Six days have managed to race by since I last had chance to take the time out to chat to you all. To people without children six days is forever. Six days is longer than a full five-day working week!
Back in the world of my official job as an accountant, in a five-day working week loads of projects can be started and finished. An entire month’s worth of financial transactions can be reviewed, checked, adjusted and reported on. A report providing edited highlights of the previous report can almost certainly be done as well. Hundreds of emails can be read and answered, phone calls, team meetings, client meetings etc etc. And then….then…. you also have a day off. A day just for you. A ‘nothing’ day. Where you can choose exactly how many chores to do, or not, what to watch on telly when, and the most important of all… when to get out of bed!
In six days with children you - or rather I - would be lucky to get the ironing done. The children will be fed and watered at regular intervals, dressed, entertained, read stories to and tucked into bed a few times. You will do all the usual washing up, clothes washing, cleaning, chores that the folk without children do, but of course at an increased volume. Compared to my previous single life I have at least four times the amount of washing up (you‘d be amazed how many drinks a three year old gets through on a hot summers day), at least four times the clothes washing (my 10 month old can get through two outfits a day easily - especially if pasta is on the menu), and a ridiculous amount of cleaning (the spilt food and drink, the mud covered hands, the sick, the paint all over the sofa….), you get the point.
So you’ve been woken up at 6am, you’ve not stopped all day, if you’re lucky you have them in bed by 7pm, perhaps 7.30pm, and then you start the tidy up, the washing up, the clothes in the washing machine, the make a cup of tea, the finally sit down at 8pm…if you’re lucky. That’s a fourteen hour day that. Let me just say that again to savour it. Fourteen hours.
So when ‘working’ people tell me that they think it’s ‘lovely’ that I’m taking a career break to raise my children, and how ‘wonderful’ it must be to sit around at the park on a summers day chatting to my other ‘mum’ friends, and that they ‘bet I’m not missing work at all’. I often say, to their horror, ‘well yes I am missing it actually. I would love to be able to start work at 9am, eat when I want, go to the toilet - alone - when I want, catch up with colleagues when I want, have adult conversations about something other than Iggle Piggle, our pretend mountain rescue team and which pants to wear.’
Alright. So I don’t say that. But I often think it. And I hope that doesn’t make me a bad mum. I think it just makes me human. To crave adult conversation. To crave my own personal space. To crave the environment where achievements are logged and recognised (often with actual pay!).
I don’t feel like the organised work person I used to be. I feel like a haphazard, unorganised, definitely not-yummy mummy, who doesn’t return phone calls for weeks, forgets what day it is, and definitely doesn’t have time to wash my hair every morning - never mind straighten it.
And yet I also feel like a super mummy. A ‘kisses it better when it hurts’ mummy. A ‘made you your favourite tomato pasta’ mummy. A ‘managed to vacuum the lounge’ mummy. A ‘kept them all safe’ mummy.
And that’s all good. Very good.
So there’s just one bit to work on then isn’t there…. This notion of a ‘yummy’ mummy. It’s a work-in-progress.