Mum. Wife. Daughter. Manager. Colleague. Friend.
Most of us have lots of titles.
I am starting to realise another one I hadn’t yet included. Role Model.
My daughter has just turned three. Yes, it’s a delightful age. We’re just starting to experience her increasing ability to express herself, her burgeoning personality and she’s making her own friends for the first time.
She’s also learning a lot about the world around her. She’s decided she must be married to her friend Oliver because most of the other people in her life come in heterosexual couples. (Sorry about that friends whose families come in different shapes and sizes – we must have you over more often!)
She’s also assumed that my last name is the same as my husbands because hers is. (Umm, nope.)
I am also being asked to share any clothes she’d like to wear to play Working.
Playing Working means picking up my handbag, putting one of her father’s ties around her shoulders, and putting on a pair of my shoes. She then picks up her keys and heads to the front door.
This is life as Miss 3 knows it.
It’s also the age when you start to wonder what she’ll be good at later in life; whether she’s clever, what her strengths are. Her language and emotional intelligence seem good, so maybe she’ll be a psychologist. She seems a tad clumsy, so probably won’t be a professional tennis player.
I’m not too concerned about any of these, but I do want her to have confidence, friends and to always feel that she is loved.
And I am starting to realise how important it is for me to be a good role model to help these things happen.
When I go to the gym in the morning, I’m showing her that exercise is important to me. That I value being healthy and it makes me feel good. (I still love a cuddle in bed on the non-gym mornings though!)
When I go to work, I am showing her that women can be mummies and have a job too. When I take a work phone call outside work hours, as frustrating as it is for both of us, I am showing her that other people value me, that my advice and support is needed by others.
When I have coffee with a friend, I am showing her I’m an individual with my own needs and preferences, just like her.
When Daddy and I go out for an evening, I’m showing her that Daddy and I have a relationship that is not always about her. We go to dinner as a family too, but each of us makes time for a relationship one on one.
Until recently, all of these things made me feel guilty and torn between my roles as Mum and Worker – and Working Mum was all I could be.
Accepting my job as a Role Model has not only relieved my guilt about two roles, but has created a bit more space for Wife, Daughter and Friend as well.
Do you see your life as a series of different roles for you to play?
Do you feel torn between them?