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Sanity is the only reality

Sanity is the only reality

By Pippa Crawford

This year I will have worked in the banking industry for 20 years. That is hard to believe considering I still feel 20 (without the same stamina, of course). I then quietly remind myself that I have lived on three continents, been married for almost 16 years and mother to a 3- and a 5-year-old. It is probably fair to say the real world has been here for a while. The only difference is that I am still fighting it - still questioning whether I have the right formula for me, my husband, my kids, my employer.

‘Why’, I hear you ask? Well, whether you are a working woman or a stay-at-home mum the values-based differential is not miles apart in my mind. Where the challenge comes, however, is the inclination to judge each other more than probably should be the case. Sure, the daily tasks of each can look quite different, but they both grapple with whether their personalised formula is the right one. You are working too much and not spending enough time with your precious children who are growing up in front of your eyes. I love my children and cherish the time together, but I long for something else, something for me.

Before I carry on I need to tell you that I love women. I love our inert ability to juggle, our desire to strive to be the best we can, our ability to put others first, often to our own detriment, our ability to laugh when our world comes crashing down around us only to pick it all up because others are relying on us. Above all, I love our ability to support each other through the everyday and the 'out of the ordinary day' challenges we face.

With 2018 well and truly here and New Year’s resolutions perhaps becoming a fading memory, I thought I would share some of my revised thoughts on what is important to me as a working mother. So here is why trying to have it all but also remaining sane is more important FOR EVERYONE.

(1) Being the best role model I can. The most important word here is CAN, because it’s what I am capable of in ever-changing circumstances that makes me the best I can be for everyone around me. Of course, I would like my children (particularly my daughter) to be proud of my achievements. Of course, I would love to be there for them at drop-off and pick-up every day, but I know that being present is not enough for me to be the best I can.

(2) Maintaining a sense of humour. Life is complicated, hell, it's out of control a lot of the time, and to say that it isn't (for me anyway) simply making others who think it should be easier feel like they are failing. Admitting weakness doesn't come naturally to a mother striving for perfection but it feels good when you open up and realise you are not alone.

(3) Admitting when it isn't working and being strong enough to change it. Forcing analysis of a complicated situation you would rather ignore - but remember: the results are not only about the challenges but also the opportunities.

(4)  Setting a domestic operating rhythm. In business, we set goals and objectives, and allocate roles and responsibilities. Done well, it works well, yet at home we shy away from applying the same to our partners and families. Having the courage to tackle the sharing of chores and childcare, and introducing more transparency takes the angst out of the moment when you may have asked your husband to take the bin out for the 15th time and simultaneously hear your kids saying, 'why does mummy always shout?'

(5) My Mantra: Only worry about the things you can control. With a brain predisposed to worry about everything from climate change to that child at the school gate who always looks sad, to our ageing parents, it’s time to take stock. This is an important reminder to those of us who wake at 3am trying to solve an overinflated problem. Declutter your mind from the things you can’t control and watch your brain space open up and your mood lift.

(6) MEDITATE. MEDITATE. MEDITATE. Find whatever works for you, but find it. You will not look back!

Pippa Crawford

Pippa commenced with Westpac in November 2013.

She has a dual role – Head of Westpac Institutional Bank (WIB) Victoria, and Global Head of Large Corporates, Infrastructure & Resources.

In her role as Head of WIB Victoria, Pippa is entrusted with developing a cross-business culture of achievement and maximising synergies across all WIB business units in order to significantly grow and maintain the WIB presence in Victoria.

In her role as Global Head of Large Corporates, Infrastructure and Resources, Pippa is responsible for further developing the WIB strategy pertaining to this key customer base. This approach seeks to clearly position WIB for sustained future growth and profitability, both globally and domestically.

Pippa has deep experience across origination, sales, syndication and execution at The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in London. Her most recent role was as Head of Loan Capital Markets, Western Europe responsible for financing RBS’ largest customers across the Corporate, Resources, Infrastructure and Property industry sectors. Prior to this role Pippa was Managing Director Loan Originations covering Energy, Resources and Cross-border Acquisition Finance.

Pippa relocated from London to Melbourne in late 2013. She enjoys spending time with her family, travel, theatre & photography. She is a proud mum to daughter Andie (5) and son Finn (3).

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