Help- I’m drowning in a puddle of work.

Warning: This post contains the odd swear word. Because I’m talking about work.

I’ve recently re-entered the world of work and I’m going to be pretty honest- I’m not doing that great at it.

A while ago I wrote a post about the fact that I had too many choices as a privileged, educated woman living in a OECD country. I had the choice to be a Stay At Home Mum which I’d taken up with gusto for the past seven years. I made that luxurious choice mainly because we were in a financial position to exist comfortably on one income. But as the kids don’t seem to be slowing down on the growing up thing, the nappy change rate has dwindled to (almost) zero and financially I’ve started to resent having to justify hide my coffee intake since I’m not up throughout the night anymore, the idea of paid work has started to look appealing again.

The-Mother-Ecard-Meme
Or trying to catch up on some work. Or just typing. Photo courtesy: someecards

This blog, whilst almost as hard to justify as those coffees in the financial stakes (since it’s costing, not making, any kind of money) has been instrumental in giving me the confidence to put myself in a space which doesn’t involve a potty or a high chair. The internet is a bloody big place and the very fact that I can post a rant or anecdote of day to day life and have a couple of friends and the odd stranger laugh or say “Me too!!” or “I do xyz,”… well that’s been a very gentle easing into the thigh high mud of writing professionally.

So what am I doing? I’ve got a job writing regularly for a small educational publication and I’ve manage to sell a few articles to websites and an actual print magazine. It’s been outrageously daunting and wonderfully liberating all at the same time. Like standing on the edge of a cliff you’ve just climbed up, looking down and thinking “Shit! That’s actually quite high.”

working mothers HEADER

Here’s just a few of the ‘Shit’ moments I’ve had so far in my career as a SAHM who has attempted to enter a new employment field with some small kids running around in the background:

  • I realised (after not getting paid for a month or two) that you actually have to invoice people if you want them to pay you.
  • Children don’t care that you’ve got to finish something on the computer “just quickly” ever. Never ever. Ever.
  • I’ve just received my ABN after going through the application three times, only to delete it at the last step each time because having an ABN is “scary”.
  • I’ve worked out  that a fantastic way to really piss people off who work at a magazine you’d like to contribute to is to send them half a GB of photos to their inbox. And then CC every other staff member and send it to them as well.
  • Vacuuming is only a good substitute for actually cleaning the floor for about a month. Then you should really think about cleaning it. I’m still thinking about cleaning it. (That’s code for I haven’t cleaned it.)
  • You can’t ‘wing it’ for dinner more than three times in a row because scrambled eggs becomes boring really fucking quickly.
  • Trying to write an important email five minutes before leaving the house for school or daycare pick up is only-ever-every-single-time going to end in a second email which begins with “Dear Mrs Important Editor, Please disregard my previous email…”
  • Apparently there’s also someone called ‘My Husband’ who requires acknowledgement of his existence from time to time. :/

Ebook Blog post

I’m new to this whole being professional malarky. I’ve been operating on a pretty fluid time frame for the last few years and suddenly trying to fit in a professional working part to my SAHM status has been pretty bloody shocking for everyone in this family, not just me. The lovely Robyna at Mummy and the Minx always has sensible things to say on this subject and I know plenty of amazing mothers who work FULL TIME (WTF?? HOW???) but I’d like to know how they fit it all in.

How do you  combine work with being a mother,the lover, the cook, the cleaner, the friend, the taxi driver, the tutor…. the list goes on. How do you do it all?

Is your home life being run to military precision with 4-5pm designated as “Fun Child Time” and at 5:05pm “Dinner Preparation” begins?

Have you got a Working Mother life hack? Please? I think I need a couple. Maybe a thousand.

Linking up with  Problogger Challenge Group.  #blogginggroove

22 thoughts on “Help- I’m drowning in a puddle of work.

  1. My wife and I have arranged our schedules so I’ll watch our 2 year old a full day (or two) so she can go work. We are also luck enough to have her mother close. Also, we have had some (but limited) success with “quiet time” where the little one can read books in her room and hopefully fall asleep for a nap.

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  2. No ideas here, sorry! I do try to meal plan, but other than that I’m winging it every single day. I’d like to say I’m super productive on the 2 days per week that the kids are at daycare, but in all honesty, I spend about 3 hours trawling Facebook before I even contemplate any work. Which is why I’m often at my computer at 11pm!! It’s really bloody difficult.

