"According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of working mothers in England has gone up by more than a million in the past two decades, which means there’s a lot of us who grew up without a roadmap for how to do this" says Hadley Freeman, which explains why a business like We Got This (Sometimes!) exists, and why, when women just stop, they wonder is this the "right" way?!
I figured I may as well be honest...I've drafted three or four posts throughout our first school summer holidays ranting, pondering, deliberating about how to manage work and motherhood. It is an 11 week period of abnormal routine, as my daughter started summer super early and doesn't start full time school until the 20th, it has probably been the longest time I've felt not in control of my time. We've been lucky with friends to swap time, which has helped. Each time I stopped myself publishing a post as I don't want to appear ungrateful for anything, but I am right - the system is broken, how can we move it into a space where it works?! Millions of parents accept the juggle of working and school holidays, a friend takes two weeks off, her husband takes two weeks off, her own mum takes two weeks off to create an affordable summer. That's not do-able for everyone.
I've gone from thoughts of retraining as a teacher to be able to have stressless summer holidays, panicking about how to freelance with no after school care and trying to reassure myself that I could fit it into three days in school hours (I wouldn't be able to), to giving up work (we couldn't afford that), to economising, to appreciating the little guys much more than ever, to actually working for a corporate team from home for a ten day project (that's a whole other post) to decluttering wardrobes and my office to feel 'ready for a new term'. We had a week where our youngest was poorly, so that week we were still paying for nursery which we couldn't use, and I couldn't work to pay for it as I was looking after him. I understand the commercials for nursery but it doesn't feel fair. In the end, surrendered, gave in, and worked minimally for a few weeks. Which was the right decision but feeling very behind. I've also realised it wasn't just having two children that made me pursue a different road, school life is as big a puzzle to juggle.
My daughter has left pre-school and just started primary school which threw up so many emotions and thoughts - she was fine, her school is great and her teacher is lovely. There is a sketch I saw recently which exactly illustrates what happened in my head with this: