By Bridgett Van Oerle, mother of a girl who will believe she can do incredible things! PR, civil activist and urban warrior and founder of BUZ publicity.
It’s a balance, it is that mad rush through traffic to beat the clock to make it all OK!
Do the choices we make really pay off? THAT big question! Can we have it all? As a single parent with no other parent involved, a business owner in the creative field which knows no business hours with a 9 year old daughter who needs her mother, I am constantly questioning if I have made the right choices and am I getting the balance right.
My job in PR in the creative industry means I work on weekends, I work long hours, I travel and my hours are erratic, but it’s my life blood. My job makes me tick, it makes me who I am, but then so does my daughter. She is the reason that I work hard and make the choices I do. The options open to me are often not what I would choose, but given the career I have chosen and the commitments I hold, as a single mother I want to give the best I can to my child.
My daughter needs me, she is growing quickly and I have missed out on many events because of work. When I sit down and explain to her that I can’t make something, I see the disappointment in her eyes, it’s fleeting but I know her, her chin locks and she looks away and says in brave voice “It’s OK Mom I understand that you need to work”.
I feel guilt, swallow the lump in my throat, tears threatening because I know she’s being brave and pretending. I then think how empowered she will one day be, with a good work ethic, learning independence and understanding that women can run the world, they can be presidents and astronauts.
We talk a lot about why I need to work, why I need to give her the best education I can afford and that when it’s appropriate I do take her to work with me, my industry luckily allows for that. She has experienced shows, galleries, book launches, festivals, dance, theatre, knitathons and blanket handovers, the arts and met stars and artists that not many children her age have. In that she is blessed, I hope one day she thanks me.
I find myself co-ordinating play dates and sleepovers to coincide with my travel plans, when I’m working late, having grandparents to stay, to collect and while insisting that my daughter’s routine is not upset too much. Housekeepers who are angels and who do so much more than they should and a network of friends that I am grateful for, have taught me it’s alright to ask for help.
The upside is that when we are together it is quality, focused time, and I make an effort to be involved at school. There are also advantages to being self-employed in that I can duck off to watch a sports match, collect my daughter from school and help with afternoon homework. Despite the guilt I might feel at not always being there due to the demands of my work I am juggling things quite well and also teaching my daughter the value of being independent.