Juggling, balancing and integrating. A very personal message from the founder of JobsforMumsMalta.com Katja Dingli Bennetti.
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I also have a full time job which requires me to travel frequently during some periods of the year. This passed month and half I’ve been away (coming and going) for maybe 4 of the 6 week period, and as any parent can attest to it’s been very hard to be away from my children. However, hand on my heart, I've also been at my happiest because I have a career I love. My work goals and career aspirations give me great satisfaction, I believe they make me a better mother, wife, sister and friend and of course being a mother brings with it incredible satisfaction which cannot be matched and which I cherish deeply. I have both and for this I am blessed.
Determined to have my own career as a woman and mother has also meant that my husband has had to be involved equally with our children's care from the very beginning, and I cannot begin to
explain how proud I am of him and my children for the relationship that they have. He is truly a fantastic dad.
Now, don't for one minute think that I am suggesting any of this is a walk in the park because it's not! Being a working parent also means that I had and have to accept help when help is needed and available. This sometimes is challenging for those of us who are go-getters and want to do it all themselves, however the truth is accepting help is part of our journey. For instance,this passed week when I was travelling, one of my boys fell ill, he had a reaonable high temperature. My husband did an excellent job looking after him (with some help from mama over the phone) and a dear friend came to my son's aid and took the time out of her own busy schedule to cook a pot of soup for my little one. This reminded me of our JobsforMumsMalta.com mission - Working women must support each other, we have to have each other's back and enjoy the comfort of knowing that we will lift, empower and cheer each other on, even when the going gets tough. So instead of criticising each other and putting each other down, let's all acknowledge that we're all in the same boat - and together we will reach our aspired destination - that is, be exceptional contributors to the working world and also fabulous mums.
My friend's kind gesture filled my heart with joy, however it also sparked certain thoughts which frankly weren't pretty. Am I a terrible mother? (I asked) My boy fell ill and I was away working! I wasn't there by his side. I quickly snapped out of it. No one questions the love a father has for his children when he's away on a business trip and one of his kids gets sick. We don't give men a hard time or make them feel guilty, quite the contrary, we say that they're unlucky for not being there, so, why was my situation any different? My sick child had a parent with him as well, and a mighty fine great care-giver - his dad.
I'm sure so many of you have been or will be in this situation at one point or another. Rememer this, just like I'm not a horrible mum, you aren't either. We're 21st century women, meaning we have a very normal life, one filled with daily struggles, difficulties and challenges that come our way without a moments notice and which we tackle. Just like all the working dads in this world, this is our life and we're doing the best we can.
We're all always be faced with other people's judgements, we can't always win everyone's love and admiration, however ispired by the words of De Seuss 'those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind';. You don't need anyone's criticism what you need is support, love and encouragement and this is what our JobsForMumsMalta.com community is all about.
Today, I've come back from a weeks business trip (again!). I've taken off my suit, dropped my briefcase and I can tell you that I am a happy and proud working mama snuggling her boys right now. We've missed each other, but thanks to my career they have learnt that a woman can be strong, independent, have a career and be a good mother too and for this they will one day make, if they choose to be, exceptional equal partners and parents and knowing that together with my husband I have nurtured such level headed strong determined citizens is something I am extremely proud of.
So everyone, I am not ashamed of being a career woman and frankly you shouldn't either. We should be proud of ourselves, our children, our partners and our support system who care for us tremendously. For those children who have been blessed with two parents, let's make sure that both are active participants in their childhood, as there may be so much unnecessary resistance.
And finally, for the few who choose to judge me, you know who you are, I encourage you to wake up to living in the 21st century. In the meanwhile, I'm off preparing meals so when it's time for me to put on my suit and be the executive career woman I am, my children will still enjoy home-cooked meals made from the heart, because surprise surprise, that's what we working women also find time to do.