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I do it because I want to

October 29, 2011

Before I even start this post can I just say that these opinions are mine. I don’t care if you are a SAHM, WAHM or any other incarnation of mum. I’m not judging anyone or being negative about people who have chosen a different path to me so please don’t moan. This is how I feel and how/why I do what I do.  

Recently quite a lot of people have been asking me, as a working mum why I do everything I do, how I manage to fit it all in a day and why aren’t I curled up crying in a corner at the size of my To Do List.

Just to recap: I currently work full time, am married, have a 3 year old, blog as frequently as I can (in other words barely for the last fortnight), I’m in the processing of opening an online shop selling handmade knitted goods with my mum & Grandma (hence lack of posting as I work to stock it and fulfill orders that have come through word of mouth already!!), cook fresh meals from scratch at least 5 days a week, spend one night a week at my parents, every Saturday with my mum & grandma and right now I’m making jams & chutneys most weekends for Christmas presents. 

I am busy, I can’t deny it but I do these things because I want to….

Admittedly I would like to work part time. I took the other week off work whilst my in laws were away so I could look after Sam. I loved taking him and picking him up from playgroup, getting the ironing done and a lasagne made early. It was great! However, mentally I wasn’t particularly challenged. Which is why I work. I love the career I’ve chosen and the people I work with. I have fun, learn things and am more challenged there. Being a full time stay at home mum just isn’t for me.

I’m lucky in that I have a good support system. My husband and in laws look after Sam for me during the day. They are bloody fantastic and without them I wouldn’t be able to work. If I have an early meeting in another part of the country my in laws get up extra early so I can drop Sam of with them earlier than normal. My parents look after Sam overnight when they can which gives us time together and also time for me to go away with work (which I have to do on average once a month). Sam is not a clingy child and is quite happy to spend time with all his grandparents which makes life easier!

What about on a day to day basis then? Well, my alarm goes off at 5.30am and on a good day I’m out of bed by 5.45am which gives me time to get ready, put some washing in and maybe tidy up (I just know Craig is laughing reading this – I said on a GOOD day!!). On a bad day (which is most of the time admittedly) I fall out of bed at 6.15-6.30 and barely have time to throw a bit of make up on (doing the rest at work) chuck a vaguely dressed Sam in his car seat and rush off without brushing my hair. I leave the house between 7 & 7.15am and after dropping Sam off at his Nana & Grandad’s, I’m at work by 7.40am. This then gives me 10-15 minutes to update facebook, have a quick tweet and possible outline the start of a blog post before properly starting work. I check my emails & facebook when I go for a wee (what? It’s a long corridor to the toilets in my office! Like you’ve never took your smart phone to the loo…) and try to finish any blog post I’ve started at lunchtime. Unless I’m knitting, like recently.

I finish work around 4-4.30pm and I’m usually home by 5-5.30pm unless I have to do Asda on my way home. I crash on the sofa, check emails, have a cuddle with Sam, play on the iPad with him for an hour then Craig bathes him whilst I cook tea. Sometimes I’ll have remembered to throw something in the slow cooker before work in which case I’ll knit.

After the bedtime routine we eat tea, watch Masterchef Australia then Craig has a nap before work & I will go online, knit, wash up, shower, chat with my mum etc before falling into bed with my Slimpod at around 11.30pm.

So there you go. A very detailed account of a typical day. Like I’ve said, all day Saturday is spent with my mum & Grandma, Saturday nights are with Craig. Sunday tends to be a family day, either out of pottering around at home making jams. I also try to fit in something with my lovely friends and their families every couple of months too.

I don’t have a perfect life and I don’t do things perfectly. I’m have an almost pathological phobia of cleaning and tidying (thank god Craig is good at it). Sometimes I won’t blog for a couple of weeks. Sometimes I ignore everything, switch the TV off, grab some chocolate and read Grazia for a couple of hours. I enjoy being busy. I enjoy doing all these different things. I have a very short attention span and multi tasking helps me keep sane. I have been known to simultaneously edit photos on the laptop, read blogs on the iPad, knit and keep an eye on whatever drivel is on TV at the time (is anyone else loving Ringer or The Secret Circle right now? Sky Living are on fire with their schedule!)

