Updated: Sep 5, 2019
From the age of 16, l knew that I never wanted to be a mum. Be it a lack of maternal instinct, or the drive for self fulfilment, I just never had the urge for children that my peers had. Everybody told me that I would change my mind. It was inconceivable to people that a woman could not dream of having children. I have been married for 25 years, to the same man I was with since I was 18 years old. I have now reached the age of 45, and people only now believe that I knew my own mind.
I never had a plan to balance motherhood and work. I made a commitment to my career at 21 years of age and have just gone from strength to strength. I knew I had a love of learning that I didn’t want interrupted. The minute I began work, I loved the freedom of working – and I couldn’t see any benefit in adding a child to my life.
I love children, I am one of 4 girls, with an incredible mother. Two of my sisters have children. I have one nephew who is now 24 and I loved playing my part in his development. Recently my other sister had a baby and I am absolutely delighting in her. I have all the fun without any of the responsibility.
Because I had the time to focus on my career and not children, I have been privileged to explore a range of different careers. These include: International Speaker, Award Winning Author, Corporate Trainer and Executive Coach. I believe that I have been able to avoid an abundance of different stressors, simply by not having children. I love a good nap and sleep in. I love having 8 hours of sleep each night.
I believe that being a mother is the hardest job on the planet and I respect, what women do for their kids. It is amazing. However, I enjoy having the freedom to make decisions, without consideration for children.
Personally, I can’t believe that women judge other women for not working. To judge a women for not wanting children is bizarre as well. I believe we should be curious instead. Most of my friends work because they have to. Or don’t work because they have that luxury. Ideally, each woman could base her choice on what is right for her, instead of making it a financial decision.
My mother was a stay at home mum, all my school life. When I came home, she was already ready for me, filled with love. My sister returned to work for financial reasons. My other sister, who just had a baby, is a working mum and couldn’t do it any other way. Big job, big money, great lifestyle and wishes deep down sometimes that she could snuggle up with her little treasure for the day. Weekends are a blessing for her.
With hindsight, I know that I made the right choice for me. I love my decision and stand by it. I just don’t have the focus and patience for that role. I have patience and focus for business, and I’m happy.
For other women who seek to balance family and work, I suggest self care. Put your own oxygen mask on first. You have to look after yourself. Otherwise, you end up no good for anybody else, including your child. Secondly, enjoy yourself. Some mums take the role so seriously. Lighten up for your kids, your partner and find joy and laughter. Thirdly, take a nap in the sun in your pyjamas any chance you can – it’s okay to have a break.
WORDS BY KATRENA FRIEL, “Refresh Your Thinking”, www.katrena.com.au.
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