set out to do something I will do it if it kills me. But this had totally defeated me. I had to quit. And I was so shamed out about the whole thing. But just the thought of spending the next 8-10 years like this, made me want to curl up in the foetal position..Missing vital moments in my kids lives, letting the weeds creep up around my beautiful hedges, all to finish that assignment. But I rang the Uni and got the most amazing chick on the phone that just made it all better. Her last words to me were ‘enjoy your babies’. Most of all my family and friends were so supportive and non judgemental, regardless of how much of a big deal I made about going back to school.

Like most mums in this day and age, we really struggle with that work/ mum balance. The guilt from closing my office door to a clingy 18 month old and telling my 5 year old to go away when she tells me she has drawn a treasure map and wants me to look for treasure with her in the backyard, is heart breaking. For those mums reading this, I don’t have to tell you obviously because I know it is something we all struggle with. We strive to keep some kind of identity aside from just being ‘Mum’. I see this every day as all of the design jobs I have done over the last 5 years are for working Mums, with small businesses they have created themselves. Just like me. I am so not one to bang on about this type of thing like I see on Instagram etc, you know ‘Mums rule’ blah blah’ but hey its a tough gig! and we all deserve giant gold stars. I am passionate about my work, I have always been a work-a-holic and I enjoy it. I cant sit back and be a stay at home mum and have nothing for myself. When I had Billie 5 years ago, my Mum said to me ‘its not about you anymore’, I and I thought, hang on a second, Yes it is! My kiddies are my life, but I need to have a life that is for ME too. I need to create, I need to prosper, I need to achieve, its just me. And it’s totally ok. IT IS OK!

So in the end I had to do what was right for my life, and my family right now. My husband is a gem and since being on workers comp for 6 months has been a complete stay at home dad. He is my rock and lets me just do everything I want to do, weather its build a fence, rip out wardrobes, run a business from home, or start a 10 year UNI degree, he’s supportive. He takes it like a champ when I handball the kids to him to make a logo deadline and he is the reason I am able to run such a successful business with two small children.

I love my work, it’s my pride and joy that I have created from nothing. Built up over the last 5 years and now is a full time gig. I don’t know why I wanted to ruin that. This is what I do and one day, when the time is right, I will take on the study. I love my life, and I really mean that. So I am going to continue along doing what I love, loving my life and being happy. xx

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