According to our itinerary, if it's Wednesday it must be Sea World. There is a show here where a famous killer whale jumps into the air and splashes down in front of the visitors, soaking the first two rows. As I see it we have two options. #1 - sit at the back of the show and watch everyone else getting soaked. #2 - sit in the first two rows, put our video camera in a plastic bag and point it at DD. While I mull over which one we'll go for I'll let the fabulous author of today's guest post introduce herself - Sarah aka @apartyofseven.
You can find Sarah on Twitter @apartyofseven. And please do check out her blog at www.familyjamesfive.typepad.com
"You will call me if he needs me though?" - a working mums perspective.
I’ve been thinking a lot about work recently. I work in the NHS and you would have to live under a stone if you hadn’t heard about all the changes in the NHS recently. So things have changed for me professionally quite a bit and it got me thinking about the crazy juggling act we do as a family to allow me to get to work and actually why we do it.
I have 5 children and have had maternity leave and returned to work after all of them. It wasn’t always an easy decision to return to work but for me, in the most part, I needed to financially. I work shifts and so juggling conventional childcare has always been a struggle. There are not many childminders or nurseries that will take your child from 7am -7pm and lets face it would you want them to? My husband and I don’t have family living near by and so that never was an option either.
I think when I was pregnant with my first child I made one of those wonderfully niave statements that people without children make: ’Yes I will be returning to work and the baby will go to childcare and everyone will be happy’ Then of course I spent 16 blissful weeks with my son, getting to know him and being an indulgent full time mama to him. Suddenly the idea of sending him to childcare so that someone else could look after him sort of freaked me out a bit. How would someone else know what he liked? What made
him smile? What foods he liked? All those little things that I had spent hours getting to know. Would he be okay if he got upset, would they know what to do? It went on and on.
My first couple of weeks back to work were a bit fraught. Not just because I returned to work in an fast moving highly pressurised intensive care unit having a newly acquired mummy brain but also because I had to learn a vital lesson. The lesson that someone else looking after my child wasn’t going to turn him into a child I didn’t know, which I actually think was something I was frightened of.
There is a bit of a hippy ish saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and in these days of family being far-flung and widespread it is harder to achieve the sort of community that, that statement talks about. Years ago the complete extended family would be part of the raising of all the children in a family, these days they are lucky if they get a weekend with their extended families. But it is possible to find that community and have
pseudo ‘members’ of our extended family and for us the childminder we used until my son went to school was part of our family and a lovely influence on my children’s lives!
We are a generation of women raised to believe we can have it all and actually in reality that isn’t possible (shhh..dont tell). Yes you can try to have it all but the fact is you are probably going to die trying and a ‘stressed out of her tiny mind’ mama is going to be no fun for the kids right? Those working mothers amongst us have all had those sort of days when the pressure of trying to do EVERYTHING just about drills us neatly into the floor.
Its those times that we can reach out to others without feeling like we are failures for doing so, whether they are just friends or paid individuals and achieve some much needed support. Your kids will learn about community, get excited about seeing other people in their wider influence and learn about and be part of the world around them.