The truth about being a PTMWAHMTAW

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this is what my kitchen island looks like on a work day!

I’m fortunate enough to work for a fab company and have a great manager who has agreed to my flexible working request. The current set up means I work mainly from home for my two day jobshare, with one day per month in the office near Liverpool Street in London. I have a wonderful team, a boss that values me and a jobshare partner that I class as a friend. On paper this sounds utterly idyllic, especially when you compare my situation to the poor women who are forced back to full time employment after maternity leave because they will lose their jobs otherwise. The reality can seem anything but blissful though. Take last Thursday for example, my first office day of the new year.

I was shattered on Wednesday evening. Totally exhausted after putting the girls to bed and giving the boy his last feed of almost two hours. I had a long list of things I wanted to achieve but was rendered incapable of doing much more than staring into space. I even forgot to set my alarm, and for the first time in goodness knows how long all the kids slept past 6am. Instead of rejoicing at this miracle I leapt out of bed cursing. I had 35 minutes to get ready, pack my bag, sort out food to take with, and shovel as much breakfast into the baby as I possibly could.

Needless to say it was a stress induced rush, and for the first time in weeks I was shouty and not very pleasant. When I did leave the house it was amid floods of tears, and I felt wretched leaving him behind with no time for a feed. I had to push the WMG* away as I ran down the road to catch my train, realising that I’d forgotten my purse and couldn’t even console myself with a coffee on my way in. My next challenge involved a train cancellation, and resulted in me being twenty minutes late. Thank goodness for that awesome boss of mine!

As you can imagine my office days end up being rather full, with as much packed in as I can muster. In theory this is fine but often results in a tail chasing day and double the work next time. I don’t usually take a break but as I’d not seen them in ages, I had one on Thursday for a coffee/gossip with a couple of mummy colleagues.Also the blood donation people were in our office, and as I’ve not been able to donate for over six years due to being pregnant or nursing a newborn, it felt like a good opportunity to do so.

wpid-img_1480.jpgThings like this never go to plan though do they. My appointment was seriously delayed, and what I remembered previously being 15 minutes max took over an hour all up. I felt lightheaded afterwards but couldn’t sit down and waste any more time, so grabbed a couple of biscuits for a quick energy fix instead. I was back at my desk for less than ten minutes before it was time to pack up. Thankfully I’d checked my trains in advance because my regular route had been cancelled, and I had to go another way which was running to time but got me home almost half an hour later.

I walked through the door wanting to collapse in a heap and nurse my sore arm, but had bedtime to contend with and a little boy who wanted his two hours of boobies. Of course the kids were up at the crack of dawn on Friday, but at least they all slept all night. My workload was insane, and the sigh of relief immense when clock off time rolled round and I said goodbye to my job for another five days. Right now I’m caught between the proverbial rock and hard place – there are many positives but it’s far from being completely rosy.

And that dear readers is the truth about being a part time (mostly) work at home mum, that also writes!

*WMG = working mummy guilt, a common first world problem

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46 Comment

  1. mummytries says:

    Every single time… Yet up at the crack of dawn at the weekend *sigh*

  2. Aileen says:

    Why do they always lie in on the one day you actually have to be somewhere??? I’ve started setting ‘just in case’ alarms now as Bubs is so unpredictable!!
    I love WMG (the acronym, not the actual guilt part!)
    Great post.

  3. mummytries says:

    It’s certainly been a difficult couple of months, but i’m hoping we’re on the up now 🙂

  4. mummytries says:

    Two days off sounds like absolute bliss! Hubby and I had a lovely long lunch the other week, and will hopefully get another one very soon. Going into the office the other week made me realise how lucky I am to be able to most work at home, I really would not be able to cope if I had to do that twice a week xx

  5. Oh darling, sorry to hear life is manic right now and I can relate. I literally took 2 days off last week and so glad I did, made the world of difference, you are an amazing, talented woman who like us all are juggling and sometimes we need to give ourselves a break where and when we can. Well done on the giving blood too but don’t push yourself too much in all areas, you have to look after you so everyone else can be OK. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

  6. Jenny says:

    Wow you are super woman and you are doing so many things your plate is full I would have been stressed and crazy if that happens to me too. Love your WMG it’s brilliant and so true. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

  7. mummytries says:

    I read this comment last night while I was feeding the baby and it had me bawling! Thank you so much for your beautiful words darling, they mean a lot xxx

  8. mummytries says:

    Insane most definitely Carol, but apparently all the best folk are 😉 thank you hon, such lovely kind words xx

  9. Oh I hear ya! I know I’m freelance , so I’m my own boss, but I still have days when I can’t do any work because my childcare plans are ruined or something goes wrong with the house etc.

