The poo, the spew, the meeting at two: Let's hear it for the Working Mums
Updated: Oct 5, 2021
A few months ago, my wife was away for work for a couple of days so naturally one of my kids started projectile barfing with gastro.
Thankfully it was the older one, Ivy, who I could plonk in front of the TV with a bucket and blanky, leaving me to complete a full day of working from home, replete with intermittent hair-holding, Hydralyte-dispensing, back-stroking, and vomit-mopping.
At 4pm, I strapped her into the car to collect the baby from daycare, packing some towels and a spew-bowl, just in case.
Soon into the trip she announced, "I'm going to spew!". And spew she did. Heaps. As we pulled up at a set of lights, I grabbed the bowl from her so I could ditch the contents out my window before said bowl overfloweth.
Just then, my phone started ringing. It was my boss, the CEO, calling. On my personal phone. Which means he really needed to talk to me.
As I shoved the bowl back at Ivy yelling "Here babe, quick!", I picked up the phone chirpily and lied right through my teeth "Yes, now's a good time". Fuck my life.
I recently read Michelle Obabma's wonderful book, Becoming. She recounted the story of interviewing for an important Executive position when she was a new Mother and taking her baby along to the interview because her family came first, and she refused to hide her kids or her Motherhood.
Of course, she was an accomplished lawyer going for a high-powered job, so she had the wind behind her, so to speak. Plenty of women would miss out on a job - or lose one - for being so unprofessional as to allow her family responsibilities to encroach on work time. But I loved the way she spoke about not hiding her kids from work and never apologising for them.
Annabel Crabb's The Wife Drought talked about society's expectations of us to "Mother like we don't have jobs, and work like we don't have kids". I really, REALLY want to shirk that bullshit, but old habits die hard.
Last week Alex was away again, this time leaving me with the little one, 14-month-old Luca, who has zero interest in TV (not even Bluey can get her to sit the fuck still). She promptly developed an ear infection, conjunctivitis, and a hardcore case of molar eruption. And I had an important management team meeting with about 35 other people on Zoom.
That day, instead of her usual hours' long morning nap, she had a microsleep, waking eight minutes before meeting o'clock and sticking to me like whinging white on rice throughout the entire agenda.
I made it work but found myself apologising again and feeling like I wasn't giving enough to either of my roles. Fucking patriarchy and decades of social conditioning.
On the upside, this delicate Working Mum dance is far from over, so I guess I still have plenty of time to practice.
Sharing these stories is all about solidarity for me - reminding myself again and again that I'm not the only one who feels this way - so I'd love to hear your most full-on working Mum moments in the comments x