Balancing Kids With A Career
We list experiences that working mums and dads can relate to
By Davina Hamilton
AFTER ARRIVING at work one day last week and being informed by a colleague that my daughter’s pink Hello Kitty hairclip was attached to one of my box braids, I decided that the trials and triumphs of being a working mum were worth writing about!
For those of us who live the working mum experience, we know it’s a balancing act that rarely gets the credit it deserves. And at times, it’s no easy feat.
You force yourself to look attentive during office meetings, even though sleep deprivation is killing you inside; you smile when you arrive at work, even though you’re sad that you’ve left your poorly child at home; and you make sure you meet every deadline your boss sets, so as not to be labeLled the employee who’s lagging ‘because she’s got kids’.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. That sense of achievement you feel knowing that you can hold down your career, while doing the far more important job of raising your offspring is priceless.
And your organisational skills are second to none. Compile your notes for that important presentation, iron a week’s worth of school shirts and cook dinner – in one day? Piece of cake!
So hats off to all of us working mothers, who kiss our kids goodbye every morning (or evening, for those of you doing night shifts), and go out to earn a crust. Here are 10 scenarios that you might just relate to.
YOU KNOW YOU'RE A WORKING MUM WHEN…
1. You pick up your smartphone to do an Internet search and find that a YouTube video of Peppa Pig was the last page visited.
2. Humming cartoon theme tunes while at your your desk is an occasional occurrence.
3. When your teenage son rings you at work with some foolish request, you refrain from unleashing the cussing he deserves and instead say, ‘we’ll discuss it when I get home’, in a tone of voice appropriate for the office.
4. You have pictures of your kids in frames on your desk and/or as screen savers on your computer.
5. You laugh when your toddler jumps on your computer, pretends to type and says, “I’m working like mummy.”
6. You know when you pack up and leave the office at 5pm, it’s not the end of your working day. Shift two begins with your kids when you get home.
7. You think to yourself ‘you don’t know the half’ when your childless colleagues complain about not getting enough sleep.
8. You arrive at work and a colleague informs you you’ve got a Doc McStuffins sticker on the back of your shirt.
9. You consider work ‘a break’ from looking after your kids, but…
10…You smile when your kids greet you with a heartwarming cry of ‘mummy!’ when you get home from work.
DADS, WE HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN YOU...
While much has been written about stay-at-home dads (and we do salute you, fellas), less has been documented about the fathers who work from home. Here are a few scenarios that work from home dads may relate to.
1. You wake up extra early to wash dishes and get the house in order before the kids wake up – and before your working day begins.
2.You schedule all calls to take place during your baby’s nap time (and pray that they don’t wake up unexpectedly while you’re on that important conference call).
3. You power through as much work as possible before 3pm, when you have to pack up (temporarily) and prepare to start the school run.
4.You’re forever having to replace the A4 paper in your printer, as your toddler thinks she’s Picasso and insists on creating endless ‘art’ with her crayons.
5. You’ve had to chase after your one-year-old when he’s run off with the mouse from your computer. Or, you’ve found said mouse in your little one’s toy box, after he swiped it from your desk when you weren’t looking.
6. You have to stop work to either change nappies, mix bottles for your baby or cook dinner before your kids get home from school.
7. “No, you can’t use my laptop to watch cartoons,” is a sentence you often utter. Or, you relented and bought your five-year-old son his own iPad so you wouldn’t have to say it anymore.
8. You often have to work late to compensate for hours missed during the day.
9. You stop working to sing a quick rendition of The Wheels On The Bus, upon your little one’s request – and every now and again, you actually enjoy it!
Originally posted on The Voice website in February 2016