So, I pictured myself working from home after the birth of baby number one. And that’s what I told my boss…
‘This is how it will work… bub will sleep peacefully on a rug beside my desk and I’ll take breaks every few hours to feed him. As he grows older, he’ll sit quietly on his play mat and entertain himself with a plethora of toys while I work away.’ It just made sense. Just not to my boss.
I’m sure he was secretly laughing on the inside, because he was too exhausted to laugh out loud, due to his own failed attempts at working from home with his own bub.
‘But I’m a woman, I can multi-task. Women are made for this kind of thing. It’s in our waters, or our genes, or something.’ My protests fell on deaf ears and my time as an employee came to a bitter-sweet end.
Okay, these are the things they don’t tell you in ante-natal class:
Babies lie quietly on a rug beside your desk for about 4 weeks, then they never lie quietly again (except while sleeping).
Babies don’t care about deadlines. They want to eat NOW.
When you leave a room, baby boys honestly believe you’re never coming back and cry accordingly.
Little boys also aren’t interested in playing by themselves. They want to play with mummy… all the time.
Being a working mum means a life of perpetual guilt. You feel guilty when you’re working because you should be spending time with the kids. You feel guilty when you’re spending time with the kids because you should be working.
Working from home brings a whole new level of guilt because not only do you not have time to wash and clean but you also have to live and work amongst the mess. Aaaargh!
Can you really have it all? Women have been asking this question since we first unchained ourselves from the kitchen sink and took our first tentative steps towards a career.
My answer is: you can’t always have it all… but you can be thankful for what you have.
I love working with my hubby in our business. I love having adult conversations during the day. I love every second I spend with my kids (minus the tantrums) and I love my life (most of the time).
It’s all made possible for me by my amazing mum and dad who come round a couple of days a week to take the boys for walks to the park, read to them and generally keep them entertained so I can get my head around work, while still having my kids within arm’s reach. The rest of the time, I pretty much just wing it.
Being a working mum is a tough gig but, done right, it’s so rewarding.
This is a fantastic presentation from a working dad on achieving work-life balance: