I love this guest post from Maxabella. You often read tips on how to manage working outside of the home and family, but not often do you see what this actually looks like in reality. Maxabella has kindly shared what her typical week looks like – thank you for letting us take a peek!
I became a working mother seven years ago this January.
I’ve been thinking a lot (a lot) lately about how the puzzle of working and mumming joins together for me and my family. It’s daunting the amount of strategical planning that goes on in the life of a family that has two parents who work long hours outside the home. I work four days a week in a city Marketing job and my husbie is tolling five days in Banking. We both love what we do, but it’s more than that. These days we need both incomes to pay the mortgage and keep the family in the manner to which we’ve (probably foolishly) become accustomed.
Logistically, it takes a huge amount of planning and a large support network to make it through each week. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of establishing that support network. Ours is both paid – our nanny, daycare, After School care; and unpaid – my husband’s parents (although we do pay them a reasonable token) and our friends and neighbours.
It’s complicated. I’m going to talk you through a ‘school week in the life’ of my children because it’s rare for mums to discuss the nitty-gritty of our schedules and I think it does help to see what others are up to.
I have three children – two are in school and my third is at daycare / preschool Mondays and Tuesdays (when she does Playball as part of her day), home with me on Wednesdays, and with her Nonna and Nonno (Italian grandparents) on Thursdays and Fridays. My schoolchildren go to our neighbour’s house before school on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and I take them in – along with my neighbour’s two – on Wednesdays and Fridays (when I work from home). They go to After-School Care on Mondays (when my boy does Tae Kwon Do straight after school until 4pm)and Tuesdays (when my girl does Jazz ballet straight after school until 4pm) before being collected by our Nanny at 4.30pm. I pick them up on Wednesdays when I also take home our neighbour’s children who I care for until 4.30pm plus my girl’s classmate – I drop both of them to gymnastics at 4pm and the classmate’s mum brings them home at 5pm. On Thursdays and Fridays Nonno picks them both up straight from school and takes them back to his house where we meet up for dinner on Thursday and on Friday we collect them earlier.
Every single one of the people that care for my children are reliable and wonderful. Without them, the stress would be too much. We had a patch earlier in the year when we were trialling a new nanny and it just wasn’t working out. It was so stressful and agonising to not know that my family had reliable care. It made me treasure this help – and all the help we receive – more than ever.
You have to ask for that help, by the way. The symbiotic relationship we have with our neighbours is two years strong and came about after I started a conversation with a then barely-known family with, ‘What do you think about sharing the load? How could we make it work?’ Any unpaid arrangement needs to be satisfactory for both parties for it to work without adding strain to an already hectic week.
When my children go to playdates at their friends places in school holidays, I make sure I offer my services as a night babysitter to the family. When they arrive for the playdate, they arrive with morning tea and lunch for the whole family and a little bottle of something for the parents after a long day.
And, amidst all this, the realisation very early on that I was going to need to say ‘no thanks’ a lot if I was ever going to make it all work. No thanks, we can’t come to your BBQ this weekend. No thanks, I don’t think I’ll join the soccer team. No thanks, we can’t make the camping trip this year. No thanks. Because when you have the number of people we do caring for your children during the week, it stands to reason that they are not seeing as much of you as they would probably like. So weekends, and indeed most weeknights, are cleared with a strong ‘no thanks’ to make way for us just being together without a single schedule to have to worry about.
Are you Working and Mumming and if so, how do you manage it?