Have you ever heard those words?
‘Is it a Mummy day?’
And had to answer ‘No’.
We have. Like 65 squillion times.
Obviously the little monkeys can’t usually even speak the first time you sneak off to work, so that helps. But you know they’re thinking it. They know stuff.
On the other hand we didn’t. Know stuff. This whole working mum thing was virgin territory for us at the outset and we got a load of it wrong the first time.
We’re not experts. We are just three normal, average, bogstandard working mums with six kids (and a dog) between us who work in the creative industry. Just three mums muddling through. Trying to ‘juggle’ work days and mummy days – or whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing with the whole perplexing conundrum.
Like most of our friends, we found we desperately needed some help as we emerged from the post-natal haze back into the bright halogen light of the workplace. But where to turn? There were no decent role models for us to follow. Where were the women like us?
Our own mothers didn’t work to the same degree, and the only role models the media choose to show us are a little unrealistic and more than a little unhelpful. There’s the super mum who gets up at 4am to answer emails and fits in press ups under the board room table, or the harassed mum breast feeding while cooking baked beans and crying into her MacBook Air. And don’t even get us started on the Celebrity Working Mum…
If you are the CEO of a global media empire, or aiming to be Prime Minster in the next few years, you could probably read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In for some guidance. But the truth is, as a normal working mum, trying to avoid obvious fish-finger finger-marks on your work trousers, struggling to keep up with the complex costume requirements for assembly – tomorrow, while maintaining a moderately professional demeanour in the office, you’re pretty much on your own.
Or so it feels. But over time we have discovered that there are actually plenty of people out there riding the emotional roller coaster that is being a (working) mother with us. We found each other for a start. And 80% of all mums in the UK are in fact working mums would you know? Lots of other mums sharing the pangs of guilt, fear and jealousy around ‘abandoning’ their kids; as well as the pride, fun and stimulation of being a breadwinner.
We’ve been at this game a few years now and have learnt a few canny tricks along the way. And nicked some from our friends too. Like figuring out how and where to work, how much to work, whether the offer of a cuppa trumps an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ when choosing a nanny. And ‘badge 2’ working mum things like what to do when your childminder calls in sick at 6am. (Ans. (don’t) panic).
We’re not saying that we’ve got it all figured out, but the whole thing is much less stressful than it was in those first few weeks and months. A time when your whole life seems to be teetering on a knife edge with a pretty ugly outcome if you fall either way. Yet when you need to most, you can barely confide in anyone at home or work or at the school gates as you’re so freakin’ busy trying to publicly style it out – while sobbing in the toilets / on the bus / into your latte when no one is looking.
We’ve been there. Once, twice and thrice. And we still have our moments / days / weeks of wondering what it’s all about. So this is simply about sharing our stories, and our friends’ stories, to help people maybe avoid some of our bigger mistakes and also to let people see that they are not the only ones muddling through. Not the only ones hanging out for the next mummy day.
 Source: NCT Study 2014