I know it has been discussed to death. There’s even been a movie made about it, after a book was written about it. I’m talking about having it all as a working mother. Is it possible? Is it possible to work, raise children, stay happily married and not completely lose your mind in the process? Short Answer – No. Long answer – No.
But what does ALL mean? Isn't that like defining Normal? By all, do people mean being happy and successful in your chosen field of work, bringing up smart, emotionally stable and healthy children whilst keeping the house clean and husband satisfied? Because if that is having it all then I fail daily – on all levels. Do I still continue to give it a red hot go? Sure.
But often it is to the detriment of some aspect of my life. In short, something has to give.
First to Give:
Sex on tap. When you have an exhausting day at work, the dog has shat on the carpet as a basic fuck you for leaving him alone all day at home and the middle child has roundhouse spewed green bile all over the lounge room rug as you walk in the door, for some reason your ‘come hither’ eyes, have turned into ‘come near me with your penis and I will find a new function for your Swiss Army Knife’ eyes. Often a consequence is that the bedroom action slides a little. Or a lot.
Next to Give:
Parental supervision. Once upon a time, I believed I would NEVER be one of those parents who would give their child a device to keep them quiet in public. No damn it, if we were going out, we would be that family sitting serenely sipping tea and telling funny anecdotes. Yeah, no. Trying to make sure all time is quality time, puts major pressure on not only you but the children as well. Hence the equipment comes out. Portable DVD players. DS, phones etc etc. Whatever keeps them amused and allows us, as a couple, time to actually speak to each other has been embraced. Judge as you see fit.
Not long after:
The general housework and cleaning gets put on the backburner. No seriously. My car hasn’t been cleaned out in a year. Minimum. I found a power Ranger stuck up the Air conditioner vent just yesterday. That and a petrified french-fry. It seriously is the last thing I feel like doing when I get home. Easy solution is to hire a cleaner. But we all know people just clean for the cleaner. So perhaps my answer is just for someone to threaten me with a cleaner..
Stuff might slip past you that you’d normally notice. Like producing a child who begins to love Nickelback inappropriately.
OBVIOUS SIGN ALL IS NOT DOABLE
You may start to notice your daily alcohol units start to increase more than is generally acceptable. You get home, you have a wine. You have dinner, you have a wine. You watch telly (while not cleaning or reading your child a bedtime story) and have a wine. You tell yourself you deserve it because you’ve had the kind of day that deserves a wine.
YOU CAN’T BE EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME:
This is why I know, as a working Mum, who is there 5 days a week, that when I become more worried about pacifying the boss, I have lost the having it all battle. It generally starts with some kind of concert. One where your child is a potato, or a gnome or something hideously unimportant to anyone other than yourself. And you are desperate to see it. But on occasions, you will fail at making an appearance at these. And your child will file this kind of behaviour under ‘stuff to throw back in my mother’s face at my best opportunity’. Guilt comes hand in hand with being a working parent. It chokes you at times. None more so then when your child is at the front of an assembly, receiving an award, searching the crowd for the familiar face of their parent so they can show off their award. To hear the words “Mum, I looked for you, but I couldn’t find you” breaks your heart into a few million pieces. And also earns you the shittest parent in the world award.
So above a few examples of what gives in my world. What has to give probably. I used to smugly think I was doing it all. That I had it under control. But now I realise, it doesn't matter whether I do or I don't. It matters whether it feels right. For you, for the family unit as a whole and most importantly, the kids. I think I'm operating at about 70%. With room for improvement. Always room for improvement.
What do you think? Can it all be done? Can you have it all? What does having it all even mean?