There’s nothing harder than leaving your heart in the arms of a childcare staff member and heading back to work for the first time. In fact, there are lots of things that are really hard about being a working mum – the juggle for one (oh, the juggle!), but as hard and tricky as it is, we never really talk about the little perks that come with being in the workplace.
So, for all of us who are wiping away tears as we drive away from the daycare drop off, or are dabbing on makeup in the office bathrooms (because there simply wasn’t time for that this morning), here are nine small things that are awesome about being a working mum.
1. Buying yourself lunch
I know there are plenty of working mums who, along with packing nutritious kindy lunches, manage to make themselves a salad as well, but I’m not one of them. Daycare mornings are chaos for me and I rarely get around to making a sandwich for moi. But by being less organised than I should be, I get to treat myself to a bought lunch – and it doesn’t take much to convince myself that I really do deserve a side of fries today.
2. Wearing earrings
I don’t wear earrings around my kids. Although they are not little grabby babies anymore, I still live in fear of one of them tugging at them during a cuddle and splitting my lobe in two. When I head into the big exciting city for work though, I indulge by wearing a pair of my most dangly ‘dangerous-if-pulled’ earrings. Because I can.
3. Finishing something – anything
Okay, it might not sound exciting but how nice is it to be able to start a project, develop it and then finish it? All without a little someone distracting your thought process along the way, interrupting you, or demanding you build a train track right when you’re totally in the zone and almost, almost have it done.
4. Driving to work in peace
The drive to work is when I get most of my thinking done – actually pretty much all of my good ideas pop up during my commute (‘Why yes, we should take a holiday in March’). I think it’s because the drive is actually my mum downtime. It’s a relaxing time away from the noise of my loves as I’m cocooned in complete silence and free to think – THINK! Ordinarily when I’m driving, my two little backseat passengers are squabbling or yelling out “truck, bus, bendy bus, CONCRETE TRUCK!!” every few minutes. It’s very distracting.
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5. Doing errands in your lunch break
Whether it be making that phone call that you just haven’t had five minutes to make, dashing to the shops to pick up a present for your child’s friend’s birthday, or texting a friend back that you’ve been meaning to, lunch breaks when you’re a working mum are golden opportunities to get stuff done. Oh, and eat lunch if you have time, too.
6. Having your own designated space
Even if it’s just a desk in a row of others, there’s something luxurious to a mum about having our own space. When we are so used to having to share everything with little people who have an attitude of, ‘if it’s yours it’s mine’, it’s so calming to know that if you leave something on YOUR desk, it will be there when you return.
7. Wearing non mum-attire
When I take my boys to the park, all the mums are dressed exactly the same as me. We are comfortable in our Kmart ‘casual wear’ and all rock mum buns – because really, who has time to do their hair with young kids? On work days though, I wear clothes that I would never wear at home. These aren’t fancy or expensive, but they have some me-style injected into them. They also haven’t got caked-on play dough on them or vomit stains.
8. Drinking a hot coffee
When I’m at home I microwave the same cup of instant coffee about three times before I give up on drinking it. It’s so hard to finish a mug of hot anything when a cute little someone always wants or needs your attention. Hot drinks are a privilege only those without young kids around them truly enjoy. When I’m at work though, suddenly I am one of those. So I smugly order my flat white from the cafe downstairs knowing full well I’ll be able to drink it with steam. Bliss!
9. Going to the bathroom alone
I confess, the door is often left ajar when I wee in my house. There’s just no point shutting it when someone will panic that they can’t see mummy or urgently need me to connect the trailer to their truck. When I’m at work though, I smile as I lock the door. Peeing at work is my new me-time.
(This is a sponsored post for NAN Toddler)