I admit I have neglected my blog of late, and I would love to say it is because I have been on a whirlwind of excitement, immersed in a new project that makes me bound out of bed every day… Alas, no.
My three-day job as an editor recently became a five-day post and I suddenly find myself a full-time working mum for the first time since I had my youngest daughter in 2003 (yes, my oldest spent most of her infancy in childcare while I was still under the illusion that I could have a career and be a contented mother – but that’s a story for another blog post).
And I have to admit it, the transition has been very difficult. I was under the impression (supported by other people) that I used to do very little on my two days off a week – maybe a little laundry, some shopping, meeting friends for coffee… But now that I no longer have those days, I realise just how much I actually used to achieve.
At the moment I have five days of juggling the morning school run, starting work, household admin and grocery shopping in my very short lunch hour, more work, interspersed with various trips to school to pick up various children and deliver them to extracurricular activities, as well as a fair number of muted conference call meetings on my mobile in the school playground, cooking a number of meals depending on whether OH is home or not, cleaning bath crayon graffiti off the bathroom tiles, fitting in a run or a trip to the gym in order to maintain some semblance of sanity, logging onto the network in the dead of night to catch up on something I missed while on the school run, and holding sensible conversations with colleagues, friends, my husband….. It goes on.
I look at my friends and we are all in a similar boat in that on top of trying to remain active and viable in the workplace, we have the added pressures of having to remember that it is Victorian Dress-Up Day and child #1 needs a themed lunchbox; child ＃2 has a friend coming for tea who doesn’t eat cheese, meat or fish; homework needs to be supervised; child ＃2 spilt ice lolly down her ballet leotard and will have to have it washed before her next lesson; both have a number of birthday parties that require suitably educational yet fun presents – all of this is what my two days off were for!
Having said all that, would I have it any other way? Probably not. I took time off for maternity leave with each of my children and was a vacant, blubbering mess by the end of it, with OH begging me to return to work for his and my sanity. The good news is my current work-life balance will resume in August when the project I am working on concludes and I can return to my happy, balanced, three working days a week. As they say, everything in moderation – even work if you are lucky enough.
In the meantime, I have learnt some valuable life lessons during this hectic period: eating Haribo for breakfast because you don’t have time for anything else will lead to a stomach ache; always check you are not wearing your slippers before you leave the house; sprinkling magic calming dust over yourself, closing your eyes and counting to 10 really does help to calm you down when in a full-blown rant (courtesy of my 9 year old); and never trust the mute button on a mobile phone.