(First published on The Contented Calf Website on Wednesday 20th February 2013.)
It’s lunch-time on Wednesday afternoon and I’m frantically typing away as 3YO lies upstairs (sleeping?) in bed due to an enforced post-lunch nap. She’s off nursery. Again.
On Monday she projectile vommitted, then was absolutely fine. However, nursery policy and common sense that she could still be contagious with whatever bug caused it, meant that Tuesday was a no-go as far as nursery was concerned. (At least 10MO was well enough for Contented Hubby to take – and collect, thank-you!! – her to nursery for the day, spending much of it blowing raspberries apparently!)
As 3YO spent most of last night coughing though, she didn’t get much sleep at all. (Neither did we.) So I made the decision that she definitely would not be going in this morning.
The next hour will decide whether she goes in this afternoon or not, depending on whether she’s managed to sleep and how the cough is. She’s desperate to go in as one of her friends is having a party at the nursery and she’ll get to dress up as a princess. AND there’ll be party bags!! What more could a three year old want?
If she does go in, then I’ll get about 1.5-2 hours where I can sit in a cafe somewhere and literally dip my little toe into the world of work. If not, then the next 30 minutes is my lot for the week.
And the question I’m left asking myself is: will work just have to wait? Not only this week. But in general. Do I have to change my mindset?
It’s strange. It’s not as though pre-children my career was anything out of the ordinary. But I enjoyed my job and people thought I did a good job. I liked that. I loved using my brain. I loved being challenged. I loved the hard work ethos of the company I worked for. And I definitely enjoyed earning money.
And I miss that. I miss it all a lot. I also miss the office and my work friends and colleagues.
However, before the birth of 10MO, I was back up to working three days a week. Yes it was on my own most of the time. But I was using my brain and I was being challenged. It was certainly a challenge preparing for and exhibiting at The Baby Show at London Excel almost 8 months pregnant!! But fun.
Of course, once 10MO was born, everything pretty much ground to a halt. I kept Contented Calf ticking over, but wasn’t able to ‘drive it forward’. Turns out having a toddler AND a baby doesn’t leave you with much time for anything, business included!
Come November last year though, I was chomping at the bit to do some work again. 10MO started nursery two days a week so that I could start to take a firmer hold of the Contented Calf reins. Cue the obligatory ‘starting nursery run of illnesses’ for 10MO. Then pass them round the family, so that either one of the girls was off nursery, or I was ill and not able to work. And then add in Christmas and all the extra (present buying) admin that that entails. Result was not much work was done in the run up to the end of 2012.
2013 started well. For the first two weeks of January, both girls went to nursery all their allocated days. Then a horrible virus struck. 3YO was either off nursery totally or doing half/short days for the second half of the month. Plus hubby was away with work for pretty much the whole of January. I was so exhausted by the whole thing that by the time they were both well and back at nursery, I found it almost impossible to motivate myself to work. So those two days were more home admin days. Last week was better. But with only two days a week in which to fit all your work, things don’t move fast. And now this week: my only two work days, almost totally wiped out.
I have to admit that when 3YO started vomitting on Monday, after my first thought of “oh my poor poor little girl” and just wanting to make it all instantly better, my second that was “well, that’s any work this week out of the window!” (As per previous posts, as I currently bring in pennies to Contented Hubby’s pounds, it doesn’t make (financial) sense for him to take the day off if one of the girls is ill.) After a few moments of self-pity and frustration, I decided that I should think positively and see it as an enforced ‘half-term holiday’. (It’s what I’ll have to do every six weeks come September, once 3YO becomes 4YO.)
With that being my frame of mind, yesterday was good. 3YO watched a bit of CBeebies on and off, we vacuum packed away some old baby clothes (LOTS of fun!) and we moved her room around a little (plus a quick trip to the doctors). It was fine. It was good. Today has been OK too. With any notion of working to grow the business out of the window (and only having one to look after), I’ve enjoyed mummying. I feel calmer and (slightly) more on top of things.
It’s come at a price though. Contented Calf, and my desire to work, has had to come very much second. Perhaps that’s how it has to be? Perhaps that’s how it should be? (Especially during these winter months that bring so so many horrid bugs.) It’s certainly meant that the past couple of days has been a lot nicer.
Long-term though, what would it mean to sacrifice my career? How would I feel about that? Would it make me a better or worse mummy? I just don’t know. If I think about not working at all, it does make me feel a bit sad. So maybe it’s not the right answer? All I do know is that this morning I woke up asking myself: will work just have to wait?
What have other parents done?
What are your stories?
Any hints & tips?
With love from our family to yours,
ps – 3YO just watching one CBeebies programme while I finish this. She woke up feeling much better. So we will be going to the party after all!