Part-time work allows me to participate in my kids’ lives

Last week, I accompanied my daughter’s prep class on their excursion to the local children’s farm. I loved that I was able to go.

You may think supervising 30 five and six year olds at the local children's farm sounds like the day from hell. There was lots of mud. In the animal nursery, the kids kept forgetting to immediately shut the gate resulting in some of the baby animals escaping from their pens and me wildly chasing and catching piglets and goats so I could usher them back to safety. One kid was even kicked in the face by a deer. But I was thrilled to be there.

My daughter's happiness at having her Mum there with her school class was priceless.  She insisted I sit with her on the bus to the farm amongst her little friends who all asked me lots of questions and chatted constantly. She held my hand the whole bus journey and she doesn't usually want to do that. She wanted me to sit next to her on the farm tractor tour and we sat and chatted about what we saw and discussed how nice the animals are and how important farms are to our way of life.

I was thrilled to be there because it was the very reason I have gone part time. My goal is to be able to be there for my kids while still trying having a relatively challenging and interesting career. I guess some would say I’m trying to have it all. Some days it feels like work is getting all the attention and other days I need to focus on my family to the detriment of work. But when it balances out, it is fantastic.

I felt great about being out in the muddy paddocks with the kids and the sheep and the chickens. I had a sense of cheeky satisfaction knowing that whilst I was marveling at the working dog show, right then in my office, there was the clacking of keyboards, and the occasional quiet conversation which was a world away from where I was in that moment.

The change of scenery and pace throughout my week provides my life with great variety. I have days where I can wear my suit and have serious meetings about important things and there are days where I can be in my gumboots and frolic through the paddocks of the children’s farm with my daughter and enjoy her looking up at me lovingly happy that I am there alongside her.

Maintaining my career is important to me, I can’t deny it. But my kids knowing their Mum loves them and values time with them is the most precious thing of all.

By Suzie Thoraval is an online community for working mothers in the professions of law, accounting, engineering and management consultant. Our goal is to put these mothers in touch with family-friendly firms and help redress the gender imbalance in the professions. If you are interested in being contacted by firms please sign up for free here, if you want to join the conversation then please join our LinkedIn Group.

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