No one ever said that life was going to be easy. From the moment we are born it is all about hitting milestones, then we hit school, there is the constant nag from the teachers about how hard we need to work in order to achieve and succeed. I, like probably most, knew I would have a family at some point but left school with the desire to create a career for myself. We all want to earn our own money and earn our own stripes in the world.
My career as such fell rather flatly at various points in my early twenties due to lots of things I will only inform my children about when they are at least 45 and a series of twist and turns along the way that could always be seen as new opportunities. Moving forward to my late 20’s, my husband and I had been running a business for at least 5 years and of course it was time for me to settle into motherhood and him to steer the ship for the time being.
Of course my juggling days began rather immediately. Two days into motherhood, a recovering c section scar, and still needing to fulfill my role as administration wizard in the business, the payroll for our workers needed to be done. D late after work lugged the computer into the hospital and informed me he wasn’t feeling well. Probably that Fillet O Fish he had on the way through he decided. It got to the point that he felt so ill he needed to lie down. The wages needed doing so I told him to take the bed and I would sit in the chair and get them sorted, it actually was a nice change from lying in bed all day. In walks nurse and her mouth just drops. I was roused on for being out of bed in the first place and what on earth was my husband doing in my bed?
Simple fact was he just happened to be sick. But my job still had to be done. The wages needed to be paid in between a couple of breastfeeds and nappy changes.
I was lucky enough to have at 3 months off with both kids but that didn’t mean I wasn’t doing large amounts of paperwork at night to cover it but second time around we did have extra help. These days the juggling act is different again. I did love up until a year ago only working 3 days a week. I felt that I could find that balance between still working, spending time with the kids and maintaining the household. Don’t get me wrong, the house never has all the washing done but it worked and most stuff got done.
These days it’s just organised chaos. And it is a fine balancing act that never really quite balances out. Why is it that the one day off a week you have with your kids you imagine a lovely morning getting the eldest to school and a nice day of craft, outdoor activities and laughter with the other one all to have that turn to shit from 6am that morning? Do you think they sort that out before they go to sleep? Psst, little sis. It’s mums only day off with us tomorrow morning. Let’s make getting ready for school just really, really hard work for her. I swear I can hear them say it. So then you feel terrible that the one day you had was yelling out “get your shoes on and do your teeth” and “stop doing that to your brother/sister/dog” 84 times, in between asking them if you should just go back to work because actually managing 12 25 year old men is easier?
The house just lives in a constant war zone. Gone are the days that you could actually use the dining room table to eat dinner as a family on it. The sideboards are used for dumping Lego, plastic containers with leaves and lady beetles found that afternoon in the garden, a family photo that you can only see one person’s head and around 700 Woolworths collector cards. Thank you Woolworths. There is 3 baskets of washing that somehow someone found the time to dump on the line as they ran out the door and it may well just sit in the basket unless I can be bothered to fold it watching tv.
The precious time you are with the kids can often be filled with us still needing to sort out phone calls from work, emails or something that happened that day. We do try to keep work to the office but when it is busy that is hard and can end up coming home. Like today for example. The day with my daughter ended up with half of that telling her that mummy just needed to make one more phone call. Or you get home and just want 5 minutes to yourself but you can’t because homework, bath and bed routine is all waiting for you for the next few hours. And then of course somewhere you are meant to do said housework.
The juggling act is hard.
I constantly battle between how my children view it. Do they notice all the times I am too busy to play? Are they bothered by it? Or will they understand that mummy does it all for our family and so we can fill the house with a few more shopkins and Lego pieces but also have nice family holidays too? Will they see the value of working hard to create a good life for your family but that ambitious drive that as an individual you have had since before they were born?
I struggle daily with how I feel about it. Now it may sound like I am just a whinging maniac that should just be grateful for all I have. I am incredibly grateful for all I have. I have a good job and a wonderful family. Today was a constant mix of being busy with work but trying to spend time with my daughter and I often feel I am not giving her everything I should be. I am telling her to hang on, not listening enough and not playing enough. But I suppose in between all that we did make Banana, Apricot Healthy Bars and I half got to introduce her to my favourite all time movie The Princess Bride. So I should give myself a high five for that.
Whether you are a working mum, staying at home mum or any kind of mum, we as mums try to do it all. We also worry all the time because we care. We want to show our kids we can do it all and they can have it all as we were once taught. But something will always give. Whether it is the housework, work, play time or just sitting for a minute.
We won’t be able to juggle all the balls all the time. Well maybe you can, and I am just not that coordinated yet.