Being there

I have just successfully managed to get my boss to agree to me reducing my hours at work.  Obviously I am talking about my ‘proper’ work, sildenafil i.e. the place I go to where I do grown up things like present papers to Executive Steering Groups, engage stakeholders to work collaboratively towards critical deliverables, develop project plans and change the date on my weekly programme status reports. Not the one where I wipe snotty noses, build Hello Kitty jigsaws puzzles with my eyes closed  and iron what feels like the contents of the entire children’s clothes section in M&S on a weekly basis.  As at today, that work still remains unpaid in hard cash terms.

No, this turnaround from ‘Throw it all at me, I can do it!’ to ‘Perhaps I need to redress the balance just a little,’ coincided with Little Princess Pinks’ first week at school. Up until then, much in the way of advice on the matter of mummy working / children schooling had been extremely conflicting, from the ‘it gets so much easier to do it all when they are at school’ to the ‘trying to get everything done, especially when you need to factor in homework now, is just so difficult’.  I decided (in the stubborn way that I often do) that I would make it work.  After all, I’m *ahem* supermummy.

I’d never entered the unknown territory that was the After School Club until I decided that my working pattern would remain as was, and we would quite simply have to make use of said club as a means of childcare for LPP from a Monday to Thursday.  Decision made, but still battling with this voice in my head which would occasionally bellow in my ear – ‘Are you really sure?,’ we set about registering, booking and arranging all childcare requirements from school bell at 3.10 to which-ever-one- of- us-could- get- there- first (but somewhere in the region of 5pm) at the After School Club.  From day one, it niggled and niggled at me.  It just wasn’t part of the master plan.  I have very clear memories of my mum picking me up from school, taking me to the library where I would choose six books (yes, even back then I was a read-y / write-y book geek) and off we’d trot home for milk, biscuits and homework at the kitchen table.  I remember the hours mum spent with me, reading, drawing and answering countless ‘but why’ questions, and so along with primary teachers 1 – 7 and the entire cast of St. Kentigerns Academy, she is to be credited with me turning out fairly okay.

But, we ploughed along regardless.  After School Club it was.  Until day one when I arrived to pick LPP up after her first full day at school and after school club only to find her in floods of tears (despite being dressed up as Snow White which is usually a smile-inducing activity in our house.) I had to fight with myself not to stuff the cheque I’d just written to pay for the month hurriedly back into my handbag, whisk her away in a stealth like manner, yelling ‘Thanks, it’s been lovely, but we won’t be back any time soon’ over my shoulder as we made haste for the door.

Now, I know day one will always be the tough one, and the most logical part of my being says the same as everyone else is thinking – I know she’ll settle and I know it will all come good.  But I couldn’t argue with the part inside me that said, ‘You know what you need to do.’  I should have gone with my gut in the first place.  After a week of number crunching, case building, looking where we could cut the cloth accordingly, putting forward a request to my boss, seeing LPP settle more and more into the After School Club (well, it was always going to happen wasn’t it?) we got to the point this week where it was a done deal.  I’ll be an even parter-part-timer in the workplace and hopefully a there-when-I-really should be mummy.  Conversation with boss and bosses boss was very much in the realms of ‘don’t for one minute think I’m any less committed, because I’m not.’ And truly, I’m not.  In fact I already anticipate that I’ll put in more than I’m contracted to, as it’s an unwritten and unspoken rule that part-timers need to prove their worth, part-timers need to show just how productive they can still be, no slippage of quality, no dumbing down of the old grey matter.  Still on the career ladder, perhaps just teetering on the edge as opposed to two feet firmly on the rung, but still there and hanging on.

So here we are, from next week, I’ll be picking LPP up from school, and after school club will become a great option for us when I just have to be in the office late in the afternoon, or when school holidays come around and between us we still don’t have a enough annual leave entitlement to cover all the days needed.  Little Princess Pink has already expressed some disgust at the new arrangement in the form of “BUT I LOVE THE DINO CLUB – THEY HAVE PICTUREKA!” however, shes coming round.  I’m not sure if it was the grand plans for French on a Tuesday or swimming lessons on a Wednesday that did it, or perhaps it was the promise of Tuesdays being solely restricted to library visits and milk, biscuits and homework at the kitchen table.

One day, I hope she too will reflect fondly on it, knowing that us mummies only ever try to do our best by them.

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Comments

  1. Kirsteen Phillips says:

    Love love love this blog! I can totally relate to it as try desperately to be a ‘super mummy’ myself! Great to know you are not alone in the task of juggling kids / work / hubb and some ‘me’ time (whatever that is…….). Keep em coming! xx

  2. Super Mummy says:

    Thanks for reading, and for your lovely comments. It’s not easy is it, but it’s how we approach it that can make all the difference!

    There is a supermummy in all of us!

    x

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