travel with me from SAHM to working mum….
The thing about juggling a family with any sort of work or course, where there is a rigid timetable, is the unexpected nature of family life. Things just keep popping up.
Take Thursday. I’d planned the schedule for writing the mandatory three articles for my tutor a couple of weeks ago. I’d visited an attraction, interviewed someone in the public eye; I knew I’d be busy at the beginning of the week so I set aside Thursday to visit the Law Court – Friday would be for writing up and completing my radio assignment. I might even get to the gym. Perfect.
Until my daughter came to me at breakfast with a broken brace. I groaned. I may have made my irritation a little too obvious as she was saying sorry over and over again (but then she is an over-dramatic teenager).
The thing with this brace is that it’s removable so is liable to break easily. Also, its job is to move the teeth, so if it’s broken that means the teeth are either not moving, or some are moving, some aren’t, resulting in a wonky set of gnashers.
In addition, the orthodontist does not work on Friday, plus he’s usually booked solid. This was a nightmare. My carefully planned week, with court visit, writing time, deadline bashing Friday – all completely screwed up. I summoned up enough good grace to let out a resigned sigh. Of course I would ring the orthodontist.
No matter how well you plan your days, with a family your time is not your own. It’s even worse, if they’ve been used to you dropping everything to attend to their needs. And you’re used to dropping everything too. You’re tied between selfishly ploughing on with your timetable and foregoing your commitments to attend to their needs. If you’re a single parent or in a partnership where the division of labour has been split down traditional gender lines, unless you have family support, or have bought in help the buck stops with you.
Compromise. A great word. You hope against hope that the orthodontist will be working this Friday of all Fridays, or he’ll have a free appointment on Thursday afternoon which fits in with school pickups, and you cross your fingers that there’ll be an interesting case at 10 o’clock so you can be home for 1pm.
It reminds me why I’ve been a stay-at-home-mum for so long.