Kerry and Cruz as superheroes in a fiery landscape

A guest blog by Kerry Rice.

Mums can’t have it all, yet we continue to try…. to work like we don’t have children and parent like we don’t have jobs. When I was engrossed in celebratory end of year reports, my son, Cruz, penned a letter wishing for more attention from me. At school, a student criticised me for taking a shortcut when creating a lesson resource – a cheat I wouldn’t have used prior to becoming a mum. Yes, I chose to become a working parent but this isn’t the dream I was sold. I love my job and love my son even more but I’d hoped for a throuple, not a love triangle.

Each day I have to decide which balls I’m going to let drop; which plates I’ll no longer keep spinning, and hope that I have a big enough broom to sweep the broken pieces away; the shards of self doubt and splinters of shame. ‘Mum guilt’ isn’t an imaginative name but the person who coined the term was probably a working mum saving time by opting for the obvious so they could help their child with their homework.

I know that I’m lucky to have a job which allows me to do 3 out of 5 school pick ups, reducing my childcare costs and enabling me to take Cruz to after school activities. But, despite what is often portrayed, a teacher’s day is not from 8 ‘til 3. So I wake up at 5am to plan and prepare, and mark students’ work on a clipboard interrupted by cries of, “Mummy, you weren’t watching!”

My son’s asleep right now. It’s the weekend but I want to plan a class trip. Perhaps I should be doing it now before he wakes but then I wouldn’t be able to mention ‘me’. Always the add-on, as if my needs no longer matter. Apparently taking a shower is self care and reading a book is a treat. When did completing basic tasks become something to celebrate?

I’m not sure how ‘having it all’ came to be. No longer the dream of dissatisfied housewives, it’s the expectation for most. And I am clueless as to how it will change because, despite my rants and tears, I still aspire to be both a perfect parent and excellent educator. I know it’s impossible yet I try. I continue on my quest to achieve the unachievable, continue to accept the obstacles and injuries. There’s only one major casualty in this mission though…me!

I believe in helping people be the happiest, most effective and most authentic versions of themselves. Through my work as a teacher, coach and wellbeing expert, I nurture self-belief and self-awareness and remind you that not only are you not alone, but you have more control than you might imagine. You deserve, not just to survive, but to thrive.

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