The Office by Jo

[advert:mpu]“Pardon” – He gets confused but excited. Thought one – she’s got a job but has managed not to tell me about it. Thought two – okay that’s rude, but maybe she’s getting paid lots of money – pressure off. Thought three – hang on, what is going on? There is no way she could be going back to work so abruptly and who’s looking after the children?

I respond. “I’ve decided to take my career more seriously.” Quiet ensues.

I’ve renamed the playground, the "office". I go there everyday, I know everybody and if I don’t, I make an effort to find out who they are and make them feel comfortable. I stop for coffee breaks and ensure I have regular appraisals with my 1½ year old on my level of competence.

I continue…"at the moment we are having some HR issues, and are considering what action to take. Two of my colleagues are continually late and their excuses poor. Another of my colleagues thinks that the benefits package is lacking, and is considering moving to a new location. I’m not sure how these problems are going to be resolved but I have been assured that the correct grievance procedure will be followed."

Husband looks on fairly bemused. I start getting on to quite a roll.

“Yesterday there was quite a ‘to-do’ at the office. There was a problem with one of the central pieces of infrastructure. Health and Safety were called, and the said equipment closed off. It made us realise just how dependent we are on modern technology and how lost we are when it goes down. The technicians mumbled something about the network, but it went straight over my head. They’ve assured us that they should get it back up and running tomorrow. I hope so…my clients are very discerning and simply won’t put up with a substandard level of service!!!"

Husband replies “Do you think it might be time to return to real work?” !!

And that’s the point. It is real work. Looking after the children full-time is not something I just fell into (well not quite). It is relatively thought out and something that I take seriously.

When things are going badly and everything feels that it’s falling apart, it is depressing. You don’t have the choice of shutting the door behind you in the morning or  feeling relieved as you sit on the tube reading the newspaper by yourself. There is nowhere to hide, no break, no manager to bolster your confidence, and no deadline when you know the pressure will be off and the project completed.

I’ve always been conscientious and work hard at the project at hand, and I apply that to looking after the kids full-time. It doesn‘t make me into an Alpha mum, quite the opposite. I just want the hard work I put in to be reflected in the end product. And when the children all have melt-down at the same moment, no-one has eaten the food that I’ve made and the only topic of conversation they’ve had all day is poo, I just feel that I failed.

It’s difficult at these time to get a sense of perspective. But when I do get a grip I am reminded why I want to be where I am as a full-time mum.

It is a positive choice. I was aware whilst I was growing up that I did not have the same maternal input that many of my friends had (my mum was ill for most of my childhood and died when I was 18) . I wanted to give my children what I didn’t have. So I’ve put one part of life on hold and decided not to work until all the kids are in school. Whilst I know this is a privileged position to be in, it is hard but (at times) rewarding work.

To me it’s just a matter of finding reward in whatever job you are doing. It doesn’t have to be fiscal or impress my peers as long as I’m feeling satisfied. I know I cannot get this time back with my children so I just want to grab the moments whilst I can.

So what’s on for tomorrow? A couple of hours hard work in the office, a long spate of contract negotiation and a big fat kiss from three most trusted clients.
What do you think? Can it be hard staying at home with the children or is it all worthwhile? Do you feel that having a job saves your sanity or that it takes away time from your kids? Discuss all this with other parents in our new posting on our Forum.

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