I am a working mother of three. Please don’t judge me. Don’t look down your nose at me when I wear exhaustion like a cloak, when my children are asleep on the floor of my office, when I didn’t manage to complete all their homework on time.
There is a reason the Hindu goddess Durga is always shown as having multiple arms. It is because she was a working mother too. It also why she had such a short temper.
Despite what you think, I don’t work because I am selfish (or as my 6 year old says “Shellfish”). I work because like most mothers I have to. Of course I’d like to stay home, watch every cricket match (okay maybe not the cricket, but soccer for sure), go to karate and spend 2 hours every day revising homework. I’d love to go to the gym, meet some friends for lunch and maybe do some filing. But, in case you hadn’t noticed we are in a recession.
If I could, I would help in the tuckshop, cover books in the library and chaperone the school disco. The truth is I don’t put my career in front of my family. If I did, I’d still be working in South Africa’s top ad agency, coming home after 12 and have a string of awards to my name. I work because I put them first. Because without it, they couldn’t go to your school.
My school, back in the day, had an hour of supervised prep every day, so that our parents could get on with parenting.
My experience so far has been that teachers expect me to get home at 6pm, feed them, bath them, read to them, do an hour of homework and have tem in bed at 7:30.
I am not Hermione Granger and I don’t have a fancy little eggtimer.
That was how my Friday started, with me apologizing that I hadn’t managed to do all my seven year old’s spelling and promising we’d do it over the weekend. Coming on the heels of a work week from hell, it pushed me over the edge of the abyss. I went to work almost in tears. And then I bought a Lotto ticket.
I was weighed down by all the things I couldn’t do, like a visit a friend who really needed me by her side, or be the kind of mother teachers used as an example of perfect parenting.
Hah! There is no perfect parent.
We all muddle along the best we can and hope our kids don’t hate us for it later.