How do you do it? The Life of a (full-time) Working Mum
One of those questions which makes you wonder why they’ve asked it….
Recently I have had a similar conversation with several people at work. They ask me how I am doing, I usually say busy, and tired, they ask me how many days I work, I say all of them, and they say
“Oh! I don’t know how you do it”
Now, each to their own. I don’t really think how, when or why someone works is really something to comment on. But, why ask me how do I do it?
What sort of question is that?
When the comment is said, a few thoughts run through my mind.
Do they mean, How do I do it? because I must be such a cruel Mother to go to work?
Do they mean, How do I do it? because I must be a super organised and amazing mother/worker
Do they mean, How do I do it? because they have no idea how you fit in parenting and a full time job?
Do they mean, How do I do it? As I must be feeling so guilty for leaving my little girl each day?
The answer is, I DON’T KNOW how I do it. I just do it. I have to do it.
I started working full time again in January, I have now had 6 months of working Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. It’s hard. I miss my day I used to have off with Nancy. I feel tired a lot of the time. But, I am doing this for all the right reasons.
I am doing this, as working full time means I get more money, obviously. This means I can afford to by Nancy nice things. It also means that her Dad can reduce his hours, and we still have about the same family income.
I am doing this as at the moment, I am doing some really interesting stuff and it is all part of my career progession and development. This is stuff I haven’t had opportunity to do before.
I am doing this because I, on the whole, enjoy my job. I don’t mind going to work. Sure, I’d love to just be at home with Nancy, but I do love my job and my vocation.
To Make a Difference
I go to work to make a difference to the people I work with. I support people with a learning disability to have better health outcomes and more independence in their lives. It’s a rewarding and fulfilling role to have.
So, How do I do it?
I go to work, and I don’t feel guilty. I feel me. I feel like myself again. I don’t feel a cruel and horrible mother because I know that Nancy is enjoying nursery a lot, and she also has a great time with her Dad and other relatives when I’m not around. Some days are better than others, certainly. There are times when I am super organised and I feel on top of everything. There are days when I get up and look around the place and I think a bombs gone off. There are days I wonder what’s the point? Why have I done this to myself? But most of all, I feel that this is my life, my choice. I don’t really compare or think about how others are living their lives right at this moment. I accept that everyone has a different way of doing things, and some of that may involve working, or not.
Most days start with me getting up around 7am. I have a five* minute sit down with my cup of tea and my ipad, and then I have to get Nancy ready, me ready and out the door. There are days when I have to drop Nancy at Nursery, my partner at work and then get to work. I work 9am-5pm, then get home, some days have to pick Nancy up first, sometimes have to get my partner too, then home. Sometimes I also have to go food shopping after work too. Then its Nancy’s dinner, bath, bedtime stories, seeing Nancy off to sleep and then I can eat my dinner, watch TV, or do something else like Read or Blog. Before I go to bed we have to do the dishwasher. Sometimes I also do the clothes washing then hang them out before I go to work. I try my best to cook meals but some weeks we do go for a takeaway one night a week.
My weekends are my time off, but my partner works every other weekend. That means two weekends a month when we can spend time together as a family, and two where I look after Nancy for 12 hours a day, usually on my own. I take her to see my parents, we may go shopping, but usually we don’t have the car and I find these weekends the hardest. No car means it is doubly hard to find the motivation to leave the house and do something to make the day go quicker. I love my weekends with Nancy, though, because they are my time, and I do try and make the most of my time with her. Having cuddles on the sofa or goin to the park are simple pleasures that I appreicate more now I am at work.
I think my biggest issue with the question How do you do it? Is that people feel they can say these things to you. Maybe they mean it as a compliment, but to me it is questioning my commitment to my family as well as my job. Maybe people can’t believe I would choose my job over my child – not that I have, but I think people think that by going to work full time, this is what you are doing. I feel proud of myself for what I have achieved these last 6 months. No decision or life choice is ever easy, but I feel I have accepted and come to terms with my life and how I live it. Yes I get the sunday night blues, we all do, but when I drop Nancy off at Nursery I don’t feel dread, or guilt, I feel…happy. Happy for Nancy that she gets to make friends and have adventures, happy for me to be doing I job I (most of the time) enjoy, Happy because I get to have some time to myself, Happy because my life is going in the right direction, and Happy because, well, you have got to be happy with what you’ve got and make the most of things, don’t you?
That’s How I do it.