    I really think if you’re working part time and being a mummy part time, it is incredibly difficult as we try to do our best and be are best at both roles. It’s not easy although admittedly some days are better than others!

    So sorry to hear you had an awful day (we all have them don’t we from time to time) but can I just say, I think you are AMAZING.

    You do so much, you have achieved so much and by all accounts, seem like a totally besotted and dedicated mum. Remember to be kind to yourself. Big hugs and well done for keeping going! xxx

  10. Oh that working mum guilt is a s*d isn’t it?… My experience (with just one baby) was such that I decided to write a book about it. The days when everything you touch just dominoes into another toppling jenga tower of jobs to do (not including your paid one!) but you get through it all Renee, you’re just a teensy bit of an inspiration really lovely lady! A slightly insane one maybe, but inspirational all the same 🙂

  11. mummytries says:

    Holy moly full time and on call with twin infants!! I cannot even comprehend that scenario, hats off lovely. You’re right of course. We have to keep going because it’s all we cab do xx

  12. mummytries says:

    Ahhh the elusive balance, i’m sure we’ll find it one day xx

  13. mummytries says:

    Gotta love those rose tinted specs! I already have chunks of time that i’m wondering how I got through that only happened a few months back ago. Wfh is a great solution when the kids are small, and we’re lucky to have the option really. Hope you don’t stay up too late working lovely xx

  14. Laptop on the island surrounded by stuff – that is literally my work from home life too (in fact it’s where I am right now!).
    I think we’ll look back one day and wonder how on earth we did it all – or maybe we’ll stick our rose tinted glasses on and say ‘it wasn’t so bad…’!
    Xx
    #brilliantblogposts

  15. My goodness you are busy!

    That island is tidy compared to my house. We have evenings to do as we please and I no longer have a booby monster so the time pressures have eased somewhat in this house. Getting the balance right isn’t easy though and I’m always changing my hours (my work are very accommodating) to see if I can get better value or at least finish something. x

  16. I have no idea how I managed to return to work full-time & cover on-call when my daughters were just 3 months but somehow I just did. I think I kept my sanity by focusing on what was going on right now and not dwelling on what needed to be done later. Keep going hun it’s all you can do – you’ll look back and be proud of all you’ve managed to achieve someday x

  17. I’ve had a couple of pangs of missing teaching recently, but I honestly don’t think I could manage to juggle that as well as everything else. I’m struggling enough with being a SAHMTAW at the moment! It does sound like you’ve got as supportive a set-up as you could hope for at work, so hopefully things will settle into a more manageable rhythm soon… xxx

  18. I am exhausted just reading this! Oh my goodness, what a day. Does sound like the kind of thing I would do though – always over-optimistic about what I can get done. Can’t believe you gave blood when breast feeding! Doesn’t it make you exhausted? Hope you got to put your feet up at some point x

  19. Sounds exhausting! It’s so hard to get that perfect balance. I keep telling myself it’ll be easier when… but will that when every come?! x

  20. Gosh it sounds like you fit a lot in. I suppose like you say on paper the situation sounds perfect but sometimes the reality means more work and more pressure on some days. #sharewithme

  21. Wow I got tired just reading this!!! I think although you have a great boss with a rather fabulous working arrangement, like you say, there is never a truly perfect situation!!
    Xx

  22. I think you’re amazing! I don’t have work to add into my mix and I am completely failing to keep on top of things at the moment! #thetruthabout

  23. Tim says:

    It’s fantastic that you’ve got such a flexible and accommodating employer. Too often I see working mums who work a 3-4 day week but essentially end up working a full week by working evenings too – not ideal. It makes those of us who do ‘regular’ full-time jobs look like lightweights by comparison!

  24. There can’t be many men who juggle like this! It can be very full on at times so I’m impressed you’re managing to keep your head above water : ) Not only that but writing books too! x

  25. You became my BFF after posting the picture of your messy kitchen. (Mine looks like that and I’m home full-time!)

    You are an amazing woman from the sound of this post.\

    #thetruthabout

  26. wow, you made me tired just reading this! Sounds like things are quite busy at the moment. I hope it all settles down for you soon. Xx

  27. I feel tired just reading this! I am still on mat leave and dreading what I am going to do once it’s time to start working again. I find being a full time mum and blogging takes up all the time I have at the moment! haha! Well done you for coping, you are amazing!

