Rosie's blog: Balance? What balance?
It is invariably the case that pride comes before a fall (I think) and I am no less guilty than the next person for having moments (albeit quiet ones, mostly) of self-congratulation which inevitably precede periods of feeling that those golden days of having everything right and sorted out, once and for all, were a fanciful dream. Family life has its own lively way of throwing that delightfully-named curve ball into play when one least expects it.
So I’ve spent the last few years being quite pleased with how I’ve managed my job and having two growing boys and being on my own and blah blah blah dealing with bereavement and family illness and the other usual stuff that everyone has at some point, and I absolutely Should Have Known that this is exactly the kind of moment which could be called “pride”. Not strutting around thinking that I had absolutely everything nailed down and immovable, but that I had struck the gold seam of managing all those moving parts in a relaxed way without losing my integrity at work and making my career develop and the boys’ wellbeing being on track and so forth.
But then we had one curve ball, my son’s illness, and another, we moved house; and to move house it meant re-negotiating my divorce settlement, so that was another; then a colleague was struggling with work so his workload had to be managed; and then the summer wasn’t quite as quiet as it normally is, so I didn’t take a holiday and now it’s, well, if you don’t like using the “C” word this early in the year, all I can say is the youngest son is already practising his carols at school (a new school no less, so for him that’s another huge change). Added to all of this, my workload has been increasing, meaning that some of the elements of my role which I have typically embraced have had to take a back seat to more important activities of developing stronger client relationships and doing more fee-earning work (which lawyers among the readers will understand can mean longer hours and more pressure).
I feel as if the last few months I, and perhaps more importantly the whole family, have been enveloped in a manic period where nothing has been remotely normal. Now, new routines need to be developed, new relationships are being formed and debris from the previous few months (actual and emotional) finally can be cleared away. Even the work situation seems slightly more at ease than maybe two or three weeks ago. My ability to get to the gym or go running (keeping fit is probably one of my key criteria for identifying whether I have “balance” or not) had very much been put on hold, certainly since the end of August. Yet in the last fortnight I have been granted more than three indulgent 5 miles in the Autumn sunshine which indicates that a normality is resuming.
It isn’t all that straightforward though. I am not (at least not for a little while) going to imagine that I am doing quite well at everything and that I’ve got it all sorted; being the type of person that is typically quite hard on myself, I won’t allow myself that moment of self-congratulation (just yet), maybe at Christmas (it’s only 10 weeks away, after all).
Rosie is a partner in a City law firm with two sons aged 13 and 11. She is a single parent and works at her office in the City and at home.
Category: A Citymother's Diary