The Juggling Act
Chloe Kelly is a 25 year old Psychology graduate who grew up in Canberra and attended St Francis Xavier College in Florey. She and her husband Huw Warmenhoven have been married two years.
I AM the mother of a beautiful seven month old baby boy. I always wanted to be a mum.
I was that girl in high school whose friends would regularly be heard sarcastically drawling “yes mum” when I asked if they had put on sunscreen or handed out advice (hopefully this has prepared me for my son’s future teenage eye rolls).
I have also always had a drive to build a career, knowing that I could have an impact in the workplace and the world. For a long time I moved jobs and took on new opportunities thinking that ‘the new job’ would fulfil my sense of purpose. It is only now as a parent that I realise that no job was ever going to fill the spot in my heart that was waiting for my son – the spot that was waiting to be a mother.
When I became pregnant it was my intention to have six months’ maternity leave and return to the job I loved. Despite knowing that I was called to be a mother, I genuinely thought that being at home would be boring and that I would be itching to get back to work. How naive I was. Perhaps one of the most surprising things about becoming a mother is just how all-encompassing I have found the experience. While some days feel long, the joy that raising this little boy has given me is immense.
The thought of going back to work was scary. How would I balance it all? What milestones would I miss? How on earth would I keep up with all the washing (how one tiny human generates that much mess I will never comprehend)? I felt a large shift in my identity, one that was geared to prioritising my family. I could not return to work as I had prior to him being born. My son is so small and time demanding that the thought of doing anything else is near impossible. I am also very aware that as each day passes, he becomes more and more independent, needing me less and less. This bittersweet reality means that as time goes on I will have more time to give to my career and pursuing those goals. This time when he is dependent is, in the scheme of things, so short. And so being present for him is incredibly important to me.
I still have the desire to pursue a career and I am working towards that, but in a way that looks different to what I had originally expected. Motherhood is continually teaching me to be more flexible, more creative and to prioritise my time by doing the things I love. I now hope to do further study which will allow me to juggle my family while developing my career.
Learning to juggle these things will be difficult and at times it will get out of sync and I might ‘drop the ball’. For now, I am excited, about prioritising my family and for what the future holds.