Ahhh the glamorous life of an editor! This past week it had me mixing business with pleasure at a luxurious boutique hotel in Jo’burg for an awesome three days of conferencing on the rights of children which simply affirmed my choice of a career as a journalist .
I am totally convinced that it is such a privilege to be able to earn a living while being able to address and highlight many social ills that plague our society and to shape discussions around such issues with the hope of changing our communities for the better, if not the entire world. And to have fun while doing it is equally important to me because honestly life is too short not to be enjoyed!
I must admit that I felt alive and empowered among comrades from all over southern Africa as we discussed issues of press freedom and the legislation governing it or rather threatening it in most instances. (And for the benefit of those with over zealous minds that tend to go ahead of themselves, that word comrade is used in its simplest form which means, friend or a person with the same spirit, goal or ambition and nothing more than that although if it must be put on record, I am not afraid to say that I subscribe to the philosophy of social democracy.)
Back to my Jo’burg meeting. After an evening of a rigorous debate on how events around the South African Secrecy bill was possibly setting the gains made on the advancement of democracy in the region back a couple of years, we got down to business the following morning grappling with issues of the portrayal of children in the media and whether their rights have been protected, regarded or even trampled upon whenever they appear in the media?
It felt good to be debating these issues at such a high level media platform and we all learnt a lot, especially that children do have a distinctive voice that adults must seek to find. But the irony of it is that the moment I stepped in my yard I was confronted by that same voice that I had travelled all the way to SA to learn about from my own six-year- old son.
The moment I walked in there was a short celebration from him before he put on his saddest face to ask where I was when he said his lines in a school play on stage? Ouch! “All the other parents were there to listen to their kids but no one was there to listen to me.” I could feel the palpable guilt weighing me down and a lump forming in my throat as I struggled to explain as simply as possible that I had to be at this particular meeting, that had I known on time that he was going to be on stage I would have gotten his aunt to go, that had he told the aunt, she would have been there to watch him and that not being there did not mean that I loved him any less.”
Granted. There are plenty of women out there who have demonstrated that success and balance in family life, raising up kids and career are all attainable, but I don’t want to lie, for an ordinary woman like me it can be a daunting task at times. How do Ideal with it. I let them in my bed and overcompensate by trying to be totally there for them, doing the things they like when I am home, like this past holidays. How do you deal with with the work-children balance, especially traveling for work? Write to [email protected] to share your views.