Will I ever get the balance right?

I’m nearly in my mid-forties, I have four teenage children (yeah, teenagers. Not toddlers). I’ve been their primary carer their whole lives. I’m also running/developing/entrepreneuring my business (have been doing this in some form or another since 1994). Life is fine and business is fine, but sometimes I just honestly feel like I’m on a treadmill and going nowhere.

I feel like I fail at the so-called work/life balance thing. I’m convinced I don’t spend enough time with the kids, I struggle to find the time to exercise. And mostly, it’s all okay, but occasionally I honestly feel like I’ve not learned anything over the years and am not moving foward.

I’ve always worked. My CV is looooonggg. I worked when the kids were babies and all throughout their childhoods. Without the support of V, my parents and my sisters, I could never have managed it all. And I wouldn’t swap the working for anything because I love it so much. But maybe that’s my problem. I love it so much I could do it 24/7.

I read about the business start-up stories of women with families, and I know that it is supposed to be achievable. Yet I’m stuck in between being in the growth phase where I still can’t really afford to outsource home jobs, and being super busy I have little time for anything but work. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been in the “growth” phase for over a decade.

I look with a tinge of envy, at those people in business who are supposed to be my peers, and I honestly wonder “is it just me? maybe I’m the problem”. But I know for the past two decades I’ve purposely limited myself to work within South East Queensland due to my family commitments. How could I pursue business opportunities anywhere outside of Brisbane and still be home in time to read and sing to my babies?

I have spent the past twelve months ramping up the business activities and slowly building structures, knowing that given that my youngest is now thirteen and my eldest is on his way to university, that I should have more free time for work.

An opportunity has come up this month for me to sit on a national committee for the next three years (I will need to be in Sydney at least six times a year to fulfil this role) and after MUCH to and fro, I’ve decided to jump at it. Only now do I feel like I have the freedom to do something that regularly takes me away from SEQ. And last weekend, I found myself on a plane to Sydney for a Sydney-based client. Ten years ago I may not have taken on this client given the age of my children.

I read somewhere that it took a couple of decades before Richard Branson to build a Virgin to where it is. I have absolutely no ambition to build a Virgin empire. But I like the idea that this journey is a marathon, and while I’ve started out of the blocks a little late, I’m hoping to get there in the end.

This post is a little more personal than I get. I think I was hoping by writing it, other people who are running the career marathon with a little bit of stuff in their backpack, might offer some advice or ideas ……


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