I often get people saying to me, often with a tone of ill concealed envy, that I have the best of both worlds.
I get to stay at home and enjoy my children, whilst working hours to fit around them, and still bring home a decent enough salary to help out with our quality of life.
My working mummy friends sigh wistfully, and say that they wish they didn’t have the continual guilt of not seeing their kids enough, that they feel almost selfish for putting their career ‘above’ their children.
My stay at home mums complain that they have no life. Simple as.
Now, I can imagine that, on the surface, the life of a working mummy who also stays at home with the kids, can look like an amazing one. And in many ways, it is. I’m certainly not complaining. However, I am just going to illustrate my average ‘working day’ and see if it still seems as perfect as initially thought…
6:00am – Rudely roused by the sound of DB2 bellowing for breakfast in the room next door.
6:30am – After desperately ignoring his loud shouting for half an hour, finally crawl out of bed. Attempt to block out sound of two toddlers raucously howling, bouncing down the corridors (and literally off the walls) whilst trying to actually wake up.
7:30am – climb into shower, trying not to notice DB2 repeatedly hitting the door to get in (it’s ok, OH is in the other room, I’m not just neglecting him, honestly…) and mentally start a check list of what needs to be done during the day. Generally, its a list that goes on, and on. And on.
8:20am – Prepare kids in coats and shoes to take OH to work. Clamber into car, braced against the freezing cold, and fight our way through the early morning traffic.
8:45am – Return home and play with kids for a while.
10:00am – Attempt to look at work emails and reply to them. DB1 generally seizes this opportunity to refuse to play by himself and whine at me instead. DB2 just makes himself busy pulling all the CDs and DVDs off the shelves. Yes, all 500 of them.
10:30am – Get the boys a snack, always fondly imagine I can have a break too, but inevitably end up sorting washing out, emptying dishwasher, washing up, tidying etc.
11:00am – Have another brief play / read, before trying to squeeze in a bit more work. Generally give up by about 11:30, feeling like a nervous wreck, because both boys are now bellowing for lunch and getting morose and whiny.
12:00pm – Sort out lunch, again, fantasise about sitting down and having a proper lunch. Inevitably, end up trying to stop DB2 from lobbing food over the floor, or pouring his drink over the table. Then, generally cleaning up after him, picking bits of rice / bread from the weave of the chair seat etc etc.
12:45pm – Realise I’m late for DB1’s pre-school, so maniacally race around getting them ready, chasing them round the house and brandishing shoes in the air in a vaguely threatening manner.
1:00pm – After literally running uphill for 15 minutes, hare into the school gates and drop DB1 off, praying that DB2 has nodded off. If he has, race home at breakneck speed to capitalise on potential uninterrupted work time.
1:30pm. After 15 minutes work, groan with frustration as DB2’s tenacious little eyes pop open. Inevitably spend 45 minutes bouncing him around and calming him, as he always wakes up in a massive strop.
2:00pm – Play with DB2 for a bit. Play doh, colouring, toys, that kind of thing. This part of the day is actually quite relaxing.
3:00pm – Realise I’ve almost forgotten to pick up DB1 again. Race around getting DB2 in his coat, again, before legging it out the door. And yes, again, having to run to pre-school.
3:30pm – Return home, with DB1, and have a little play, before trying to answer more emails and get the work done that I tried to start doing earlier, and failed miserably. Generally fail a second time and fight urge to throw laptop across the room.
4:20pm – Start cooking tea for boys, try not to get annoyed at DB2 pulling tins, saucepans and bowls out of the cupboards, then clinging to my leg and howling at me to hurry up. (actually, it always has the tone of ‘hurry the f*** up, to be more precise).
5:00pm – feed the animals. I mean, boys. Then race out of the door to pick up OH. Coats and shoes waved around wildly once more.
5:30pm – Return home. Dump boys on sofa in front of TV with OH and go for a quick run, just for a desperate attempt at a tiny bit of me time.
5:50pm – Return and collapse for ten mins before heading upstairs to do bath time.
7:00pm – After settling the boys, return downstairs to start work again. Then, depending on my luck, work for either an hour, or three. Hopefully the former.
10:00pm – Collapse into bed in a comatose heap.