As I took this photo I was choking down panic. Look closely and you can see the cords in my neck standing out with tension.
Just before Christmas I had promised to take my 4yo to Luna Park as a congratulations for 'graduating' daycare and as a special outing together before heading off to big school the next year.
On my way I got a phone-call telling me that the vital component of a major event I had planned for my business that afternoon had fallen through. I was already exhausted and done with 2018. I burst into tears in the car and cried so much my 4yo leaned forward and patted me on the shoulder as we drove towards Luna Park. It wasn't a situation that warranted sobbing in my car but the year was almost done and so. was. I. Sometimes its the little things that bring you to your knees.
I had two choices; I could either turn the car around and go and fix the problem, breaking a promise and shattering my little girls hopes for a day she'd looked forward to for months. Or I could suck it up, soldier on and try and somehow fix the problem remotely. I chose the latter.
I sent off rapid fire emails on the ferris wheel, pausing only to take a selfie and try and commemorate our day together. I spent almost the entire carousel ride on my phone trying to find a way around the problem. Then 20 minutes passed as my daughter chatted to Santa and watched kids having their photo's taken in the Summer sun. I was missing everything, I felt like an asshole.
Luckily the problem was resolved soon after and I was able to have a wonderful day with my little lady. But it gave me pause.
I've seen parents at the park and at the shops, faces buried in their devices and I've thought to myself 'FFS why can't you just be present? You're not even parenting, you're just babysitting!'
School holidays are well and truly still in full swing and many of us have already returned to work in some capacity (I mean, it's all work though right!?)
To the part time work Mumma, who is having a 'day off' from work, only to end up sending just as many emails from the park as she would when she's in the office....
I see you.
To the stay-at-home Mumma, who is trying to figure out how to fill the days that stretch ahead before school goes back without letting them murder each other or destroy you in the process....
I see you.
To the full time work Mumma, trying to juggle who has to take leave to look after the kids, leaving early to make it to vacation care in time, while the other mums are organising play-dates and outings.....
I see you.
To the single Mum, working goodness knows how many hours to put food on the table, while calling in every favour from every friend to make sure that somebody can look after her kids....
I see you.
It's not easy being a parent and I never realised just how hard school holidays could be for a working family. So next time you see a parent with their face in a phone, give them a break. If you can reach out and help another parent for even just an afternoon you might just be saving someone's life.
So be kind Mummas, both to yourselves and to one another these school holidays (and every day). They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes an entire tribe of women to support one another.
This article was written by Kate Hickey for Empower360 Fitness. Kate is a Personal Trainer, Dance Teacher and Group Fitness Instructor. Empower360 specialises in outdoor group fitness and online programs for teens and pre-teens, as well as holistic fitness programs for all ages.
If you'd like more information on our online or teen bootcamp programs, head to our website www.empower360fitness.com.au or for info on 1:1 virtual health coaching contact Kate: firstname.lastname@example.org