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You know life’s busy when:

  • You forget to eat
  • You don’t stand and stare at your wardrobe hoping for the ‘perfect’ outfit. Instead you grab the most comfortable outfit imaginable.
  • You buy your fruit and veges from Coles or Woolworths and wonder why your tomatoes are flavourless & floury and the state of the mandarines make you cry.
  • You order pizza for dinner instead of cooking.
  • You can’t remember the last time you had a decent conversation with someone you love.
  • You feel guilty when you watch tv.
  • The washing is put under cover on a sunny day.
  • You keep talking in fast forward.
  • Your typing speed increases.
  • Your heart hurts.
  • Sleep feels like a luxury.
  • You cannot plan past tomorrow.
  • Your skin is flaking and your eyebrows fluffy but you just do not care.
  • You keep cancelling fun things.
  • You make lists on your blog instead of thinking of something indepth and fascinating.
  • When you walk your small daughter sprints behind you to keep up.
  • You feel like you’ve run a marathon when you haven’t moved a muscle in 2 weeks.
  • Chocolate is like water.
  • Hanging out the washing is a welcome break.
  • Conversations with friends is conducted in under 10 minutes at break neck speed with many interruptions and you leave feeling rude but with no time or space for guilt you just get on with your day.
  • The iphone, ipod, ipad is taken with you to the toilet and if it was water proof you’d take it in the shower damn it!
  • Though your house is out of control you honestly don’t care if anyone drops in.
  • Lunch marks the beginning of the end.
  • And… you actually find yourself going to bed early!
Well, that is my life at the moment. My writing work is going off (yippee) which requires great organisation and concentration. Especially as the deadline is in the middle of the school holidays. What do they say again? When it rains, it pours. ‘They’ were so right! What does ‘busy’ look like for you?
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Who dares call themselves good? So many people walk around this place never feeling good enough. But for who? For me and you?? (sounds like a song!) They cake on the makeup, wear stilettos to the beach, wear their short shorts SHORT and hope that someone notices them, that they fit in, that they are good enough!

Sounds a bit like me sometimes. I just cannot bear to wear my pilling, slightly hole-ridden t-shirt to school pick-up! What will ‘they’ think? “Poor old gal, money’s as thin as that pathetic excuse for a t-shirt”. Or they may just take a swift glance around the playground in the hope that they too fit in somewhere. I was talking to a few mums about this very thing. It’s a given that kids will feel insecure in the playground, but not the mums. We strut around with our clocks ticking and our sunnies on, giving a swift wave, smile, hello to the regulars we see everyday. What the kids may like to know, though, is that parents care what other parents think of them. We have to make new friends and fit in as well.

The thing grown-ups have learned is how to hide the tears and the nerves. We are experts at it. Busyness is particularly helpful. When you’re scared that people won’t like you, having things to do makes it hard for them to find out who you really are. In the end there won’t be time for them to make a firm decision either way.

Light conversations about ‘the kids’, business and movies are great topics to distract them away from the constant butterfly dance in your tummy. Humour is also a winner, as long as you’re a little bit funny and you don’t try too hard. All this surface stuff works well to hide our insecurities and fears that if they dig a little deeper they may not like what they see.

So who, deep down, is good enough for whoever? Is it the lady with the designer clothes and the beautiful home, with career, travel and family seemingly going strong? Or is it the housewife, home with the kids, setting up the craft in the afternoon and teaching her kids how to cook? Is it the juggling mother who seems to do everything with 23 kids, a massive house to clean, work coming out of her nostrils and a smile permanently frozen on her tired face? And in the end, do we really look at each other or are we too busy looking at others in the hope they may look at us?

Ah the baby days. Early mornings in front of Kochie and Mel. The smell of dusty sunshine flowing through the window as your small, helpless baby lies on the play mat. The feeds, the sleeps, the politics of breastfeeding, the sharp looks from the non-baby set when baby cries. The nappies, the weight gain (or not) the routine vs whatever it is and when to put the little darling on solids.

Then there’s the baby fashion, the wrapping, the heat, the stroller/pram, the cooing, the limitations, the slow saturday nights. My oh my, it seems a world away now my babies are a little bigger. I’m in the post post baby season. I’m past nappies and dummies and nearly through the tantrum stage and life is looking rosy. I have moved on to readers and swimming lessons, to sport or not to sport, to dance or not to dance, deep conversations about a certain small man’s need for ‘alone’ time (that is, from his sister) and where to go for our next holiday.

Work is now coming back into view. A lump in the throat, terror in the bloodshot eyes as well as a growing sense of purpose and vision. The mum to work transition is terrifying. You have to pretend you’ve been doing something socially and culturally meaningful for the past 6 ish years to qualify yourself for life in work world. You feel sheepish putting ‘motherhood’ down as a job because, well, you can guess the response. A lift of the eyebrows, a straightening of the mouth and perhaps a muffled, “hmmmmmm”. ‘Tis sad days people.

The working mother is incredible. Up, feed, clothe the children and get them off to school. Find something decent to wear and perhaps make your own lunch. Bus it, car it, train it to work, pretend you know what the heck is going on and head on home. Pick up children, take them to activities, bath them, feed them, dress them, into bed and then what!?! I am not there yet. In fact working from home sounds ideal, even a bit luxurious. To all the working mums out there, two thumbs up and a toe. You’re amazing.


