Introducing our Director of Joy
Okay... I think it’s safe to say that I’m officially back at work now. And so is our brand new Director of Joy, little Luka Jac Royal.
Watching the very public conversations about a certain working mum unfold, with many commenting about their own experiences of battling mum-guilt, coping with identity loss, feeling judgement, constantly juggling child-care, and feeling generally exhausted and stretched too thin; I personally feel extremely privileged and grateful that my own situation allows for the flexibility and support that we really need to enjoy this time in our lives. But, I wish that this was the norm rather than the exception.
Daddy (Gareth) and Luka are daily visitors to the office. When you have a baby who refuses to take a bottle, they simply need to be nearby for regular feeds. So, while my heart breaks a little bit every time that I walk out the door to head to work, I know that it’s only going to be a few hours between cuddles and now, very sloppy kisses.
It’s not only me that lights up when Luka arrives. All of the office Aunties and Uncles are quick to pull faces and make her giggle, to hold her, and to tell her how much she’s grown since yesterday.
But, this situation only works because everyone is making it work.
I’m not ‘super-mum’ and Gareth, as wonderful and committed to his role as he is, isn’t ‘super-dad’.
Every morning, Gareth and I plan the day; where do we both need to be, what do we each need to achieve, what does Luka need, and how can we shuffle things to make sure that we all make it through the day in one piece. We have to communicate now more than ever before. No matter how tired or drained we may be, we have to talk about all the practical things and check in on emotions.
Every. single. day.
It’s the same in the office. The team generously work around my changing schedules and keep things moving no matter the distractions. Our clients and partners have embraced things too; we often have requests for Luka to join meetings, and everyone is ready to accommodate meeting times that work around her needs.
Right now, this little girl is my top priority. And because people support this for me, rather than question my commitment and ability, I’m actually able to give more of myself to the work we do here.
So far, the changes that I’ve had to make to the way that I work feel like they have only made things better here. The team have all stepped into their own strengths; which has allowed me to focus on mine too. The team feels more connected, the work feels more strategic and creative, and with Luka around, there’s a whole lot more joy. Having a baby in the team has only increased our focus, productivity and creativity. It’s been great for us, and it can only be good for the people we work with.
I know that we have a pretty special community around us. We call them the changemakers and the brave; all committed to making the world a little bit better. But, surely the kindness and acceptance that everyone has shown me isn’t limited to the brave.
Surely we can create more environments that better support families, that celebrate our most precious little people, that recognise why we all get up and do our jobs in the first place; to build our future, right?!
I’m hopeful that parenting can become easier for all mums and dads, no matter their circumstances. But when I look up out of my bubble, I know we have a long way to go.
And in the same breath, I’m also encouraged by all of the working mums around me; those whose kids are grown up now, and those who are just starting on their journey. I’m grateful for everything that we can learn from each-other. I’m grateful that others have proven that it’s possible. And I’m especially grateful for all of the love and support that’s been shown to me.
One day at a time. It takes a village.