Updated: Oct 26, 2021
For all of us parents, it may seem like a long shot to avoid busy schedules but in all honesty, we are always going to have some level of craze going on. I’m definitely going to open up about the crazy busy lifestyle that seems like a never-ending rat race for us parents. Blink you have one kid, blink again, a decade of our time would have crept passed us without us even realising it.
This sounds insane but it’s true. Only 2 years ago it was 2019 and now we are heading into 2022. Time is of the essence and if we are consumed with busy-ness all the time, then what is the point in living when we don’t even get to enjoy longer moments with those who we love the most?
I recently went part time with my corporate gig, you know took the pay cut and made the decision to spend more time with my 2 year old son. It was hard at first and I always felt that I was throwing in the towel with my career and aspirations but truth is, it liberated me . For the first time ever, I became more focused on my role as a parent and what I could do with the time I had in helping him grow and develop.
I always thought that I could be that go getter woman that has kids, has a career and can project manage her time to a tee. Truth is, I was up until about 2 months ago when I realised that my son needed me more than I needed my ego. The hard truth was staring at me right in the face and I couldn’t believe that I didn’t notice things sooner.
One of the biggest lessons I have learnt whilst being a parent, is that being busy with my own personal schedule, my own personal down times and various commitments I was saying yes to, ultimately compromised everything else. I was saying yes to a lot of things which resulted in my son lacking “intentional me time”.
Yes I was playing with him, getting him all the fun books and toys I knew he liked and would benefit from. I was personally working on his weekly schedule and working out ways I could engage him and help him learn and grow. I mean we were going places, seeing people (when the Lockdowns were lifted) and it all seemed quite alright.
It wasn’t until I noticed that his behaviour was a little off and something didn’t seem quite right. My son all of a sudden stopped talking from 12 month onwards and around 23 months he was very limited in the number of words he would say. He never said much except cried out of frustration by not being able to explicitly tell me what I could help him with.
By the age of 20 months, I knew something was wrong and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but I began to notice that he was significantly behind in his speech and language development. He didn’t know any words at all. I kept saying as the months passed that, he will get there, he will get there.
We went to a well-known Paediatrician who stated that he had speech delay and wanted to immediately get a speech pathologist to support with helping him to start communicating.
As a working parent and what I thought to be a moment of “oh no” for myself in my parenting journey, it was so easy to just blame myself and to think that I had failed as a mother to him and hadn’t been intentionally there all along. It was that moment that I realised that being busy and a go getter was not cool at all especially when you are known by your own family and friends as a go getter and high achiever.
My personal goals and career objectives quickly slapped me in the face as I drove home from the clinic with my husband that day. “What am I doing?” was a hard thought that I literally kept me up all night for weeks.
In that moment, that was when I realised something had to give. Just to list down what I was doing prior to a few months ago. Here is a list of the things I was engaged with.
· Working 40 hours a week at a full time project management gig.
· Running an online English tutoring business where I taught up to 35 students a week.
· Being a solopreneur in doing all the BTS for Real Stuff Matters including, content creating, emailing, marketing, course and lecture creation and delivery
· Enrolled in a course so basically studying in the pockets of time I had
· Volunteer community leader: I’m the President of the Victorian Kiribati Association which involved me doing quite a bit of strategising and leadership work
And of course being a mum and a wife too…
The list goes on but to sum up my big 5 ticket items that were preoccupying my time, you can already see how overwhelming my schedule was. Okay so just a little disclaimer, I am a project manager by profession, so I knew how to project manage my own time and knew how to work around my to do list.
As a result, my son was getting the scraps of my personality because let’s be honest, for us working parents, we are tired after a days’ worth of work. Our brain is muscle and if that is in overdrive with work and other things, no doubt your annoyance threshold will be shorter which means, you can be more snappy and more inclined in getting frustrated at the stupidest things.
Where was my psychological time being spent?
As in where was the time that I could allocate in my thoughts to think about my son and what would benefit him? It was almost non-existent and I used to tell myself that I am doing the right thing by him and working hard for his future. The truth will always knock you out and it did for me.
Little things that I should have been focusing on were also a struggle point. Some of the things included just genuine mother and son time together. You know, those moments, when no one else is around and it’s just you and your baby and you get to perhaps lay on the bed and cuddle, count 1-10 on your hands and have no need to go anywhere but to stay in that moment for as long as your baby wants to.
Those moments were hard for me because my brain was incredibly stimulated with the work I was doing so I ended up in most cases, being in pilot mode whilst with him.
All I can say parents, is you know what needs to change and what needs to give and even though my story may be different to yours, let it be a motivator for you to assess what’s happening in your life and with your children.
Their learning and development are so important and incredibly crucial especially when they are young. All it takes is for you to be there intentionally and ever so presently. Your child needs you more than anything and I encourage you to make the choices necessary to ensure you are giving your time with all the love and patience that can come with it.
Here’s to being less busy and being more present with our children.