Our children really are our greatest teachers.
Busy mother, Amy Taylor-Kabbaz walked down her hallway the other morning to find daughter, Greta, 7 playing on the floor with her baby doll.
Escaping the rush
“Mummy has lots of things to do,” Amy recalls Greta telling her doll, that was balanced on her hip and a laptop on the floor beside her.
“I was a bit shocked,” Amy said.
“The whole energy around her was rushing – the one thing I am trying so hard to avoid myself. It was confronting!”
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She was pretending to by a mummy… rushing to work with her laptop, baby on her hip. Part of me gasped – is that what she thinks she has to do? Rush and work and juggle like that? But part of me beamed with pride – yes, we can do both. Yes, you can be all of that. The answer: I’m not sure what she’s learning about all of this. But I hope it’s that she has a choice: She can do both. She can follow her ambition and do what she most wants to do in life. But I also hope she knows she can say ‘not right now,’ and be valued anyway. I hope she knows her worth, no matter what she chooses. X
The journey from woman to mother
For Amy, a mum of three, watching her daughter play at being a working mum, had extra poignancy.
As a writer and coach, Amy literally spends her working days helping women towards their matracensce – the journey from woman to mother.
“So I was telling Greta, don’t worry! You don’t need to do that rushing. You can choose to have a job or to stay at home with your baby or do both if you want. Whatever you decide is okay…”
“In retrospect I probably told her too much and she was probably like, ‘Yeah okay, Mum, I’m just trying to play a game here,” laughs Amy.
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Big changes for women’s roles
Greta’s game of grown-ups brought back memories of Amy’s own childhood and made her reflect on the changed expectations in women’s roles.
“When I played with my dolls, there was no going to work for Mummy – and no dropping the kids to daycare either,” says Amy. “It makes me look forward to the next game when hopefully the dad is staying at home while the mum goes to work, actually.”
A huge part of Amy’s professional philosophy centres around acceptance and turning inward:
“We must start with an honest conversation with ourselves about what’s not working. If staying at home all day and night with your little ones is actually pushing you to your limits (despite it being exactly what you asked to do), it is not a sign of weakness to admit the truth. There is no point in pushing on when you know it’s not bringing you joy, nor is it helping your family,” writes Amy on her blog, Happy Mama.
“Gratitude, connection, purpose: it is possible in the midst of mamahood. It’s right there for us to take. But the way in is through honest conversation. When we can openly say, ‘this isn’t working’, we can finally see our way back from pain. We see the blessings. We’re grateful for this journey. We realise the greater purpose.”
The constant quest for balance
Amy admits the issues weigh heavily as she is still not sure herself what she wants to tell her girls about the word of work and motherhood and expectations of the self.
But she’s hopeful.
“I’m still struggling with what it is I want my daughters to understand about being a woman and mother when they grow up,” says Amy.
“But my daughter’s games also make me realise how far we have come.”