My situation has changed. After two years of being a Stay at Home Mum, I have Gone Back To Work. Not the job I did previous to having my second child, but a brand new job, in a related but new field. I think I’m doing OK. I have been thrown in at the deep end, and am drowning in various induction training and policy documents, but no-one has realised yet that I don’t really know what I’m doing, and my professional facade has so far remained in place.
With a return to work comes many benefits: I can go to the toilet in work without a small person barging in to show me something very important; I can drink a whole cup of tea at an acceptably hot temperature instead of having to set it down somewhere safe after two sips, and then getting distracted by aforementioned small people and forgetting about it until it’s stone cold. I can traverse a room without standing on a piece of lego/playmobil character/Shopkin. These are all not to be sniffed at, although none of them appear in the employee benefits package.
However, my mum facade is definitely slipping. Today I received the dreaded phone call, the one that begins “Is that Mrs Bell? This is the school…” Luckily, no harm had come to my eldest daughter, who has just started P1. I had just ‘forgotten’ to send in her lunchbag with the child. The lunch had been lovingly prepared, and kept in the fridge to keep the assortment of yoghurts, fruit and sandwiches fresh. The lunchbox just remained in the fridge when one harassed, stressed mum was shepherding the children out the door on a working day. That’s not even the worst of it – last week, I totally forgot I had a child to pick up from school, and was only reminded by male parent half an hour before pick-up time, when I was 40 minutes away. Thank goodness for local grandparents who were able to step in at short notice.
I’m sure there will be more parenting transgressions in the coming months, as it’s impossible to split yourself in two, be two places at once, and give everyone and everything your full focus. But as long as no-one gets hurt, and my own parenting village steps in to help me raise these kids, I think we’ll muddle through. Plenty of other mums manage to juggle work and family, and find some sort of balance, and I’m sure I’ll get in the swing of it soon. Did I mention I’m cycling to work? That is a whole other column!
Finally, as a mum I couldn’t let this column go by without using what little influence I have to encourage everyone to watch the BBC’s news report into Starving Yemen, which should still be available on their website. The pictures of starving children shocked me to the very core, and we need to do whatever we can to stop more children dying needlessly. Thanks for your time.