LBK – life before kids! This is a common term that has come up frequently in conversations with friends and family as a mother of 4 kids, ages 11, 8 and 5 year old twins (their birthday is today!). Writing this blog post on my twins’ 5th birthday brings me back to the day when I found out I was having twins. YIKES!!! I remember the fear and shock and utter disbelief. I didn’t think I could do it. How would I go from 2 kids to 4? How would I manage 2 babies crying at once who needed to be fed at once and held at once and changed at once? How was I going to keep our family afloat with so many kids – 4 kids under the age of 6. Well, I did it! It required flexibility and focus and lots of family support!
I am often asked how I manage on a day to day basis. This question then became, “are you crazy?” when I decided to go back to work. LBK, from 1996 – 2003, I was in marketing at a tier one consumer packaged goods company. I spent 8 years working there, 60-80 hours a week, traveling frequently and giving it 110% all the time. Then came the kids! Life changed and I put my career on hold to raise my family. Fast forward 11 years and it was time to go back to work. All four kids are now in school full day and it is my time to get back into the groove. Along the way I did keep my mind active by starting an on-line clothing business. Business got off to a great start and was booming. Then came the twins….. While the business is still up and running, it is basically just sustaining itself while I focus on my family and my re-entry into the working world.
Finding the perfect balance is something that I’ve discovered will always be a work in progress. Even LBK I was always striving for a better balance. I am thrilled be back at work, using my brain, socializing with adults and putting on something other than Lululemon pants! On days when I have meetings it is amazing how many people I see at school pick up or after school programs who comment on how I am dressed and how nice I look. I guess sweatpants and workout clothes just aren’t cutting it all the time! I was recently asked to fill in the blank “My Felicity is……” My answers were overflowing. My Felicity is and can be so many things depending on the day. My Felicity is waking up to my husband and my wonderful kids. My Felicity is starting my day with a fabulously challenging 6:00am spin class and arriving home to my twins waiting for me at the door with smiles on their faces. My Felicity is working some days and having the freedom to run errands other days. My Felicity is being a mom. My Felicity is being a Marketing Consultant. My Felicity is being at the birth of my niece 3 days ago and being Auntie Robyn for the third time. You get the point – life is changing hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and even by the minute. Having the flexibility in my work life gives me the ability to unlock my business mind and to use it in conjunction with my mommy mind. Having the flexibility in my work schedule allows me to still do the things I loved in my LBK world while still doing the things that I love about my LAK (life after kids) world. Being able to do these things all in one day is my true Felicity. I love working on my client projects while taking a break mid-day to volunteer at school followed up by a conference call or meeting and then making it back to school to pick up the kids for our coveted walk home before we all split up again for hockey, swimming, dance, and play dates.
I think the greatest gift we can give ourselves is to continue to find the balance that works for our families and ourselves professionally. Accepting that this balance will never be perfect is half the battle. Being flexible and realizing that this balance will change as our families grow is important too. My kids’ needs don’t stay the same and as result, my work life balance won’t either. Being flexible is what will keep things going and keep us together all at the same time.
Now when people ask me how do I do it all, I confidently tell them – with a smile on my face, and in my heart – I am doing what I love and that’s what works for our family right now! Do I drop a few balls while trying to juggle everything? Of course I do! But I learn from those drops and laugh along the way to keep it light too. I will continue to work on the F’s that make it all work – flexibility, focus, family and finding my Felicity!