I am having a hard day as a mother. I can’t complain really. The last time I felt this way was back in January and honestly twice in eight months is pretty good going.
But still, today my daughter is very needy, moany, whiney and generally tearful. I think it would be okay if I didn’t have a to do list as long as, well, four A4 landscapes and hadn’t been up with her since just before 4am.
I guess my patience is wearing thin and my mantle of motherhood needs a bit of spit and polish, because I am feeling a little frayed around the edges.
And I guess that’s okay too, isn’t it? I mean, in becoming a mother I have not lost my humanity, nor have I lost my fallibility â€“ to the contrary, these things show up in stark contrast to a time when I could lock myself in an office for an “admin day”, or keep myself occupied with meetings, project boards, planning and strategies. Nothing takes your mind off real life like a project budget or ten hour report you know some government official is barely going to glance at.
As a mother, your difficult client (the baby) can’t be ignored â€“ no answer phone or out of office to delay having to deal with it. As a mother, staff problems have to be dealt with in house â€“ when you’re the staff and the manager there’s no avoiding the issues. As a mother, running out of supplies, keeping to schedules and deadlines are entirely up to you â€“ no one else is going to do it. After all, what do you do at home all day?
I’m a workaholic. Scratch that. When I was a project manager, I had the potential to be a workaholic. I don’t do anything by half measures. If it’s worth my time, it’s worth all of my time. It’s what made me a good employee, so I guess it only makes sense that having a bad day at home is so much more taxing on me than having a bad day at work ever was. At least at work you can close the door and go home for the day.
As an employee, whole sections of society are employed to ensure your work/life balance. My employer had a quarterly ‘staff health’ day where they’d get a reflexologist and Indian head masseuse in for free relaxation, (don’t get excited â€“ 5000 staff, 32 slots four times a year â€“ you do the math). I don’t get that kind of treatment at home! And since I’m not working, I can rarely afford it either.
I’m not really complaining. I love being a Stay at Home Mother, and I love being the one to raise my daughter. I love being the one to see all her firsts and that I don’t have to read about them from a daily feedback book. I appreciate that my husband is working long hours to make it possible and I acknowledge that I probably need a new wardrobe and could do with a professional hair cut, but these are not possible.
This is the choice I’ve made, and I have no regrets, but there are these two days a year when I wonder at how much work ‘just being at home’ really is, on every level.