Helen Skelton made headlines this week declaring ‘the juggle is real’. She’s not stepping back from everything, just from Sunday morning radio slots.
This single mum to three kids has just left her dream job to spend more time with her kids, choosing to stand on the sideline of her eight-year-old’s football pitch, cheering him on.
None of my mum friends are surprised by this kind of decision. It’s the kind of dilemma that faces us every day. We agonise over it at the school gate.
‘How much work is too much?’ ‘What can I do around the kids to earn a little more? It’s got to be flexible.’ ‘How do you manage being a full-time mum?’ ‘How are you and Steve managing [insert latest drama]?’ ‘Can you make sports day?’ ‘How are you covering next week’s school strike?’ ‘What are they doing about your maternity leave?’
Endlessly sharing with each other to try and make sure all our kids thrive. Playdates, outings, birthday parties … And somewhere, hopefully, some time for yourself. Is there a magic solution? A perfect balance?
Helen Skelton’s not the only celeb to be real about the challenges. Stacey Solomon and Marie Kondo, two incredible mums who have made headlines with the organisational skill and desire to help others, have also admitted it can all get too much. Solomon is ‘burnt out’ from social media. Kondo has ‘kind of given up’ on her tidying system after having her third child. Honestly, I feel kind of relieved that even these amazing women have limits.
As an ordained Anglican priest and mum, I stepped back from church leadership shortly before our oldest started school, gaining back evenings and weekends to spend with her in this key season. I still work full-time in a church context but it’s more nine-to-five, with fewer intrusions on family time.
My faith in Jesus helps me in those moments when I wonder if I’ve made the ‘wrong’ decision. I know I can’t possibly get everything ‘right’ (if there is such a thing) for all of my family all of the time. But I know that God loves them, and me, and loves us all more than we can imagine.
I make my decisions prayerfully (sometimes after the decision) and try to build a place where we can all flourish, we can all make mistakes, know forgiveness and we are all loved. I’m trying to echo the kind of relationship God offers me.