I was asked to write this a while ago and am just sitting down to it at 11:15 at night, whilst feeding the baby and doing some volunteer moderating. There’s a saying “If you want something doing, ask a busy person” … yes, I’m busy…and yes, I (usually) get things done!
So what do I do? I work part time, in 3 different roles for the same employer. I run my own very part time business. I volunteer for two different organisations. I’m a mum to 3 under 5s (well, the eldest just turned 5, but anyway…!)
How does my week look? Something like this –
7:20 Get all 3 boys dressed & fed. Make packed lunch
8:30 School run
9:15 Diddidance with the 3 year old
11:30 Nursery run
12:00 A bit of time for working at home / volunteering/ looking after the 8 month old
3:00 School and nursery pick up
4:00 Play with the kids, reading homework, tea and bedtime around 7 (for the 5 year old anyway!)
8:00 Working from home for 2 hours.
8:30 School run,
9:45 Playgroup with the younger two
12:30 Working from home
3:00 school run
4:30 Running Rainbows
6:15 Running Brownies
8:15 Home, by which time the kids (except the baby who comes with me) are asleep.
7:20 Kids up, make packed lunch
8:30 School and nursery run
10:00 Office day,
3:00 School and nursery run (unless there’s a late meeting)
5:15 take the 5 year old to his swimming lesson
followed by the usual bedtime
8:00 Working from home
7:20 Get the kids up, fed and packed lunches made
8:30 School run
9:45 Rhythm Time for the youngest two
12:15 Home and amuse the 3 year old and baby
3:00 School run (again!!)
6:00 Volunteering for 3 hours and maybe work.
7:20 Get the kids up, make packed lunch
9:00 Swimming with the 3 year old
11:30 Nursery drop off
12:00 Baby to swimming lesson
1:15 Down time or working from home
3:00 Final school and nursery pick up for the week!
4:00 Play / food / bedtime etc for kids.
7:00 Work until bedtime
10:30 Dance for the 5 year old
12.30 Amuse the kids until the usual evening routine
9:45 Church (if we can!) and be mum, then
9 til midnight-volunteer
To add to that, my husband works nights so is out 9.30pm – 8am or if he has an early start, usually at weekends, he’s out from 6.30pm. My eldest is under a physio, so has exercises to do as well as the reading homework from school. My 3 year old is under a paediatrician, SALT and dietician, so lots of appointments.
I’m definitely a busy person – it may seem strange, but I’m keen to take on more work! And yes, I feel guilty. Guilty for not being at home more, guilty for not always engaging at home, guilty I’m not there at bedtime on Tuesdays, guilty that with 3 none of them get quality individual time, guilty that if one of my kids needs me I drop the volunteering, guilty that if the baby needs feeding he still comes into work to be fed, guilty that I try to leave work in time for the school run. I’ve concluded feeling guilty is a big part of being a mum!
It won’t always be like this – they will all go to school soon enough and then I’ll have more time to work in the day, more evenings free to be mum. Perhaps it’ll be a better balance, or perhaps there will be more to feel guilty about?
I will never regret my children, I’ll never begrudge the time I spend with them, but now I’m working I also don’t intend to give that up again. When I started working, in my variety of roles paid and voluntary, I found a me again. A me that wasn’t just ‘mum’. Not that ‘just’ mum isn’t OK, but that I’d done that and lost who I was, and now I’ve found me again. Not a complete me – a very fragmented multi-faced me; I have to be as a big part of me has to stay ‘mum’, but a me I can live with. A me who is busy, guilty, and getting on with life. Who worries that perhaps work means she’ll miss bits of being a mum, but who knows that to be a really good mum I have to be ‘me’ too!