I have failed.
But it’s OK.
Failing at one thing has allowed me to find a better path for myself and my family. I really don’t like the word journey, but it’s a good description for what’s happened over the last eighteen months.
I quit my job as an accountant in a local company, having worked there for over thirteen years. In my mind, I had grand plans of setting myself up as a successful freelancer whilst simultaneously being an awesome stay at home mum to my two children. My son was just about to start Reception year and I had visions of joyful school runs and after school activities, cuddled up on the sofa reading a book.
The reality has been quite different and has been quite enlightening. I’ve ticked all of the cliche boxes, from learning life lessons to being myself. Frankly, I didn’t enjoy being a freelancer and craved the security, and anonymity, of working for a company. It took me a while to actually admit this to myself, and my family, but once I did I felt a massive sense of relief. For me, my overarching goal in life is for my family to be happy and feel loved, and a huge part of that comes from me being happy in myself.
At the start, I felt embarrassed to admit that I had failed at being a freelancer. It seems that there is a growing trend for mums to be self-employed or have a side hustle, and that not having one makes you less of a super mum somehow. I completely admire anyone who can juggle everything, but for me I just can’t do it.
Being honest has been one of the big challenges for me, as well as trying to stop comparing myself to others and my perceived expectations of how I should be as a mum. There’s so much out there, online and on social media about mum life, in every shape and form. Trying to choose which route is right is completely overwhelming and clouds the fact that we can just find our own path.
Every family is different, and as long as you’re all breathing and happy, you’re doing it right.
I read an article a really long time ago, and the message from it has stayed with me ever since. You have to try out a lot of recipes to find the foods you like to eat. It’s such a good metaphor for life, and resonates with me so much right now. Yes, I’ve spent over a year trying to do something which ultimately I failed at, but that experience has allowed me to see what I don’t want to do (and therefore, what I do want!)
Failing, and making mistakes, is part of life. Many of us have turned into helicopter or lawnmower parents, trying to prevent our beloved children from failing or being upset. By doing this though, how will they learn to deal with disappointment or find a positive outcome? It’s the same for us as adults too, if we go through life avoiding mistakes or failures, inevitably we will end up being dissatisfied or frustrated. Taking the easy path is fine, at times, and sometimes it’s the sensible option but it can’t be a long term strategy.