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Can I have it all?

The truth about the juggling act

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By Amanda Griffin Jacob

Last week I guested on Stephanie Zubiri’s TV show, Modern Living. One of the topics that were discussed was my deliberate move of decelerating the pace on my work life. I’ve always been a champion of women having it all. I believed that with effort you could definitely do it all and have it all. I still think you might possibly be able to achieve this but there’s a delicate balance that is virtually impossible to orchestrate. The scale will always slide one way or the other, toward work or family. Some part of your life will always need more focus. If you’re lucky it won’t be at the same time, however, that’s not the way life usually works. All facets of life frequently demand attention at the same time.

My All. The Jacob family (clockwise from left) Lila Mandine, David, Amanda, Kieran, and Kalon

My All. The Jacob family (clockwise from left) Lila Mandine, David, Amanda, Kieran, and Kalon

I moved to Hong Kong to be with David after we got married in 2008 and took a year off to focus on my new husband and starting a family so I pretty much stopped working. When I got pregnant and gave birth I decided to switch it up a little and along with a TV show that I hosted and produced (Amanda, Loving Life) I simultaneously launched a parenting website (Glam-O-Mamas) in 2011. The work tempo picked up again and I was back to working a pretty full schedule with a little baby in tow. At that point it was easy enough. I was able to practice attachment parenting and work without feeling like I was being pulled apart in different directions. That’s when I began to encourage women doing and having it all without the guilt. Here I was able to do everything I wanted to do in terms of work and family life without much strain and I was having a ball. When I fell pregnant again in 2012 I continued to work on my show up until my 35th week of pregnancy when I was no longer allowed to travel. During my second pregnancy I started to feel a little overwhelmed as I was physically tired from being pregnant as well as having to run after my very active two-year-old son. Not to mention the longer taping hours and flying back and forth from Hong Kong to Manila every few weeks. I gave birth to my second baby boy and gave myself four months off before I started working on Season 2 of my TV show and writing a book (Project Mom). This was in 2013 and by the end of the year I suffered from a physical and mental burnout. I had literally taken on too many things and my health had suffered for it. This was when I started to appreciate that doing and having it all was darn hard work. Kalon was only four months old when I threw myself into work again and between the book, my TV show, my website, and his demanding toddler brother I felt like I didn’t have enough of myself to fully give to my sweet baby boy. This was the start of my mommy guilt. I also neglected myself and my health.

In 2014, I promised my husband that I would relax and take it easy so that I could recover and really focus on our two boys and our family. I got pregnant again that year and gave birth in early 2015. Since I’ve had my daughter and become a mom of three, it has been a conscious decision to slow down. There’s only one of me and with three children, it’s a full-on, full time job. Since I am a hands-on mama and that is the way I want to raise my children it was the only choice I had. In Singapore, where I have much less help, I’m the driver, the cook, the yaya, and mommy. Between running the household, being a mum of three, a wife, and trying to be the healthiest version of myself, doesn’t actually leave much time for anything else. That’s why I am happy to have my website where I get to dictate my own hours and have a few side gigs (like writing this column).

As I mature not just as a mother but also a woman I understand that perhaps I can’t have it all the way I envisioned back when I was a new mom. But I also recognize that I don’t really want what I craved back then anymore. The shiny patina and allure of work has dulled somewhat and I realize that my children grow at such an incredibly fast rate. I need to be there for all the moments and savor them as they go by too fast. Right now I’m happy where I’m at—working at a slower and steadier pace being able to fully immerse myself in mothering my three little munchkins. When they get bigger and need me less, I’m sure I’ll turn to work again. But right now I do have it all. My all.

Visit amandagriffinjacob.com now and tell me what you think of the new site.

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