Acacium Group AGENDA network supports Working Parents
Warning some readers might find this content distressing or triggering.
Talin Tasil, Team Leader for Talking therapies, Pulse Mental Health, shares her experience being a parent and working at Acacium Group and the journey she’s taking to support all Working Parents.
Having a baby was never a priority for me. If anything, I am someone who didn’t want children. Unexpectedly, I found out I was pregnant and felt so overwhelmed with mixed emotions. The first thing I thought was ‘what about my career progression?’. Fast forward to three years later, I have a healthy, happy little boy called Kaeo and thriving in my career acting as an advocate for working parents for Acacium Group…
Is it hard to balance work and parenting? Yes, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is a constant mental battle between having guilt “am I giving my child enough love and attention” and “I want to make more money to make sure my child has everything he needs”. Then you have another voice that is trying to remind you that you are more than ‘mummy’ and need to focus on your own happiness! This constant battle is more exhausting than the physical chores such as cooking, cleaning, working in an office and sleep deprivation. So, how can us working parents manage our emotions and make sure you know we are doing enough for our little ones?
First things first, we need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves, with no guilt. Some days I find myself saying to my friends “Kaeo is on a mad one today” then upon reflection I realise that he is just mirroring my mood. When I’m exhausted or not having any ‘me time’ I realise that I’m less patient with him which naturally leads to him misbehaving to get my attention, the guilt cycle begins. I tell him off, he gets mad, I feel guilty and boom- I feel like I’m failing at parenting and want to run back to work where I feel I’m more successful. I have tried to break this cycle and with trial and error, I have concluded that the only way I can stop this cycle is to ensure I get some time to myself. If you’re a parent you will totally understand it’s the smallest things, even lighting candles in the evening and having a hot cup of tea can make a huge difference to how you are feeling. It’s going to sound cliché but our children do not want ‘perfect’ parents, there is no such thing; They just need happy ones. They can sense how we are feeling with the smallest reaction.
Secondly, we can only do our best right? We need to stop comparing ourselves to other parents we ‘feel’ have got everything under control because I can reassure you none of us will ever feel everything is fully under control all the time. We all have good days and bad days but somehow it all works out in the end.
The pressure we add to our already lingering working parent guilt will eventually break us. We all need to realise that we can be still be ambitious and want to be successful in our careers as well as being deeply committed to raising our children in the best possible way. There is nothing wrong with this. Also, I need a break from him too! I’m not going to lie; it is easier to work than be a full-time parent. I remember I enjoyed my first hot drink since giving birth when I came back to the office. A huge part of my identity is being ambitious. Me not being a leader, not motivating people, not helping others and being away from work meant I was not able to be me. Of course, every parent is different. You may be reading this and thinking ‘I completely understand how you felt’ or thinking ‘you’re weird, I wish my maternity leave never ended’, whichever end of the spectrum you’re in, one thing we have in common is we are all trying to balance family life and work.
The funny thing about all of this is that I’m a qualified psychotherapist (a blog for another time), if anything, I had all the required skills and knowledge to control my emotions. So, I decided to just reflect on how I was feeling and work on my thought processes. Overtime, I have changed my mindset to help with the guilt and pressure. It was simple- It is my choice to work; I love my job and I love the lifestyle I’m fortunate enough to provide for my boy so in no circumstances should I feel bad. The reality is that our children are likely to enjoy being without us, spending time with their friends or family, while we are working to provide for their needs (and ours).
From my observations and recent research, children that have working parents are more independent and more confident. Sometimes I forget about the bigger picture and just feel guilty for being a manager for my team more than I’m a mum for Kaeo, but there are many positive aspects to this. Yes, in the short term I’m spending less time with Kaeo compared to how much time I spend with my colleagues, however, in the long run I’m also giving him life lessons such as teaching him to be independent from an early age. He is almost 3 but already he can feed himself, dress himself and entertain himself because I’m generally rushing around doing chores. We always cook together, have dinner together, read before bedtime and have cuddles before he sleeps so the element of quality time and love still there.
Whilst I’m at work, he is learning to be his own person, making friends, learning behavioural skills, helping him make decisions himself. These are all skills that will contribute to his development into adulthood. Also, as role models, when our children see us balance work life and home life, they notice the importance of responsibilities, they are encouraged to ‘chip in’ with the chores and naturally become more helpful individuals. In their future relationships, they learn the importance of sharing household chores, caring for their partners and most importantly caring for themselves.
I also noticed that I was getting influenced by the social media posts of other mums. Without realising, I was getting caught up in photos of babies with captions such as ‘the best thing I have ever done’. To date, I find myself looking at these posts and thinking ‘more like the hardest thing I have ever done’. I always encourage parents around me to post the tantrum, post the struggle, post the bags under your eyes as that is the reality we are facing. Yes, we love our children, but it is not all sunshine and rainbows. There is no ‘perfect’ parent, there is no right or wrong, we are all unique individuals with unique children just trying to do our best to raise good, happy humans. We sometimes lose ourselves during the way, we lose our identities, sometimes lose our partners but like everything in life, we need to love ourselves and be in the right mindset to ensure we can get through the tougher times, as everything is temporary. Before we know it, we will be retired from work with lots of time to ourselves begging our kids to come visit us!
I have a true passion for wellbeing and the power of a positive mindset; being a working parent has been the most challenging time of my life. This has inspired me to create a community so we can support each other along the way. There are so many things I want to do for working parents at Acacium Group; by using this blog, I’m hoping to reach out to other working parents to reassure them that we are all going through similar difficulties. I also want our colleagues that aren’t parents to read this blog and try empathising with us when we are expected to hit same targets, provide the same customer service and expertise but meanwhile have an additional full-time job outside of our office hours which sometimes even goes on through the night.
Everyone’s experience is their own, and whilst I have shared a few of mine, there is so much more we need to share to ensure we are supporting each other in every way we can.
Why not read another member of our team’s story here