I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, being a mom is hard. Being a career woman is hard. Putting the two together and being a working mom is probably the hardest thing I have ever done.
For anyone who has ever really wondered why I, and thousands of woman may ‘change’ when we become mothers, I’ll give you a little glimpse of what really goes into the day in the life of a working mom.
Its 4 pm. I’ve been up since 4 am, and several times throughout the night tending to you, my baby, who needed a dummy, a blanket or simply a reassuring cuddle.
My husband was flying to Cape Town today, so I managed to squeeze in a 30 minute jog before he left home. It felt awesome. At 6 am I fed you, changed you, then changed you again because you decided your morning poo would be better in a brand new nappy. In between showering and dressing for work I checked emails, sang to you with my hair dryer, fed the dogs, made my lunch, packed your bags, packed my bags, and managed to leave the house to drop you off at crèche. All without you falling off the bed (again). I managed to avoid most of the traffic fuckery and got to my desk just after 8:30. There were a few raised eyebrows of course.
I worked hard today. I even landed a new client, and managed to get everything done on my list, and then some. I drove very far for a meeting, secured some budget for a new client campaign, and man, I enjoyed every second of my hot cup of coffee. I bantered with colleagues, ate my salad whilst typing a report, and declined the after work drinks invitation in my diary.
I work harder than ever before, baby. I guess its what happens when you feel like you have something to prove. When you feel that people assume you cant have working ovaries and a brain.
At 4 pm I bolted from my desk. There were a few raised eyebrows. I managed to get to your crèche by 5 pm, the time was filled with a call to a client. Yesterday I wasn’t so lucky. Yesterday I got stuck in a terrible hailstorm for 2 hours and reached your school last. You were so forgiving and gave me that toothy grin that melts my heart.
We normally race home from crèche, because you go to bed not long after. Today I had to pop into Woolworths for dog food and wine. The store didn’t have those baby seats on the trolleys, so I carried you instead. I couldn’t manage the dog food and the wine while carrying you, so I sadly put the Merlot back on the shelf. I really needed wine today.
The store is decorated in Christmas colours. I get a lump in my throat. I’m so worried about money. How am I going to afford Christmas presents this year? The closes I’m getting to a bonus is 2 for 1 tampon specials at Clicks.
At the till I remembered we also needed baby food for you, because after cooking 3 kilograms of organic mince on the weekend, you decided you hated mince. I got a few raised eyebrows from other women in the store.
We got home not too long after and the dogs went mad with joy. I lay you on the floor with them – surrounded by pillows of course, because you still topple over sometimes, for just 2 minutes so I could wee, but somewhere between yesterday and today you’ve realised when I leave the room, and the sound of your frantic screams stopped me midway to the toilet.
You’re in your high chair now and I’m about to feed you the overpriced baby food from Woolies. You’re very distracted and I realise I have to change your nappy. 5 minutes later you’re back in your chair and I’m a plethora of aeroplane sounds as I try and convince you that pureed chicken and broccoli is more exciting than eating the plastic of your chair.
We skip the chicken and start on the yoghurt and fruit. Then the finger biscuits, grated cheese and dried mango. All along I’m teaching you and chatting to you about your day. For every mouthful you swallow, another 4 mouthfuls end up on you, the hounds and in my hair.
There’s another storm brewing outside, so I start running your bath while cooing at you in the next room. The sound of running water reminds me just how badly I need to pee, except you start crying again. You really do hate it when I leave now. You love the bath and we splash for several minutes until the first lightning bolt strikes. I whisk you out and take you to your room where you fight me and the onesie to the bitter end.
It’s too early for your bottle, plus I haven’t made it yet, so I bring you to the kitchen where I try start on dinner for myself while trying to give you my undivided attention. Your father phones to tell me about his
holiday work conference in Cape Town. He’s been on a wine farm all day. I want to stab him in the face.
We read a book. I choose ‘The Gruffalo’, because even though you’re too young to enjoy it properly, I love playing the characters and putting on the voices. You don’t enjoy the story too much, but the pages are apparently delicious.
I let the dogs outside and play with them and the Frisbee for a while. I almost threw you accidentally, you thought it was hilarious.
The smell of burning brings me back inside. I’ve scorched my supper, for the second night in a row.
It’s now nearly time for your bed, and I take you into your room to give you a bottle, which you refuse. Ten minutes later though I’m hanging over your cot feeding it to you again, because apparently that’s how you like it now.
Eventually, you’re asleep. Its 7 pm and I start cleaning the house, wiping yoghurt off the floors, walls and ceiling and steaming fruit for tomorrow’s meal. Dinner ends up being a box of popcorn and a beer. Your dad messages me to tell me about the curried pasta he’s eating at some fancy restaurant.
It’s 9 pm now and I’m signing off on a few emails. The house is quiet, and clean. I lock up the house, brush my teeth, and eventually I sit down to pee. You cry out, I think you’re experiencing nightmares.
That pee can wait.