BUSY BEE

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BUSY2

Sincere apologies, it’s been a very long time since my last blog and therein lies my problem, time. Or should I say lack of it?

Time has not been my friend recently and I’m not just talking about the wrinkles it’s been busily adding to my face, every time I look in the mirror! I just never seem to have the time to do anything anymore. The summer holidays are almost through and I have barely achieved anything that I planned to do. I wanted to catch up with all my friends, spend long leisurely days at the park with my boys and fit in all of those long avoided jobs. Such as printing off photos and actually putting them into photo albums, instead of just adding them to the already bulging box in my cupboard. I have managed several play dates with the boys and my friends and the photos, naturally, are still on various digital devices; I haven’t even thought about printing, let alone putting them anywhere. Where has all my time gone?

Moving house has claimed most of it. We moved the day after the boys broke up from school, which also happened to be T’s 8th birthday and the day the heat wave broke and we almost drowned in a tidal wave of typical British rainy weather.  Two weeks later we went on holiday for a week, it was wonderful apart from a few mishaps. Three trips to hospital for me and one sick 11 year old, but I digress. Time, as it is wont to do, flew past whilst we were having fun and before I knew it we were back home and back amongst a pile of unpacked boxes from our move. Plus all the usual daily chores, child care, Granny minding, not to mention a mountain of dirty holiday clothes that desperately needed washing.

Don’t get me wrong, having had seven years in the past without a family holiday I am very grateful that we get to have one. I am also delighted to now be living in a damp/mould free house. It’s just that age old problem of having no time and wondering where to get more of it? Is there perhaps a shop somewhere, selling 25 hour days or 8 days a week? And if not then why not? Best idea since sliced bread!

I realise I am far from alone, no doubt every busy working woman or Mother can identify with the feeling of running around chasing your tail, because no matter how hard you try you never ever get to cross the last thing off of your to do list. I also have a tendency to feel a huge amount of guilt every time I sit down and try to relax. Surely I shouldn’t be putting my feet up with a diet coke, just because I haven’t sat down all day, because I could be getting on with a myriad of chores instead. Yet if I didn’t stop occasionally through out my day, I think I would collapse in a quivering heap on the floor mumbling ‘the sun has finally come out, I must put another load of washing on!’  Plus the caffeine withdrawal from my two daily diet cokes would be horrendous 😉

Finally a minor miracle occurred, this rainy bank holiday weekend, I have nothing to do. Actually that’s not quite true, the living room is a little untidy and I haven’t hoovered in two days, I still have millions of photos to sort through. BUT I have unpacked every last box, I have no social engagements, the kids are pottering around happily and I am contemplating just lying on the bed and doing nothing for a few hours – bliss! Except I have a very guilty feeling because I haven’t blogged in weeks ……..

 

TIME2

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No more Stay at Home Mum v Working Mum – please!

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My decision to become a stay at home Mum was not an easy one, there were so many factors that needed to be taken into consideration. In a nutshell my internal monologue sounded a little like this:

Is this the best decision for my child? Yes, he needs to be with his Mum. Is this the best decision for me? Yes, I gave birth to my son, because he was wanted and not to hand him to a professional to look after. Best decision for my husband? Yes, bless him he agreed with my beliefs 100% and whilst it hasn’t been easy, neither of us would change that decision we made nineteen years ago. I have blogged about the financial implications of being a stay at home Mum, in my very first post. So I won’t go over them again, needless to say from a purely financial basis this was not the right decision to have made. I would imagine financial implications are one of the strongest reasons, why some Mothers decide to go back to work. Of course there are many other valid reasons, the desire to have a career. To be a good role model, especially to their daughters, to demonstrate that women can have it all.

All perfectly valid reasons from both sides, so why are we constantly at war with one another?

I admit that there have been a few times in my life, when I too have judged working Mums. Occasionally when I have heard that a Mum’s main reason for going back to work is financial, I have found it hard not to look at their large house and two cars and think that if they moved to a smaller house and only had one car, surely they could stay at home with their child? That said I have been careful to keep that opinion to myself, I would never say that out loud to any working Mum. As I have grown older and hopefully a little wiser, I have became less judgmental.

