I began the journey of the Master of Studies on Sustainability Leadership with my second baby on the way.
While I do not intend this post to become a “fanatic-mama-type blog”, there are some reflections that I would like to share.
I often question whether I made the right decision, to embark on such a journey at this point in my life, with a small child and a baby about to be born.
I decided to pursue the Masters because professionally, I am responsible for a business leaders sustainability group Líderes+1 (past post) and it seemed a unique opportunity and perfect match to combine both, a relevant learning and practical experience at the same time. However, the family variable was not weighed that thoroughly into the equation.
Baby V is a tiny angel who wakes up smiling most of the time. Little S is a sweet, fun and energetic three-year-old girl. I have a loving and understanding husband, who still, once in a while, complains about the time I spend in front of my computer.
Considering where I am now, halfway through the programme, I acknowledge this is one of the most challenging and at the same time enriching experiences of my life.
If I had to choose the main lessons learned so far, that complement my sustainability challenges and professional journey, these would be collaboration and connection.
One of the main challenges of this experience is time management and balancing life: family + work + studies.
Given that Baby V is not yet on a regular feeding schedule (he is still breastfeeding), my working hours are still flexible. Although I am somewhat used to the lack of sleep and have become a master at multi-tasking, it is sometimes very difficult to be efficient and concentrate for more than two hours, because the kids need their mom.
I acknowledge it would be impossible to do it all without help. I am so thankful for my mother’s support and help at home. Also, the fact that I am able to work from home, and manage my own time is important. Probably I could not do it all on a regular office schedule. All my respect to single moms who have to work full time because they have no other option, plus the fact that they compete with men that usually do not have the same responsibilities. What a challenge!
A valuable lesson is that, no matter how independent and dedicated we are, it is ok to ask for help. And this can translate to our sustainability challenges, involving companies, colleagues, stakeholders and more. Collaboration is necessary and essential to succeed.
Little S was born through a C-section and baby V was delivered through natural birth. While I think of myself as a strong, confident woman, natural birth was a revolution that exposed my (not always evident) fragility. I was mobilized and humbled by my own vulnerability. It has been a life-changing experience that connected me with my primitive, animal side. Although I describe myself as an environmentalist, given my academic and professional background, baby V’s delivery made me realize how disconnected I was from nature’s way. It is difficult to explain, but it involves an intrinsic, instinctive strength, that seems dormant and was awaken with the mystic of birth.
This personal revolution mobilized me to reflect upon how we live, in cities, modern, technology-filled lives, disconnected from nature. Of course I do not pretend we should all go back to cave times, but definitely, it would be positive for humanity to be more connected to its roots.
I cherish the worldviews of collaboration and connection and plan to extend them into all aspects of my life. They encourage positive habits: to be more flexible and more humble, to stay connected with my natural instincts and to balance my energy for a better life.
Looking ahead, my challenge of life balance will intensify. As I start the last year of the Masters, I will be 100% back at work, having enjoyed a 5-month maternity leave. I trust that it will be a demanding journey, but worth the effort.