Digital Mum Days: Being Real
The start of my journey as a Digital Mum feels like a lifetime ago but I know that it wasn’t really and my digital footprint would tell you as much; I only started the course with Digital Mums in January 2015 and I was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to work for Digital Mums a short while after graduating. In fairness there’s nothing hugely revelatory here so I’m sure you are now seeking to know where I’m going with this and that would be entirely fair. In the midst of spending so much of my free time and work time on social media, it has been all too easy to edit my existence. I curate and create the content I choose to share and knowingly or unknowingly create a brand. This is no bad thing but, as you will know from other pieces I have shared on Medium, I am a massive advocate of authenticity and every so often I need to be real about what’s *actually* going on in my head.
I had ten lovely days off in August which gave me a lot of free time to process how the last few months had been panning out for me. Without getting granular about it, a large chunk of this year has felt challenging with respect to my personal life. There are times when family duty has felt immense, we’ve all been there. The way I have coped to date is to just soldier on and do my best to compartmentalise. It’s how I have always been at work when things are going cray-cray in life. However, in writing this now, I’m putting it out there that this isn’t necessarily a healthy thing to do and it has taken me years to confess that to myself. This feels big for me.
When so much of your work is done from home, it turns out that it isn’t quite as easy to compartmentalise as it is when you go to an office everyday. It also turns out that you may think you’ve got a handle on certain things when, in actual fact, the impact of your personal life creeps out without you even realising at first. Sometimes you can hide within a remote messaging system but sometimes you can’t, no matter how many winky emojis you put out there.
What I’ve learnt today is that there is nothing heroic about being stoic (rhyme intended) if it’s clear that your professional self is being affected by other stuff you’ve got going on. We’ve been conditioned for so long to think that’s the way things should be done but, as far as I’m concerned, the world of work is constantly changing and, thankfully, stigmas around mental health are being challenged. As technology means that the lines between work and life are less clearcut than they may have once been, it is more important than ever to ensure we put measures in place to manage how home life affects work and vice versa. I took my first step today by taking a deep breath and actually telling my line manager about my home life and I felt a massive weight off my shoulders. At the end of the day, I’m not a robot, I’m a human and with that, I must accept that life’s shade and shine will sway me as I do my best to do my job in the midst of this ongoing digital revolution.