Released On 13th Sep 2021
Julia's blog: Rebalancing
Yesterday, I finally peeled the summer spreadsheet off the wall, the blank physical absence a reminder of the new space in my life: that, at least for now, daytime timetabling is the responsibility of schools - a new school for our eldest, as she starts Year 7, and the happy primary school where our youngest two are now in Year 5 and Year 2.
For nine weeks, our house has been cacophonous. Overrun by children. Some days have been glorious, many others frankly a grind. The cliched juggle is never more true as you stare down nine blank weeks, wondering how those will be filled - how we will adjust from frenetic, finely balanced routines to days without structure, how work and spending time with these lovely young people will co-exist, and for us, in London, all against the gentle background cricketing of the ever tempting Minecraft or YouTube rather than those longed for sounds of warm summer evenings of the Med. Eventually, a rhythm emerges and the days start to pass. Weeks are gone and suddenly - how can it feel suddenly after such a long time? - the First Day photos start to appear, snapshots that fail to convey both the work it takes to get various children into the right kit, on the right day, at the right time, and the plethora of emotions that arise with the return to school.
And what a week of highly-charged emotions it has been. But now the house is quiet. And in a post-covid world that is still adjusting, the change of pace feels too fast, stark. I have been partially working from home since I established my business seven years ago, but I have lamented the Covid enforced absence from offices, the buzz of people, meetings and noise, and never more than this first week of term. There are mountains to climb, but I feel exhausted by the thought of it - knowing too that once they come home, the emotional demands will start, and in this week, more keenly than ever, they will need to be met.
I’ve observed this week the statements posed to my oldest around starting her new school, which mostly centre around how excited she must be feeling. Change can be exciting, but it is, for most people, hard. I feel like my stock answer is that I hate change. I hate the uncertainty and the anxiety, but I’m also profoundly aware that change provides so much opportunity - an opportunity to be intentional, to rebuild, to do and feel new things. So I’m reminding myself to reframe, and in doing so bring to mind a quote by Victor Frankl, the extraordinary Holocaust survivor, who wrote: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”.
As I help my children navigate so much “newness” - friendships, timetables, schools, challenges - and as I navigate my own - new website, new strategic direction, new time, new silence (!) - I am going to try and remind myself of these. Remind myself of the power of one’s own response, and the opportunity that offers to rebalance. Remind myself that with new space comes new opportunities - for growth, for freedom, for them and for me.
Following a career in the City, first as a solicitor and then in an investment bank, Julia now runs an executive search firm focused on flexible roles. She lives in London with her husband, a Trauma and Orthopaedic Consultant (who will hopefully, given his line of work, never work from home…!) and who works full-time. They have three children, aged 11, 9 and 6.