Monday, March 4, 2013

Hat Juggling

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This is what the week before I started working, and the week of, looked like.

Week before:

Nathan gets cranky because he will not be able to play soccer, as I work on Saturdays and will need him to look after Aston on that day. The fact that he is getting paid to do this doesn't seem to matter. A whole lot of "it's not fair" "this sucks" "I hate my life" are heard. Loudly.

The washing machine breaks down, my to my delight. On informing Laura, her response is, "Well it had better be fixed by Wednesday! I need my uniform for work on Thursday!!" (Obviously I have conspired to make life as difficult as possible for her, because, you know, she will be the only one affected by not having a working washing machine!)

The night before I start work, Aston bursts into tears at the dinner table and declares "I don't want you to go to work!"

Needless to say, I am starting my new job with a healthy  unhealthy dose of mother guilt. This is going to be interesting.

Day 1:
AM - Nathan has a tantrum because I won't let him take his iPod to school. "Its MY iPod! Why can't I take it to school?!?" Hmmm... Let's see. BECAUSE THE LAST ONE WAS STOLEN!

Laura, who is at a school leadership camp calls me, up in arms at the travesty of having to hand her mobile phone in. The fact that it clearly said on the note that mobile phones weren't to be used, as the purpose of the camp was for the school leaders to build rapport with each other seems to invade her. While I did want to be able to contact her, as no contact number had been supplied, I could understand the reasoning behind this. Having this discussion with her, after already dealing with the gangster teen, while trying to get ready for work, was not on my to do list for the day!!

PM - I get home from work, somewhat exhausted. My brain about to explode from information overload, and my body about to collapse from being vertical all day. Nathan arrives home from Karate training, indignant that he "had to ride MYSELF to karate!!" Laura calls from camp, on her teacher's mobile, completely self absorbed. "I'm so tired." She has completely forgotten that I have started work until I remind her. At dinner Aston asks me, "When are you not going to be working anymore?"

Day 2:
AM - Aston wakes at 5am, in the throes of an asthma attack. In between gasps of breath, he hysterically announces "I don't want to die!!" Such comforting words for me to hear.... I manage to calm him down enough to be able to take Ventolin. I sit with him, laying against me upright, watching cartoons, and him telling me "I don't want you to go to work". I wait to see which way this is going to go, Ventolin work, and him settle, or off to the hospital.  In my head, I'm thinking, Great start to my new job, second day I have to ring up and say I can't come in...

Thankfully, the Ventolin does its thing, and he settles. But, my anxiety is still high, and I don't feel comfortable with him going to school. The inner dialogue is rampant. My mother is still on holidays with us, and tells me, "its OK Vicky. I'm here. Go to work." Reluctantly, I get ready, and go.

PM - Laura returns from camp to the school at 5.30. I have arranged for her boyfriend's mother to pick her up, as I don't finish work until 5.30, and her school is a 20 minute drive away. When I pick her up, I'm on automatic. The lights are on, but no-ones home. She gets in the car, and promptly has a melt down of .8 on the Richter scale of melt downs. Physical and mental exhaustion after spending three days participating in an ANZAC style Leadership Boot camp will do that to you. I suck up my own exhaustion, arrive back in my body, and become present for my daughter. We take a walk around the lake, giving her the opportunity to de-brief.

Thankfully, when I get home, Nathan has cooked dinner, and does an excellent job! I fall into bed, non compos mentis.

Day 3:
AM - Aston is still not 100%. Laura is exhausted from the camp, and M decides he is going to have a sick day, and Mum decides that as Laura and M are going to be home, she is going out for the day. All these things through my new morning routine out the window. I some how manage to get to work in time, anxious, but able to leave it behind. I finish at 2pm today, come home, and fall into bed for an hour, and sleep like the dead.

PM - As I'm putting Aston to bed at 7.30pm, all I want to do is put myself to bed as well. Laura is working tonight and doesn't finish until 10pm. I inwardly curse, and declare that she had better get her bloody Ps soon! Aston discovers he has a very wiggly tooth. His first! He is very excited, then gets worried about swallowing it, because then how will the tooth fairy find it? I assure him that it will be OK, it will travel out his body, and come out when he goes to the toilet. He responds "but then her wings will get wet!" God I love that kid.

Day 4:
AM - I'm not starting work until 1pm today, but its Laura's Leadership induction at school this morning. It's also Aston's first time at after school care. I calculate that I won't have time to drop Aston off at school, take Laura to school, stay for induction, come home, get changed and go to work. Make a plan to get ready for work, get Laura to take Aston into school, while I wait in the drop off zone, then drive to Laura's school for the induction. Aston protests loudly this morning, with lots of "I'm not going!!" and "Why do you have to work?"

PM - I ring after school care to make sure he has arrived safely and settled in. When I pick him up, he has lot to tell me, and has a good time. I breathe a sigh of relief, drive home, pack his bag, and hop back into the car to make the 40 minute journey to drop off as he is going to his father's for the weekend.

Day 5:
AM- I volunteered to work Saturdays as M usually works on Saturdays for at least half the day. Today, he isn't working, and he has forgotten that I am. Seeing as how we don't get much time alone together these days, he is disappointed that I'm going to work, and even more disappointed when he finds out I'm not finishing until 5.30!

PM - By the time I get home I'm shattered. M is making dinner, but I need to sleep. I lay down for an hour and half, and fall deeply asleep.

Waking up on Sunday and not having to go anywhere or do anything was blissful. I have survived the week. Just.

My respect for working mothers everywhere is raised higher then ever, and I text several friends asking them how the hell they have been doing this all these years?!

Even though I am tired beyond belief, I am loving being back at work. I get to talk to people all day, who are looking for things to make art and craft or solutions, and ideas for creating. My unique skill set, and the recognition that I have a unique skill set, has been invaluable. It seems I know far more then I realised. My experiences working in admin, being a full time mother, studying education, being creative have given me a wealth of information that I hadn't previously given the recognition and value that it deserved.

Its not all beer and skittles. The adjustment for the kids that I'm not going to be there at the their beck and call has been interesting, and challenging. Time management is paramount. As is sharing the load, and asking for help. Four weeks in we are all starting to adjust, and make changes.

Are you a working mum? Any suggestions/ideas/advice on the juggle would be greatly appreciated.


  1. Oh my God, I'm exhausted reading that! I'm impressed Nathan cooks (that's a positive!) and goodness, what a scary thing asthma attacks are for a little kid... and their parents. Had to giggle at you 'conspiring' to make Laura's life miserable as possible. Oh, mum!

    1. It's interesting times in my house at the moment. Last night the two teens said to me that they were glad I was working, but wish I wasn't. Seems all of my babies are missing having me at their beck and call.

  2. Wow! What a big week! It would be a hard adjustment for all of you. I work three days a week but always have so my boys (6 & 3) are used to it. Takes a bit of extra negotiation when extra curricular activities are involved though & I'm lucky to have a flexible employer (at the moment!). Good luck & I hope next week is easier for all of you x

    1. I think that is the biggest adjustment for my three, its a new routine and rhythm. Things are starting to settle more, but my six year old is feeling the loss probably the most. Thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to your posts about mental wellness. I like that "label". It has positive connotations. :)


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