Wonderful Piece Of Fantasy
During an interview last week I was asked if I would go back to my old job if the opportunity presented itself. I got to daydreaming about this wonderful piece of fantasy:
It’s 7.30am and I’m sitting at my desk, suited, heeled, make up in all the right places, hot cup of tea just finished and I’m running through all the emails that have come in overnight.
I’ve been up since 5.30 but in that time I’ve had a hot shower in peace, blow dried my hair commuted over 60km, enjoyed my favourite radio shows and even had a sneaky 40 winks on the train.
Yes, a wonderful piece of fantasy indeed!
When I was made redundant, after birth of my first child I figured that a new job would be a cinch to find. How wrong was I? 4 years on I’m still at home full time and with the arrival of our second child over a year ago, the prospect of going back to work seems further away than ever.
Being a stay at home mother is rewarding and wonderful, but it’s also unending, relentless and exhausting. There are days when I pounce on my husband when he comes in the door just for a bit of adult conversation, and days when I have to go out for a swift walk around the corner to get some air.
Is there really that much of a difference between my previous fulltime job as a personal assistant and my current alltime job of being a mammy? I’m not so sure.
Characteristics of both roles:
- Dealing with tantrums – honestly the adult tantrums are worse than children’s ones.
- Hiding in the toilet for a bit of peace and quiet.
- Cleaning up other people’s messes – real and virtual.
- Calls at all hours of the day and night – I remember a phone call at 4pm at Christmas Eve to ask me to explain how to fix a mobile phone.
- Mind numbing tiredness – sleeping on the train has now been replaced with 3 min power naps on the sofa when I think the toddler hasn’t noticed.
- Receiving impossible requests – “what do you want for dinner?”; “I want to eat the moon Mammy” can be compared to “My flight leaves in 1hr 30 mins, get me to the Airport before boarding closes” when the office was 1 hour 20 mins away.
- Making epic travel arrangements – Although it’s not as bad as the early baby days leaving the house for longer than a few hours does take planning. Likewise having to move a director’s holiday from the Italian Riviera to the Costa del Sol within 5 hours notice.
- Multitasking – typing up dictation while answering phonecalls and organising a courier has been replaced with making dinners while doing the washing and stopping Mickey Mouse and Buzz Lightyear from having a fight.
I do love being at home with the children. They make me smile everyday. When I get up to them in the morning I say “hello sunshine” and truthfully I mean it. Without their smiles and love I’d have gone off my rocker by now. They ground me and remind me what’s important in life.
All the same, I miss my colleagues, the banter, the adult conversation. I miss the financial freedom that my paycheque brought. I’ve become more acquainted with the Playhouse Disney Channel than The Apprentice and I perhaps spend far more time on the internet than I should – that much hasn’t changed since my paid employment days!
Are my skills transferable? I certainly hope that when the time comes that I’m fit to re-enter the workforce having lost very little along the way. In fact I hope I’ve gained something.
This piece appeared in the Easy Parenting a number of months ago but I was reminded of my feelings around being at home versus out at work so figured it was time I shared it again.
Brenda Donohue interviewed me for The Mooney Show on RTÉ Radio 1 and I’m told it will be aired tomorrow, Tuesday 21st May 2013 between 3-4.30pm so do tune in if you want to hear about the first pig syndicate on a community allotment scheme in Ireland!
I just want to point out that I’m comparing my experiences at work as a non-parent, compared to being at home fulltime with my children. As I’ve not worked fulltime since I had my children, I can’t really compare from personal experience so I’m not even going to try!
Sinead - Bumbles of Rice
HOW does this post have zero comments? My comment might just be longer than the original post, I’ve a lot to say on this 😉
I’ve done a few different permutations of the work model- I worked full time before Baby no 1, was taken back on reduced hours due to lack of business after he was born to a 3 day week, then cut to 2 days, was put on temporary lay off 8 weeks before baby no 2 born, was made redundant when he was 9 months and went back to work 5 days and with 3 commuting hours per day when he was 11 months. And I’m currently on maternity leave awaiting No. 3’s arrival (That’s my potted history!)
You’re right C that working full time is very different when you are a parent, especially if you’re the one on child collection duty in the evening, your priorities change completely, you simply have to leave at your appointed time. Work doesn’t end when you get home, there’s the lunchbox drill, the getting ready for the next day.
For the stay at home mum bit I have to agree that it’s relentless, constant wees, poos, juice requests and “Mammeeeee”s.
Here’s my comparison/pros and cons along these lines, based on my own experiences
Stay at home
Always on call
No time to yourself
TIme with the kids
Full time work (plus commute in my case)
Always on call to someone
Time to yourself at lunchtime and on the drive (audiobook time)
Complications when delayed, sick kids
Exhausting (Yes I know its above too)
HORRENDOUS Mammyguilt about everything
Tend to spend time with the kids better, actually do things with them (when energy permits!)
Part time work
Always on call to someone
Enjoy adult conversation at work
Enjoy time with kids
More pressure at work getting 3 days work done in 5
Complications with sick kids and being late to collect
Healthy enough amount of Mammyguilt
Less cash in the bank account
There is no winning for sure. I think that it must be very hard to find the right balance whatever you do. Because I do so much voluntary work from home though I find it difficult to juggle calls/emails/paperwork with the boys around during the day too. Aaaaggghhhh I suppose it’ll get better when they’re like 30!
I don’t think anyone is happy – all of the time – no matter what they do! I don’t get this Mammy guilt thing though. There are enough people out there to put you down without putting yourself through the mill for doing things the best possible way that you can.
Thanks C. I know, it just beats me over the head regularly though!