In my humble opinion, both sides have equally valid reasons for the decisions they have made. No one should be judging women for what is, let’s face it, an extremely hard decision to make. We certainly shouldn’t be judging each other. We both do marvelous jobs, neither of which are particularly easy. We both often want what the other has. I would love a high powered, well paid job where I get to use my brain. One where people remembered to say thank you or compliment my skills. Feedback from my teenagers is never the kind I was hoping for. Most of all I would love to never have to clean a toilet, belonging to not one but five boys! Speaking to my working Mum friends, I know that sometimes they would dearly love to attend every single assembly/sports day/school play that there little angel is starring in. Without wondering how on earth they will pluck up the courage to ask for yet another afternoon off work. I know that they dread phone calls from school to say their child has fallen ill and please come and pick them up immediately, do not attend any meetings and do not return them until at least 48 hours after symptoms first occurred, even if you have to use your precious holiday time to do so.

So why do we judge each other, why do we each think that the choice we made, was the correct one? Giving little thought to how hard the decision was for all of us. I think it’s because we are always a little worried that we made the wrong decision and spend a lot of our time defending this choice, even at the expense of others. A quick search on Google revealed a vast amount of blogs devoted to why being a stay at home Mum is the best and of course an equal number extolling the virtues of being a working Mum.

From my own point of view I constantly fear I made the wrong decision. Do my children suffer because we have little money to spend on them? Would they have preferred me to have gone back to work, so that they can always wear the same clothes, have the same must have gadgets or go on foreign holidays as some of their more privileged friends. Has my brain withered away to the size of a raisin, because I rarely get to use it these days? Will anyone ever want to employ me after this very long career break? Or if I’m being completely honest, apart from a brief stint as a trainee manager at Tesco, I have yet to have an actual career. Getting pregnant whilst still at University put paid to that one.

I’m almost positive that working Mum’s have cried many tears, when leaving their precious babies in the hands of others. Will this somehow harm them in later life? Do they worry about being too tired to play with their kids at the end of a long and hard day at work, followed by making meals and cleaning their houses? Quite frankly I don’t know how they do it all, I’m not sure I could.

I have oodles of admiration for a working Mum, a fellow sister who is busy proving to the world that we women can and do have it all. It wasn’t the right decision for me, but it certainly was for them and I salute that bravery. So I hope others will do the same, let’s agree to disagree and support each other’s difficult decision!

Baby you can drive my car.

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I’m cheating slightly, by re-posting a very old post from a few years ago. I blogged anonymously for at least a week (!) so I’m fairly certain no one read this the first time round …. I have had a ridiculously busy few days and didn’t want to abandon my brand new blog. I have however corrected my punctuation errors, goodness I really do need to re-learn my grammar! There may still be a few mistakes, but I have at least used more than one comma per sentence this time.

I couldn’t, for the life of me, find my car in Waitrose car park today. We have had this car for only a week and it’s a black saloon, so it blends in a little too well. I was probably wandering aimlessly for only a few minutes, but it reminded me of another lost car incident.

A couple of years ago we had, for the first time ever, a courtesy car, after P had a minor prang in our own car. Usually we go for the cheapest insurance we can find, which invariably doesn’t include a courtesy car. So what a treat to be driving an almost new car, air conditioning, central locking that works etc. The make and model of the car escape me now, but it was the first time that I had driven it. After the school run I popped to the bank and parked the car in the small car park.

My youngest was almost two and still at the age, where if you put him down, he would immediately seize the opportunity to run away as fast as his little legs could carry him. So as the bank had automatic doors, that constantly opened and closed, I decided to stay one step ahead of him and just carry him for the duration. Naturally there was a queue and by the time we arrived back at our car, I was hot and bothered and my arms felt as if they were coming out of their sockets.

This, of course, would be the perfect time for the central locking remote to stop working. Maybe central locking isn’t such a boon after all? We stood there for what seemed an eternity, until finally my prayers were answered and the doors unlocked. I leant in to pop my toddler in his car seat and that’s when I realised that it wasn’t there!

Someone had stolen our car seat. How on earth were we going to get home? At the same time as these thoughts were going through my head, a man’s voice shouted: “Hey, that’s my car!” How do you explain that you are a tired and harassed Mother of four, who had forgotten what her courtesy car looked like. That I had parked in an entirely different place and no I wasn’t trying to steal his car. My solution? I ran away as fast as my little legs would carry me ….