Balance first


By Maribel Berenguer

October 20th, 2021

2 minutes read


A call from school

My son started school this year. It was his second day and luckily, I had my personal phone next to my home-office desk (usually it is lost somewhere in the house and of course I never hear if it rings). In the middle of an important Zoom meeting, I saw a call from the school coming in, and I almost had a heart attack. I thought something very bad had happened, and my imagination took the best of me immediately. I had to confront the situation, apologise to my manager, and pick up the phone. I was so  nervous to hear what had happened when  the teacher on the phone said: “You forgot to pick up your son.” 


Too much to do

Recently, I have felt that my head has been overloaded with things I needed to accomplish or get done. I’ve been traveling around and across countries more than I’ve been able to stay at home. I have a (more than) full-time job that requires my concentration and energy for 90% of my day. It is a constant challenge to disconnect and to “forget” about all the emails I still have not replied to, all the Slack messages waiting for me as unread, and all the colleagues waiting for a solution to a problem they’ve encountered. And don’t get me wrong, I find my profession as a human relations specialist extremely fascinating and meaningful, and being able to do it is important for me as an individual.

 

Challenges of a working mom

But yes, in between, I need to find time to fulfill my basic human needs and to remind myself constantly that I am responsible, not only for my colleagues but also for myself and two more human beings that I helped to create. Yes, I am a mother of two kids, aged 5 and 6. I am constantly challenged with just going to the supermarket, preparing dinner for the kids (and not always pasta with tomato sauce), attending school and doctoral appointments, providing my kids with moments of laughter and togetherness, and staying awake while reading them a bedtime story. And I believe I am not the only working mom (or parent) out here struggling with these things. To calm me, I listen to a nice song, try to breathe and prepare for the new and hard week ahead of me, and try to remember to focus on single moments that are the actual things that form our reality. 

How to find balance?

The day I forgot to pick my son from school, I hugged him almost in tears feeling like the worst mother on this planet. But during that day I woke up to ask myself: how to truly find the balance in a world in which we are required to perform constantly, in a society that says “family first” but believes otherwise? It is what we do rather than what we say that will help us and the generations after us to really value the time we have with each other. Our jobs define only what we do and are only one part of us, but should not determine who we are as holistic human beings. So I decided to find ways and make room to really connect with my children when I am with them.

I am writing this story on a plane, having still 7 days of work-related trips ahead of me before I get to go home to my precious family. The first thing I will do when I get home after hugging them will be to get out our Yuyu Starter kit and have a warm, imaginative and loving moment together. Because I think we all deserve it.

Balance first.