Being the Best Mum

I have been thinking a lot lately, about being a working Mum.

I work as a Contact Centre Manager full-time, but compress my hours so I only work Tuesday to Friday.

Monday, I can take, and pick up, my girls from school and take them swimming. (This is largely, so I have a vague idea of what they are doing at school)

My girls are now 6 and 9 (nearly 10).

Nearly 10 (OMG)

When they were babies, leaving them felt like a physical ache, they were so small and needed me. The further away from them I was, the worse I felt. Even though hubs is super supportive.

When my eldest was about 6 months old I went back to work. I worked locally and it was fine. Then my offices moved to the City Centre. My commute changed from 20 minutes in the car to anywhere between three quarters of an hour to two hours. It was hideous. I lasted 6 weeks. It was the only time I left a job without another job to go to.

Yet, I have always wanted to work, I knew I would before I had the children and that didn't change. My job is important to me, it is part of who I am, I enjoy the responsibility and take pride in what I do. Sometimes, I even do it well.

My family and my husbands family aren't near by, and most of the time we manage well, between myself and hubs, equally.  I have a great childminder who helps me out and is super reliable, and the girls like her. I have come to realise this is a rare thing.

But, I don't think you can have it all. I think getting a work/life balance is impossible. But it becomes easier as your children get older. My girls are strong little people who don't seem to have suffered because I have missed bath times and bedtimes, or I am just plain too tired, when they want to talk to me. I feel a tiny bit less guilty than I did when they were babies. Only a tiny bit, mind.
6 years old 

Now, I am back working in the City Centre and the physical ache is slightly less, I have learnt to compartmentalise. When I am at work, I am at work, when I am at home I am at home. I don't take work home unless I really really have to, I don't sit chatting about my daughters current snotty noses, the Zog book that Lola loves or Heather changing and growing so much in the past year. They are separate, they are home, not work, and it helps me cope.

I think it is hard for women, we are given so many mixed messages. We should work, we should be strong, we should be glamourous, we need to have a child in one hand and be typing into a computer with the other. We are supposed to bake, glamourously (think Nigella, Sophie Dahl and Lorraine Pascale) whilst writing cook books, wearing heels (always), and yet we never put on any weight AND we are expected to raise our children whilst they wear nothing but Mini-Boden.

This is of course ridiculous. Or wishful thinking by some media mogul.

Actually, what happens, is we may manage a bit of cover up and mascara,  we might make some fairy cakes with the kids at the weekend, we will probably ferry them from one type of club to another (with mine it is dancing, martial arts and swimming). Wine see's us through most evenings, and showers happen when you really can't get away with it any more. School letters are missed and fancy dress outfits for school are not hand stitched but brought late at night from the all night supermarket.

My idea of a great weekend, these days is one were I have spent all weekend with the kids, preferably in pajamas, maybe with a walk up a hills somewhere with friends who have a dog.

I feel sad for new Mum's, the raging guilt for wanting to work,  I can't say anything to stop the guilt, but I suspect it is there for Mum's who don't work, because they don't work. I think the only thing you can do, is try to be the best Mum you can be, whichever way you can, and some of that involves you feeling fulfilled and happy.

Rant over, and of course a great excuse to show off baby photo's xxxx

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