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I Really Don't Have it All Together

In June this year I walked across the stage and was awarded my Doctoral thesis. 7.5 years of full time study, all while working full time, running a business and having two children. A dream come true. A dream I NEVER thought was possible. Not even after I handed in my thesis. graduation-12 The 9 months after that have been some of the hardest of my life. Not just ‘work hard’ there has still been plenty of that (though not quite as intense as the thesis). No it has been ‘hard’ because I thought it should be a different way (ah easy?). Because I have still struggled to truly find my place in the world after my thesis and the birth of our second baby who is not even yet two. Because a career in academia is still not really a place for a woman, is more difficult for a woman with children, let alone very young children….and certainly a woman who wants to have it all, like myself, and keep my business going well let’s just say it is really confronting the status quo. Least not forgetting that our family has been trying, desperately trying to find its new normal (yes what ever that actually is) after my thesis too. Our boys emotional needs grow everyday and learning to adjust and cater for that is a very different motherhood challenge, again one which I feel like I didn’t get the manual for. Have I mentioned we want another baby? We know this means firstly a massive challenge in conceiving and in how we plan our work/family life (or some blurred line of it) and the new financial implications. Speaking of money and seeing as we are being brutally honest - to do a doctoral thesis even with funding is a huge financial undertaking. Throw two children in there for which daycare costs more then rent and trying to invest into the business all on our own back (no family inheritance here) with very little family help - the word HARD doesn’t even describe it. Do not get me wrong, this is not a blog for the purpose of ranting nor am I complaining – quite the opposite. This is ALL in our creation. We are grateful for the opportunities we have and know how hard we have worked to get here, even if it looks quite different and certainly tougher than we ever imagined. But being real about being a working mum, a business woman and a woman with a family fighting for her research career, I believe that’s worth writing about, worth sharing. Because being real is what unites us, it is what makes us feel less alone, and we are all struggling in some way or form. Yet I have allowed my fear to kick in. I have allowed the number on our bank account to determine my self-worth. I have allowed certain things from my past and the lack of family support for what we are doing to be what determines how everyone else thinks. It is like I have lost a bit of my voice and I have wanted to shrink back down and not see myself as successful in anyway. Do you know why I have found the courage to be up front about this. It is the thought that there might be another mum out there who just maybe be like me. Who desperately wants to find themselves and their place, who wants to fight for their career, who wants to challenge the status quo for which we get told we have to ‘choose’ that we can’t ‘have it all’ that maybe all the years we spend being educated should put aside. AND yet also wanting to be the best mums we can be. Having the amount of children we really truly deep down want - not what our bank account or our boss or anyone else for the matter thinks we can manage. Knowing that there may just be another mum out there this is why I am sharing this. Just quietly, in New Zealand alone 70% of women have returned to the work force before their child is five. 70% of us. I did an entire discourse on this in my doctoral thesis. So while it is great tucked inside my thesis, these statistics say to me, for whatever our reasons are - that in fact the probability of there being another mum like me is very high. So I am done. I am done pretending I have it all sorted. I so don’t. I am done not sharing with you my dreams....my REAL dreams (insert book publishing deal dreams!!) and subsequently my real fears, my worries, the times I just want to quit – everything - motherhood, business, work, marriage - everything. The times I get rejected or fail or can't see a way through and want to crawl into a ball and cry but can't because I am a mum and somehow you always have to find a way. I found a way in my thesis, it wasn't always pretty but we did it. Right now it's not always pretty either but that's ok too, So here is to not having it all sorted, to wanting to have it all, to being scared and just doing it anyway. Next entry coming soon (hint it will be about my dream to get a book deal!) Xxx Dr Julie Bhosale

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