If I had a dollar every time someone asked me “How do you do it?” after I tell them I am a full time working Mum, I’d be able to be a stay-at-home Mum!
And why don’t people ask ‘How do you BOTH do it?”
You see, people always seem to look at the working Mum and ask her how she does it; as though the husband does nothing at all. Do people assume he does nothing?
Are we still stuck in the 1950s stereotype that childrearing is all up to the Mum? It’s strange to me that people are so impressed and surprised when I tell them how much my husband does. To me, marriage is a partnership. Simple.
The only way it works for me is because I have an amazingly supportive husband who mucks in and helps out. If he gets home early, he picks up the kids and starts dinner. If I have to go to a work event, he supports me.
So this is how I do it (hubby does pretty much the same):
- I get used to pushing through a haze of tiredness
- I drink lots of coffee
- I push myself to do something for myself – exercise or a long shower
- I do housework at 10pm
- I outsource and buy online as much as I can (including birthday cakes and cleaners)
- I don’t waste time at work, so I can leave on time
- I rush around like a mad woman in the mornings
- I can put a full face of make up on in 5 minutes (hubby doesn’t do this. Hee Hee).
- I have an amazing husband and supportive family
- I cook on Sunday afternoons and freeze meals to attempt to make weekday dinners easier
- I have every now and then given my kids Weet Bix for dinner!
I work full time for financial necessity, but even if I didn’t have to, I would still work part time. I think I would go insane if I was home full time. Does that mean I don’t love my kids enough? Hell no! I love them so much, my heart almost pops.
And I always assumed I would be a full time working Mum because my Mum always worked. I can’t remember her being around much when I was little, but she has told me that she actually worked part time when I was little. But I don’t remember. Isn’t that funny? Here we are tying ourselves in knots, worrying that we’re not there enough for our kids if we choose to work; and they probably won’t even remember whether we were around or not!
I think my kids have really benefitted from being in childcare. They are social and happy to make new friends. They don’t freak out if they spend the night away from home at someone else’s house and have learned good routines.
My six-year-old was so ready to start school this year because she had already been taught to look after herself and her bag at childcare, and to get her lunchbox and understand there are rules and schedules.
Even though they thrived at daycare, I still had many mornings of crying in the car in the carpark after dropping them when they have cried for me to stay home with them. Having to turn your back on your small child who is crying and screaming for you to stay is the absolute worst part of being a working Mum. And I know they quickly got over it once they got distracted by toys or other friends. But hell, it tears you apart.
I went through it again when my little girl started school and we put her in to before school care so I could continue to start work at 8.30am. She didn’t know anyone at all and she looked so tiny in her school uniform – my sweet little Preppy.
For about a week I would sit in the car and cry after saying goodbye to her. And then I told my boss that I needed to start later so I could walk her in to her classroom at 8.45am. I didn’t ask, I just said that it was what I was doing. So now I work back a bit later and sometimes miss lunch, but I get to hold her hand while she skips in to class.
I asked my little girl once what she thinks Mummies do.
And she said, “work and eat”.