I am a project manager in conferencing and events. Some people think that is glamorous. I meet lots of people, am always travelling and staying in hotels, experiencing the best restaurants, etc. Here’s a heads up – it’s not rated the 5th most stressful job in the world for nothing. There is nothing glamorous about it and I am pretty much a glorified slave in high heel shoes with make-up on, going the extra mile and extending myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. It is a extremely stressful and most certainly exhausting. Yes, I am a busy business mom.
So why do I do it? I have asked myself the very same question a number of times and I always come to the same conclusion – I love what I do. Yes, it’s killing me and I may head towards heart failure or a stroke of some sorts, and yet I keep coming back for more. There are many times I have considered throwing in the towel and trying out another career path. But something keeps happening to keep me on this path.
Not for sissies
Conferencing and events is definitely not for sissies. It takes a certain amount of inner strength, an extreme quantity of tenacity and a balance between creativity and analytical thinking – never mind those critical “inter-personal skills”. Many people don’t last long in this industry.
Managing and preparing for a conference is an unforgiving business. If you miss a deadline, most times you cannot “catch it up” and it lands up having disastrous consequences. You only need to miss one of those critical deadlines to have a lesson learnt for the rest of your life – don’t ever miss a deadline again!!!! It’s seriously bad for your mental and physical health and it can cost your business in a big way.
Being a mom
Here’s the thing – I have the 5th most stressful job in the world – and four children – all boys! What was I thinking?? Yes, sometimes I think I had a stroke of madness or a momentary lapse of reason. But most times, those four boys are what drives me to carry on and push through the difficult times. They are my motivation.
I was saying to someone yesterday that somehow my boys have grown up all right, despite me being a busy business mom. They are doing well, and are fairly well-balanced. But I feel I almost had nothing to do with it. Somehow they grew up and I was missing. Too busy to focus on the details of bringing up children. Constantly working – day and night, weekends, public holidays and even when I was on honeymoon I was checking my mail.
My biggest regret is that I don’t have the time to spend with my boys like other Moms have. One of my clients who was in the advertising industry once said to me “Caro, it’s not about how much time you spend with them, it’s more about what you do with them when you do have some time.” Quality time is everything, not quantity.
With life being what it is today and the cost of living escalating at a rate of knots, more and more Moms are being forced to work and leave their little ones in the care of someone else so that they can earn a living to create the lifestyle for their kids that they so badly want. I have four kids – I didn’t stop at two – that would be way too easy. I enjoy a challenge. And I am determined to offer them the opportunities and lifestyle that I never had. That’s why I work so hard and that’s what keeps me going in this industry.
My dreams are on hold
Yes, I do have my dreams, but they are on hold for a bit until my children are out of school. Many people start a new career at retirement and nothing is going to stop me from achieving my life dreams. However, for now, my most important job is my children – and staying in conferencing and events gives me the best option right now for providing for them. So I am here to stay – for a bit longer.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do learn something new every day. Even though I am still in the industry, I have started learning and improving my skillset so that I have something to fall back on if this goes all pear shaped. Every day I wake up and I am grateful for the opportunities that are placed before me. I am blessed with a good job that is stable and I am blessed with four amazing children.
If you have a similar story and would like to share it with us, please do so – and if you have any tips on how to balance this work – life – children thing please share. I am sure there are thousands of moms out there who are in a similar boat to myself who are dying to find a solution to this balancing act. We can support one another and help and encourage each other. Let’s start the conversation.