Following an RTÉ Hourglass Series live podcast held in The Little Museum of Dublin, RTÉ Radio 1 aired a special programme on the Struggle to Juggle with RTÉ presenter Jacqui Hurley, model and mum-of-four Alli McDonnell and WellNow Co coaches Jessie and Suzanne.
Hosted by Taragh Loughrey-Grant, the women discussed the various aspects of finding and maintaining a work-life balance. While Suzanne and Jessie shared take-home tips for healthy living, Ali spoke about her experience with raising four children, one of whom, Harry, has autism.
Jacqui spoke about her life as a working mum; from creating a family calendar that would allow both her and her husband to pursue their careers while finding time for family dinners to inspiring parents everywhere to be kinder to one another.
On her struggle to juggle, Jacqui discussed how she and her husband manage to prioritise their careers while maintaining a happy home.
“You still love what you do and the ambition is always still there and it still burns, I wouldn’t give it up because I love it.
“You just have to change the parameters a little bit and, for us, it needs as much of a buy-in from Shane [her husband] as it does from me,” she said.
Despite a love for her job and a great support system, guilt seems like an inevitable part of the process for mums everywhere.
“Live sport is my passion and I know that sport happens on the weekends, that was always going to be something that I’d be giving up but I didn’t know what it was going to be like [as a mum] because you can’t know that until you have children and all of a sudden you’re realising that your kids are on the beach and you’re travelling the country to go and do a match, that’s just the reality.”
“A lot of people face different problems in their careers.”
“For me, the biggest part is the weekends and just being away and missing those moments when family time is being created and I’m getting sent pictures from them – that’s the stuff that I find hard but look it’s worth it for me”.
Unfortunately, whether you’re a working- or a stay-at-home mum, it’s more than likely you will face criticism for your situation at one stage or another, particularly from other parents.
“I think, women, we judge each other without even knowing that we’re doing it.”
“You’re standing at the school gate and you’re looking at this lady and she might rock up in her activewear and you’re thinking, ‘Is she coming from the gym? Does she stay at home? What does she do?’ but she’s thinking the same thing about you.
“Sometimes I just wish that maybe we weren’t so harsh on each other.”
“You’d like to think that maybe we would cut each other a bit more slack because it feels like sometimes we’re sort of independently doing it and not even realising it.”
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