Tuesday, 25 February 2014

(not) an open letter to other mothers

Dear stay at home mums and working mums,

I recently came across open letters from a working mum to stay at home mums and vice versa, and it was pretty cool. It went against the Mommy War grain and put forth messages of support for those in the trenches at home and in the office. How lovely to see something written about mothers that didn't make anyone feel like shit. That's a big step forward for the Internet.

I'm a both a working mum and a stay at home mum. I work in an office and I work from home. I'm employed part-time by several clients, which actually totals more hours than I ever put into my Monday-Friday job. Then I do this mummy thing which takes up quite a lot of time, too.

"What will you do with all your time?" people asked me when my youngest started school. I replied through gritted teeth "I'll still be doing all the jobs and errands I was doing before." This is the stay at home mum dilemma: people think you have nothing to do unless it involves childcare or physically going into an office. Legally, you are allowed to poke these people in the eye with your car keys.

All school events seem to fall on my office days, meaning I miss out on things like sports days and assemblies. Sometimes I can go into work late, but I can't swap my days due to childcare and after school activities. This is the the working mum dilemma: you miss out on kid stuff because you're stuck in the office or putting your nose to the grindstone to meet deadlines. Legally, you are allowed to consume vast amounts of gin to help cope with your deep resentment for conference calls. (Take the bus on these occasions though, obvs.)

In the end though, we are all mothers. We all give up sleep, money, personal hygiene, food, sanity and a host of other things for the sake of our kids. I see you staggering around the aisles of the supermarket, trying to do your weekly shop in 3 minutes before your child has a meltdown (who is not at all happy despite the fact that you've given him a baguette, a punnet of grapes, and a bag of chocolate chip cookies.) I see you in your office raising a cup of hot tea to the sky, eyes closed in a prayer of thanks for the opportunity to consume a warm beverage in its entirety. I see you at home, your eyes fretfully oscillating between your laptop that contains a looming deadline and the enormous pile of laundry. I get it. And as an in-between mum, I am totally with you.

I would hold up my fist in solidarity, but then you'd see my bingo wings.

Another Mum

*(I can't call this an open letter because it'll vex my friend Heidi.)


Very Berry Handmade said...

Although my 'office' is at home, I am right there with you, reaching for the car keys and the gin...

Anonymous said...

Consider me seriously unvexed. I thank you. xx