  28. Mel says:

    Oh dear, I can feel your pain, my lovely. It is tough trying to do it all, isn’t it? You want to bring up well-rounded children, make sure they are happy and respectful. You also want to cook nutritious meals, send the kids to school with clean clothes on, have a house that doesn’t look like a bomb site 24/7, have quality-time with the family, have a career, etc. Just writing it all down is giving me a headache!

    On the one hand, I am looking forward to going back to work in June, but on the other hand, I hate rushing and getting snappy with the little ones, but when exhaustion takes over, it is so tough being a calm, pleasant, patient parent.

  29. I think we can all feel your pain after that horrendous day! Sometimes when you hVe a bad start, you feel like it all goes wrong from there on. Hopefully it won’t be like that next time. All that rushing around and stressing definitely wouldn’t have helped when giving blood either. Love the acronym title – rolls off the tongue really well that does!

  30. It sounds really tough. It’s weird, I remember squeezing in stuff like giving blood, and it sounds weird in retrospect, but there’s something in the desperate bloody minded desire for there to be *enough time* that we can fit all these extra things in.
    I also remember that time thing, where in my mind I would remember things as being so quickly over, underestimate time things will take, firstly because in days pre-children, they would have been quicker, but also that desperation to *have time,* that it would all work out in the end…

  31. Louise says:

    Oh my goodness that sounds absolutely manic. Hope your working in the office days are not normally that stressful – sounds like a lot of things to be juggling in one day and well done for managing it all! x

  32. My wife suffers the same with working mummy guilt so you’re not alone. She has to work full time and it’s she always feels terrible that she can’t be there for the little one as much as she wants.

    So I remind her about the quality time we have because we make time for it.

    Thanks for sharing, your day sounds similar to ours but you have three so that’s a much bigger challenge, well done for keeping your head on.

    An understanding boss and team make all the difference so it’s nice to hear you have that.

  33. mummytries says:

    You’re so lovely, not feeling very superwomany but thank you hon! And you’re spot on, with this many hats balls are way too easily dropped!! Hope part time life is treating you well xxx

  34. mummytries says:

    You are too kind lovely! Defo don’t feel like superwoman right now, but I’ll take the compliment xx

  35. mummytries says:

    I’ve said many times that part timers overall are probably more conscientious than their full time counter parts…when they aren’t giving blood and catching up with friends 😉

  36. mummytries says:

    I’m very lucky, and it’s a great job 🙂

  37. mummytries says:

    Thanks so much lovely. There is certainly a lot of ‘sucking it up’ getting done this end at the mo. Hopefully it won’t be forever though xx

  38. mummytries says:

    The sanity strategy, absolutely love that Sam! And yes writing, cooking and the odd workout are what’s keeping me sane xx

  39. mummytries says:

    Thanks Maddy, it certainly is chaotic!!

  40. I have no idea how you fit in any writing at all – sounds exhausting! well done for staying on top of it all! I do think it’s hard to juggle all the different roles – I travel once or twice a month for work and I’m tired (and shouty) by the time I get out of the door in the morning let alone by the time I get back! You’re doing fab! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx

  41. Sam says:

    God that sounds so manic!! And now I appreciate your comment on my Melfie post about 6.20 being a lie in! I honestly count my blessings – my children can be hard work and my job is not setting anyone’s world on fire (although it might be keeping someone’s world from fire damage and yes that is a metaphor!!). But you really do have your hands full and to find the time to regularly blog too – that’s amazing – although I know exactly why – that’s part of the sanity strategy – the bit that’s just for you and thank heavens for that!! Thanks for linking up with me again on #thetruthabout hon xx

  42. No situation is ever perfect is it and one thing I’ve learned in life is that there are always compromises to be made. We just have to work out which one’s we’re willing to make. And guilt comes with the territory doesn’t it. You do your best, all anyone can do. And from where I’m standing (or sitting right now) I think you do a fab job x

  43. How lucky you are to have an understanding boss and a flexible work schedule. It still is tiring, but wonderful to know that you have that support… Happy writing!

  44. Stephanie says:

    I’m exhausted just reading that – sounds like you have an awesome boss and I bet you achieve more than you think – I think lots of part- time workers do! #thetruthabout

  45. You are a superwoman. And this post proves it… I struggle myself and I’ve only got one kid and a self-employed husband! So for you to manage working part time, write and be a mummy to three… Hats off lady. Ps. I get WMG everyday! x

  46. Oh lovely, sounds like a whirlwind. The problem with squeezing in so many roles is days just like this, when one or a couple of things go wrong and our precariously balanced life can topple down.

    You sound a bit like superwoman lovely. I feel a bit guilty about never giving blood. I’m terrible with needles but I don’t want that to be an excuse! xx

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