I am tired. I am shattered. I can’t function, really. My face hurts and my body feels like jelly. Yet I am up at 5am today after only sleeping 5 hours in 1.5hour bursts last night and the night before and the night before that for as long as I can remember.
It is noon and feels like midnight. My baby is hungry and my toddler wants to play. In between feeding my baby, puzzle-time and play-dough time, I sit down and work. Then I change my baby’s nappy and then work again. Give the kids a bath, play with them, feed them, sing to them and put them to sleep. Then back to my desk and work away. No I cannot sleep when they sleep. I choose to work when they sleep. Yes choose. I chose to be a working mum and I work mostly from home. Great- in theory it’s great. In practice it’s great but boy can it get tough.
I haven’t napped. I will not nap. I will not rest until those few hours in the deep of the night. Until I hear that cry again and again. And the cycle starts all over again.
Make-up hides the bags under my eyes during client meetings. I look strong. I look like I am a kick-ass mum who has it all under control. People are in awe of me. How could she manage a marriage, a high pressure job, and two kids? The truth is I don’t. I just switch from one to the other like a headless chicken.
Is it ok to want to hide? Hide away from it all and cry? Just sob? Is it ok to need a break? A break from everyone? A break from myself. A break from my mind which constantly tells me I am not doing enough? How could I demand a break from my kids? I am so blessed and lucky to have two beautiful healthy children whilst other women have not even been blessed with one? How could I complain? It is my choice to be a working mother isn’t it? Yet no it is not.
Life doesn’t always end up as you imagined it would. I am not in this alone. It is not just me I need to provide for. It is my children, it is my family and I do not get to decide this on my own. My husband and I took a decision together –we could not afford me to stop working-for now at least. People may continue to judge and say oh it’s the lifestyle you choose. Well yes I want to send my children to the best school I can, I want to also be able to afford indulging any hobby/sport they would have. I want to have the opportunity to teach them about the world by travelling with them. I also do not want the financial strain of having just one income and risk breaking my marriage. Because believe me it can.
It is midnight now and there it goes – my baby is crying – oh and now my toddler is screaming. Fun times. Can I go hide? In a deep deep hole? Like now?
No. Because I am an adult. I am a mother. I am a working mother with young kids. I cannot rest. Then morning comes and the sun is out. I look into my children’s eyes and realise that there is a reason I am doing this and that is because I would do anything for my children. I love them more than I love myself and am doing the best I possibly can. A tear rolls down my face and my toddler wipes it away and the energy comes back. I am dancing I am jumping I am playing peek-a-boo and everyone is laughing. And for that one moment I AM that kick-ass mum, the one people think I am.
by Agnes Mae for Buzymummy