Ah the good old work/life balance. Let me just clear something up. You absolutely CANNOT have it all. And whoever tells you can, is lying. Or they have a nanny. Who lives in.
In this house there is no Mr. There is just me, flying the flag for all of the titles – ‘mum’, ‘dad’, ‘breadwinner’, ‘stay at home parent’, ‘good cop’, ‘bad cop’, you get the drift. Something nearly always gives, normally it’s the house. By the time we get to Thursday the kitchen looks like a bomb has gone off and theres clothes strewn everywhere. Chances are I haven’t hovered either. I was going to get a cleaner, but then didn’t. Seems a bit pretentious, after all – we should be able to do it all shouldn’t we? Bring up the children to be lovely, well rounded humans, go to work for however many hours per week, keep the house tidy, make all the food from scratch, exercise, socialize, chair up the Parent Council (I do do this actually, albeit not well).
I am currently less than 48 hours away from the deadline for a research project I’m doing. I’m procrastinating by writing this post. For the last few weeks I have left my house at 7.15am and haven’t been back before 5.30pm, such is life. I am very lucky to have some exceptional people in my life. My oldest girls are getting to spend a lot of time with their Dad just now, I have a very lovely friend who lets me offload them onto her at 7.20am so they can get to school and I can get into Edinburgh for 8.30am, she even feeds them for me, although I do provide the bread for the toast and I regularly buy her alcohol. I have an equally lovely, albeit financially draining relationship with a local nursery who takes charge of the Baby for up to 10.5 hours per day, 3 days a week. Some days i don’t even change a nappy. It’s great.
But it’s also a bit shit. I mean, i get to miss the stress of the school run. But, i also missed the middle ones Scottish Assembly last week. Apparently some parents cried, i wouldn’t know. Wasn’t there. I’m not sure she noticed i wasn’t there. Her dad was there, she was super excited about that. But i noticed. There is a permanent guilt between wanting to be there for everything and wanting to work really hard to give them the best life I can.
And while we’re on the subject of doing everything, I haven’t exercised this week yet. Or shaved my legs. Talk about being a success. Instead, i’m in bed, eating crisps and maltesers (hormones) worrying about getting fat, and trying to figure out how many words of this project I can write before I have to pick the kids up from school tomorrow.
Who are this people who have it all? I want to meet one.
But actually…I had a bit of a realisation this week. Who cares? What does it matter? My house isn’t as tidy as so and so’s round the corner, but maybe she has a cleaner? Who knows. So the baby is in childcare 3 days a week, well there are kids who are in five days a week. Who cares? I don’t have it all. I don’t want it all either. I live in a state of manic chaos always, i am flustered most of the time, i am slightly softer than i was this time last year, i work more, i exercise less, but i am happy. My kids are happy (I think, i don’t see them enough to ask them). I made a decision to have children, and I made a decision that for a while they would come before anything else. And i stayed at home for 6 years and did the stay at home mummy thing. It was great. And it was also really bloody boring. It’s ok to want to be at home, and it’s ok to want to go to work. No one has a perfect life. No one ‘has it all’. And that’s ok.
Because if you had it all…what else is there to strive for?