So when I’m asked how working mums do it all, the answer is – most of us want to, some of us just have to. Being time smart & forward planning is the key. A couple of tips I’ve picked up along the way:

–          I meal plan most weeks (which I always forget to blog – that would be 2 tasks in 1 done!) which saves time going through the cupboards each night and saves money. I spent ages & ages finding a great website for printing the perfect meal planning template. Waste of time. I use a notebook. Who care what it looks like really?!

–          I manage expectations. When I first started getting PR requests I used to say I’d do them asap then beat myself up if I wasn’t getting the chance. Now I tell them I can do it next week. If it’s earlier – they’re impressed & I feel virtuous!

–          This website is my bible. I use it almost daily for recipes (handily split into different sections like Budget, Slow Cooker).  It’s easy to navigate & they have good competitions too!

–           Accept that sometimes one or two of your balls will drop and sometimes you have to throw those balls  away to keep yourself sane. Last weekend I very selfishly asked my parents to have Sam from Sunday lunchtime to Monday afternoon, ignored the mounting ironing, hid the washing & knitting  left  the iPad at home & buggered off to the pub for the day with Craig to watch football. We got mindlessly drunk, ate burgers & fajitas at TGI Fridays, drank some more and had a right old laugh. I’ve spent the last few days running around doing all the Sunday tasks mid week but it was totally worth it.

–          You don’t have to be perfect at everything. I’ve not blogged properly for days. That’s ok. I’ve accepted this is never going to be a ‘top blog’ and I’m fine with that. I don’t have the time or inclination to tweet, facebook, Google+, tumblr, flickr, Instagram and generally pimp my blog 15 times a day. I have a life thanks very much. I’ll cope with my lovely readers in my own lovely little part of the t’interweb and if I don’t get 3000 PR requests a day because of it then that’s ok too. 

I take pride in having a career and being a mum. I take pride in setting up my own business on the side. I take pride in feeding my husband healthy meals (Sam’s a nightmare so I just take pride in that he eats something!) and I take pride in my blog. I sacrifice things so I have time to fit in everything I want. Nothing is done quite perfectly yet but it’s betting better and I’m getting better at juggling it all. I enjoy my life. If I didn’t something would have to go, but I’m not there yet & I don’t see myself being there anytime soon. If anything I want to do more! Having another baby and buying a sewing machine so I can make clothes is all on the list for next year. Wish me luck!

(By the way I was sent Nadine Hill’s book to review a few months ago – which I did & that was that but I really enjoyed it and still dip into it for tips so I thought I’d mention it again (no payment or requests involved). It is focused around finding time to write but I found it really useful for general time management tips).


8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2011 9:11 am

    Good for you! Its hard to find the right balance for anyone. I work part-time from home and like you couldn’t do that without my in-laws who have BG for two days (and nights) so I can work and me and OH can have some time together. Its all about what’s right for you and your family and if it works then there is nothing to worry about.

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      November 1, 2011 9:26 am

      That’s what I think Carol. We have to muddle through to find a workable solution & I think we’re there. Saying that it has taken me 3 days to reply to any comments & I still haven’t registered Sam for school yet!

  2. October 29, 2011 9:24 am

    Whoosh, that was a gallop through your life! Good luck with your new venture, how exciting. Cx

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      November 1, 2011 9:25 am

      Thanks Cara!

  3. October 31, 2011 5:45 pm

    Good luck with the new site – very exciting!

    You know what they say, if you want something doing, give it to a busy person!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      November 1, 2011 9:24 am

      You know I’ve never heard that! But I am so going to use it all the time now! 🙂

  4. November 2, 2011 9:37 am

    Eek, reading these comments has just reminded me that I need to get on with school registration! Very interesting as I currently work part time from home while looking after the kids full time, but I’m looking to return to work. I think the key is finding what works for YOUR family and what YOU are happy with – it isn’t anyone’s place to judge.

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      November 2, 2011 1:57 pm

      You’re so right. It’s a juggling act there’s no doubt about it but if you want it, you have to do it! You’re brave working from home. I have a terrible atttention span, i’d be off cooking & cleaning all the time!

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