I am a working mum of two loud, full speed, beautiful boys who are now 7 and 5.
Just before Son One turned one I went back to work full time, because both my husband and I had been made redundant. It was the best choice for our family at the time. It was hard leaving him, and even harder picking him up because he didn’t want to come home! I can see daycare has been good for him, he is socially good with other kids and has learned and experienced things that he never would have if he had stayed at home with me – simply because we don’t have the resources daycare has. That little stint taught me I’m a better Mum when I spend some time at work. I’m more patient, happier and more at peace.
When Son Two was five months old I was offered an opportunity to work a permanent part time job – almost unheard of in the IT industry. I had not intended to go back to work so soon but they were prepared to be very flexible and so it was too good to pass up. Especially seeing as I had made the investment to be Masters qualified in this field and it moves at a cracking pace, to be away for too long would make me practically useless. So, that decision has made me a working Mum of two boys.
I figured I had some idea how to do that, my Mum had worked most of my childhood and done it with apparent ease. I imagined we would find a routine that provided the work/life balance we needed and settle into it for a couple of years. Boy did that idea do my head in for a while! My house does not get vacuumed or mopped on a scheduled day of the week. The washing (loving referred to as Mount Wash-more) does not always get folded and put away before it gets worn again and the dishes do not always get cleaned before bed. So I mean, literally, there’s dirt.
The dirty secret is that there is no such thing as that magic work/life balance formula. The secret is to do what needs doing first RIGHT NOW and to keep doing it. That means there is sometimes dirt. Sometimes housework isn’t first on the list. Sometimes playing with the boys is first, sometimes sleep for me is first, sometimes work has to be done first. Sometimes I need some creative time to do some scrapbooking in the shade of Mount Wash-more.
The real secret is that all that is what my family needs, this is what makes us happy right now and that’s okay.