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  3. My working moms hack? I think it really is about letting go. My kids are older than yours I think but still need to be driven everywhere and can still be huge time sinks. My ex is no help at all.. I think that in terms of keeping the house, I try to keep it in perspective. I don’t try to go to all the things my kids are involved in -sports, violin, plays etc. I will go to some, not all…
    I think what saves me is focus. What is most important right now? I focus on just that. That priority changes and I let everything else be second. Sometimes I am most important and that is part of the key to it. I need to be whole so they know what that looks like.

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    1. Very fancy! 😉 Would love to hear how you did it Janet. I’m starting out verrrrrry slowly- we’d be eating a consistent diet of two-minute noodles if my earnings were our only source of income! It’s nice to know people start on this route and succeed- well done to you!

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  4. Thanks for the shout out lovely. You know the biggest thing? Lower your expectations and don’t give away what you are working for. Meaning that if you are working for yourself to spend time with your family, then make sure you allow yourself that. I’m gradually learning this. Very gradually.

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  5. Big hugs and even bigger congratulations on the paid gigs!
    I am with the gorgeous Robs, lower your expectations and if you find yourself stressing about the little things then maybe outsource some things. Remember you are working now so you don’t have to do everything. There is a great line you can have it all but not all at the same time!

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  6. Enjoyed your post! Both of my daughters are in college now, and I’ve worked, not worked and encountered plenty of “uh-oh”s. Totally agree with the “lower expectations” comment, especially as it relates to housework. Routines can be boring, but effective! My favorite cookbook is titled “Desperation Dinners” – great recipes that really work.

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  7. Hey were both in the same boat Melinda. I had 6 years off and was planning on 7 but the perfect job cropped up. It’s a bit of a juggle having the youngest only 3 days at kindy but it’s only for 6 months. The work in my office is piling up too. I often felt so guilty I was a SAHM when all the other Mums went back a year or so later but like you, it’s something we planned for so I really enjoyed that time. Such a shock to the system being back. 4 days would be better, an extra day to catch up would be divine #teamIBOT xx ps. Cheers to being back in the work force love!

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    1. Thanks Jo- shock to the system is an understatement! And I’m only ‘working’ 2 days a week which is nothing compared to what full timers are doing. I’m not sure how you guys do it: RESPECT! I’m certainly enjoying using my brain for something other than the odd nappy calculation or detailed discussions on Planes: Fire and Rescue 😛

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  8. I just went back to working full time last year, after 20 years or SAHM or part-time work. Oh wait, I worked part time and studied full time, so really that was a whole crazy thing while two girls were doing VCE.

    My biggest full-time working mum hack: know that you cannot do it all. Don’t even bother trying and don’t feel guilty.

    1. This year I have found someone to clean my bathrooms and floors once a fortnight.
    2. I have finally given up on the idea that I might cook dinner once a week. I will not. I cannot. I cannot come home at after 6pm and think this is a sensible thing to do. So…the kids are cooking.
    3. I plan meals with their input. I shop. They cook.
    4. Hubby does the laundry.

    About all I do is make mine and my son’s school lunch. We have no tuck shop at school except Friday so we have to take our lunches (I teach where he goes to school – so perfect!).

    And do something that feeds your soul. I read every night before I go to bed because I have to read. Have to. And I have no time and energy at the same time to make quilts (sadness). So books are my lifeblood.

    That’s it. That’s how I do it. I hug my son when I pass him in the playground (you have to take advantage of 16yo boys who don’t care about what the other kids think!!!). I hang out with my girls when I can. Dh and I go out for dinner when the kids are all at Youth Night on Friday’s, or Saturday breakfast sometimes.

    Do what’s important. Don’t feel guilty about the rest. Feed your soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tracy! I’m totally looking forward to the part where the kids can start doing a lot more around the house. They have their jobs now, but I shudder to think what they’d produce if I told them to make dinner- squashed tomatoes and rice crackers 🙂 And yes, the whole ‘just do what you can’ theme has been a very strong one. Good on you with going back to work full time! My confidence has taken a bit of a knock just being out for six years, I think I’d be completely incapacitated by fear if I’d been out for 20- well done !!

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