Working mom juggles added work-life demands

‘The price I paid was the toll it took on my health’

For certified public accountant and mother Candice Czeremuszkin, the crisis has allowed her to spend more time at home, but that hasn’t meant fewer working hours.

Her days begin before sunrise and end well after sunset.

At the onset of the crisis, she was already facing a period of high demand at work that included business development calls, partner meetings and staff trainings to implement changes from new financial services legislation.

Then came the crisis and the addition of home-schooling and extra household demands. The stress of it all also meant Czeremuszkin needed to be more mentally present and aware, to bring comfort not only to her family but to her staff.

The effect has been a 24/7 schedule with little time for rest and restoration.

“Whilst I am seemingly far more present at home, my time spent working has significantly increased,” she says. “The most significant challenge for me has been the inability to switch off and the blurred line between home and work.”

“Four am starts are extremely productive but, with significant business development initiatives, it meant that I have a string of calls post-8pm to accommodate Asia. There was no real cut off and little-to-no sleep,” she says.

The year’s demands have required Czeremuszkin to adapt and identify new ways to balance work and home life. That has meant foregoing daily home-cooked meals – a particular challenge for her – and sharing home-schooling responsibilities with her husband.

Despite her best efforts, Czeremuszkin has not been able to avoid the physical and mental toll of the crisis.

“The exact sentiment was: how can I seemingly be this busy but feeling like I am failing at everything?” she says. “I think from all external points of view, it may seem like I’ve managed quite successfully – but the price I paid was the toll it took on my health.

“At the end of August, I was ill for a solid month and I have zero doubt it was due purely to being exhausted and taking on too much without making myself a priority.”

Even for a high-achieving woman, accustomed to giving her full dedication, the year has put her to the test.

“I’m coming to terms with not being able to achieve everything on the day’s to-do list, and being ok with that,” she says.

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