Thursday, 7 August 2014

Notes from a Newbie Working Mother

It's a different kind of summer holidays for me this year.  I'm working 2 and a half days each week while  Daddy Day Care takes over with the boys.  It's very strange being the one who gets out of bed first and heads out while everyone else is still snoozing.  I can't say I like it.  But I do like the fact that I don't have to deal with the fighting and entertaining all day.

The big debate on working mothers rages on and, whilst the guilt felt in both camps is completely unnecessary (every family is different and judging others is irresponsible and ignorant), I have noticed a few things as a newbie working mother.

1. Men don't notice the same things as women.  As much as he has tried his very best, Daddy Day Care does not automatically, but silently, clock where Max leaves his crocs so that next time he needs them he can easily locate them.  He also does not think about putting wet swimming towels and trunks into the washing machine.

2. The boys still love being with him.  I thought he might be stricter, which would make them want me back again, but they still groan when I over-enthusiastically announce 'It's mummy day today, boys!'

3. Having spent my stay-at-home-mum years working out my identity and value as a woman cherished and loved by my Creator, it is very easy to slip back into choosing to find my worth in a job title.  This is a battle which I will continue to fight as job titles mean nothing compared to what my Father says about me.

4. It doesn't matter how important you feel putting on your name badge and going to work, nothing beats having a conversation with your little boy clad only in spy glasses and a pair of pants who is 'turn around touch the ground bagsying' a sleeping bag for his homemade den.  

5.  My brain still exists.  It made it through the endless years of play dough, ride-on toys, pingu, duplo, dinosaurs, trucks and stressful sand and water play.  Let me give you hope.  There is light at the end of the (let's be honest) tunnel of boredom.

6.  They can all survive without me.  They may spend more time on screens than my control-freak-self would cope with.  They may not eat as much fruit as my obsessive-counting-5-a-day-self would like.  But they can do it.  And not only that, but they can actually thrive without me being there to keep my careful eye over what they are eating, drinking and doing.  Perhaps that's a good thing.

So, for those of us who haven't found the elusive 'term time only' job and are dealing with complicated logistics for weeks on end through the summer, let's keep our chins up and not give in to the guilt.  It's not worth the time, and there certainly isn't much of that anymore.

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