The post, post baby stage is a rocket ride, not a rollercoaster ride. It requires ‘balls’ of steel. You have to push down the fear of failure, of being labelled ‘just’ a mum, or ‘just’ an anything and project an image you haven’t seen for a good 6 ish years. It is laying the foundations for the school or high school years when those bubbies will be out there being their own people, and driving themselves to their own activities. Can you imagine? I dare not.

My philosophy is you can only do what you can do. You cannot bow to pressure from our society, other ‘supermums’ or expectations of anyone else. Whether you be an awesome stay-at-home mum, an incredible worker mum, or a bit of both, we just gotta love those kids silly and enjoy our lives no matter what season we are in.

 

Everyone has their snap point. Whether you’re the cruisy dude, barefoot, long haired walking around a coastal town without a care in the world. Wait until someone makes you care.

Or a mother with a nanny, a part time job, exercise regime and everything at your perfectly manicured fingertips. You too, have your breaking point.

Could it be that the ever patient preschool teacher who seems endlessly loving and passionate, lose the spark and fall flat?

Snap, crackle, POP! Basically, we are all wired the same but at different speeds. There is the intense, bulldozer snapologist who is an expert at the art of snappage. Or the overworked, under-appreciated single mum without any help who is constantly fighting guilt and exhaustion. She knows all about breaking points.

There are inbuilt buttons in everyone that if pressed will trigger a series of blasts that ultimately end in a POP! Head explosion, steam out of ears, last straw stuff.  So whether you be a short fuse type or a simmering boil, pop person, just remember that you are entitled to a couple of moments of ‘snap’. Just don’t direct them my way!!

When coming back to work after having kids, some strange people think that being a mother is a bludge! It’s Oprah and Dr.Phil everyday, naps in the afternoon and sunny days smiling peacefully as your child plays. What qualifications can a mother bring when re-entering the so-called ‘real’ world?

* Problem solving: such as toilet training, fears (darkness, water, animals, people dressed as ducks, men with facial hair, women with facial hair, tall people, jumping, bike riding, red or green food, falling),

* Managing a schedule: What to commit to? Soccer, cricket, dancing (hip hop, tap, ballet or jazz etc!), drama lessons, piano, netball, swimming, football (not my son no never, poor little necks and noses). How to fit compulsory play dates in with family time, down time, play time, dinner time, bath time, work time…?

* Emergency co-ordination: You have to be ready at a moment’s notice to tack a disaster. Falling down stairs, off bikes, off walls (this morning, good catch by me!), falling over. Assessing blood loss, psychological breakdown, sprains, knocks, bruises, burns, rashes, temperatures, coughs, spikes and bugs (ticks! grrr).

* Educator: Read, read, read! You have to love reading to your kids even if you hate the book they’ve chosen (ALICE IN WONDERLAND). You have to teach them to read, to count, to know their colours, not to read too early, to draw, to cook, to eat, to walk, to be kind. Talk about underpaid teachers!

* Entertainer: You have to dust off your teenage dance moves (you know the ones you practiced in your bedroom?) and get them to join in. Even if you cannot hold a tune, you have to be their first musical tutor. It is a joy to listen to the Wiggles (sarcasm) but even more fun to get them into music that YOU love (a little self-centred but there’s nothing wrong with clean Alanis and Bon Jovi and U2).

* Counsellor and all around go-to person: You must be reliable and available. You must be a good listener, even if it means listening to a story about Star Wars for the umpteenth time or an invented story about rabbits hiding from monsters on the trampoline. Eye contact is desirable, patience a MUST.

So, to all those fancy pants people in the so-called ‘real’ world who think that motherhood is all ‘feet-up-in-front-of-the-tv’ think again bucko! Mothers are over qualified. We know about pressure. Dude, try 24/7, try vomit and poo and urine and tantrums and whinging and evil stares from old people in shopping centres and no money and cleaning toilets and kitchens, and floors and doing the washing all while keeping in contact with friends, spouses, family and your own inner child.

Motherhood is the best job in the world. Cliche? But true. Hard darn work, but the payoffs are those smiles, cuddles, love, words, sparkling eyes, moments of success where all the planets align and you feel a moment of peace before the next challenge. It’ll drive you crazy but would you want to live any other way?

Hop – to make a short, bouncing leap; move by leaping with all feet off the ground. (dictionary.com). My first hop into the workforce for the first time in six-ish years was a true ‘hop’. It was a burst. Some one had given a rather inexperienced writer / editor a chance to edit a book of all things! And, although I was a bit rusty, I found I could do it! In the pit of my stomach, I felt a tingling nudge… could this be IT; after thirty years of searching? Am I too old to have found IT now? Why didn’t I find IT en years ago? But here I am.

Skip – to move in a light, springy manner by bounding forward with alternate hops on each foot.(dictionary.com). I am now in the ‘skip’ faze. I have momentum and am in the process of trying as many doors as I can, hoping that one will stick and I will keep moving forward. It’s fun, really. Fun and scary. What if I fail? What if I fall and graze my knee? What if I have to skip uphill?

Jump – to spring clear of the ground or other support by a sudden muscular effort; leap (dictionary.com).Perhaps I’m between a skip and a jump or maybe they are part of each other?! The jump takes the most effort and the most amount of RISK. You are propelling yourself off your ‘support’. You are flying through the air, not knowing where you will land. There are possibilities of a great pay-offs with great risks. The adrenaline kicks in, the muscles strain, the pressure is enormous. When will you land? What will happen? If you simply land in the same spot, will you be disappointed or will you have enjoyed the ride?

Whatever happens, it is all exercise which keeps you alive, living and full of beans! Bring it on! Don’t stop hopping, skipping or jumping! That’s what bandaids are for.

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