12 confessions of a working mum: How many do you relate to?
And the 13th confession of a working mum is that before I became one, I'd shrug and ignore the 'confession' category of stories I came across. Sigh!
Dear daughter (who often plays my mum),
I thought I must write to you… each day, every day, a ‘something special’ only for you. As usual your mummy has no agenda when she shoots off on these trips of hers. She wears her shoes, checks if enough time is in her pockets, for all the detours she is going to take on these trips… but it’s never enough.
And as we speak of time, I feel the pinch. On my way to work, in the car, I sit and wonder of all the fun things we could have done together, and all the conversations we’d have while doing those fun things… I feel a sense of paramount guilt.
For not being around when your first tooth came off and other such instances which have, for some odd reason, emotional values attached to them. Of course, that pesky milk tooth that bothered you for almost a week is tucked away in my wallet for posterity.
Being a parent is a tough job. A fun, emotionally uplifting job, but tough nevertheless. Now imagine, being a parent AND trying to maintain another job that actually pays you for the ‘work’ you do in those 8-9 hours that you spend in office?
Yes, it’s doubly difficult. How do I manage? How do I not pass-out in the middle of that important meeting with top officials, and the phone blinks ‘Call from Home’? What keeps my kind going? Do I have a clone? Not that I do an exceptional job of mothering. Still.
Here are 12 confessions of your mum, a working mum, who wishes she was better than her current version, but would rather not go for an upgrade:
1. I love you insanely, BUT, sweet child o’ mine, you are not the centre of my universe. The weekly review meet with my peers is. It makes me feel less inept and more in control. Unlike your out-of-the-world questions that astound me enough to cook-up stories.
2. Once upon a time, before you happened, and when my work was neatly compartmentalised (courtesy all the free mind space, that you have now take over), I’d roll my eyes at colleagues with children who’d make that quick call to their nanny to check on the child or extend their lunch break to buy a gift for the child’s friend’s birthday. Clearly, you can’t be doing ‘home’ chores at work, I’d say in my head.
Today, not only am I guilty of doing all of the above, but it gets a tad worse. I take work home. I can’t hold myself from checking emails and replying to ‘important’ ones. Bah. So much for prioritising! Are you rolling your eyes at mommy now?
3. I cuss. I say that with a straight, serious face because I’m as horrified as the non-cussing mum out there. So I wouldn’t use swear words during the brief maternity leave that I took. It was like some switch went off, and I suddenly stopped swearing. And then I got back to work. I met real people. I started cussing again. Before you crucify me, in my defence, I choose to believe that it was never audible enough for you, the sponge of a daughter I have who sucks in each word I utter and each move I make.
Continue reading to know more about the confessions of a working mum.
Of course, the one time that I said the [email protected]#$ word in front of you, I was quick enough to start with the phonic song (more on that in my next post) and rhymed it with luck, muck, stuck. I think I got away with it. Er… I did, didn’t I?
4. I won’t necessarily cook your favourite dish, but what's easy and quick. So remember when you said you will only have okra for dinner, and I said, ‘we’ve run out of okra’? Ya well, I lied. In fact, I don’t even like cooking. Hmph!
5. Before I had you, I’d actually judge mums who let their children out in public with messy hair and strangely paired clothes. I’d wonder how they could let their offsprings step out of home like THAT? And then I had you. I realised that as much as I tried to give you the well-combed, well-kempt look, it was a matter of minutes before you’d be back looking like yourself, the headband off, and a yellow pair of shorts to go with your baby pink tee. Yup. You do have some eccentric taste. And stop looking at me.
6. I often use you as an excuse for the unsorted laundry piled on the bed. “Oh, it’s a mess, my home… you know with a six-year-old lassie at home, it’s quite a task expecting everything to be in place, AND tidy."
7. Some days I wish I could be a stay-at-home mum (SAHM). No, I’m not saying that SAHMs have it any better than a working mum. Nope. But, the grass on the other side, really does look greener. So you, my sweet child, are lucky I ain’t there hovering around you 24/7.
8. I have given up on my pre-pregnancy body because I’m lazy and not because I don’t care. And when someone points out my ‘love handles’, I just wriggle out of it by saying, ‘I don’t really care yaar… after a point these things shouldn’t matter’. But in reality, my insides tear-up. And those zebra crossings that you tug on, signs of a war, my gurl!
9. I no longer love surprises. While I was all for an impromptu dinner planned by your daddy, today, with you looking like a hungry Labrador puppy looking for some adventure (and food), anything that hasn’t been discussed a fortnight in advance, doesn’t go down well with me. I especially dislike surprises thrown in by your beloved teacher, Miss Mellow.
Continue reading to know more about the confessions of a working mum.
10. I sneak out for a night out with my friends. Yes. How come you’ve never found out? Well, remember those far and few long-nights spent at work? I wasn’t in office, my picture of innocence. The guilt only creeps in when the next day you greet me with a tight hug and say, ‘You’ve worked through the night, na? Let me make some Tang for you.’ Ouch!
11. I hate the weekday morning rush - trying to get myself ready for work, getting you dressed and presentable (if only for half an hour), and the daycare drop-off done. I always end up feeling super fried and that’s what makes me mad, not your puppy-face that begs for ‘another 5-minutes with mommy’.
12. I dread your birthdays! There you go. I have said it. It’s like some impending doom, waiting to happen. Thinking up of a ‘different’ theme, getting the outfit in place, the cake and catering organised, invites sent out to all, and on time, getting return-gifts in place (sorted on the basis of age and gender *shaking my head*).
Whatever happened to buying the birthday dress a weekend before The Day, placing an order for a cake on the birthday eve and buying toffees on your way from work, straight home where a bunch of children are happy playing with each other, oblivious to the concept of return gifts. Sigh!
These confessions are not to lessen the guilt I (and most mums, working or stay-at-home) live with. It’s just so you know that I’m as vulnerable and weak as anyone else you know. I’m just another mum, standing in front of her child, wanting to be spared some mercy and time. You can’t possibly love me more than you already do. So I won’t ask for that.
As for me, what I do know is, I’ve become less of a critic and more, all-forgiving (almost all), non-judgemental woman who will not roll her eyes at the next little girl running amok with her hair in a mess. My life is chaotic. But I see a fun and funny pattern in the chaos. Clearly, I’ve also started looking at the silver lining (the heavily veiled silver lining) to all things that encompasses motherhood. Cheers to my kind, and all kinds.
Mumma (who sometimes plays your daughter)
As a working mum, do you have any confessions to make? Please share in the Comment box below.