There’s no doubt that being a working mum has its perks – you get to earn an income, spend the day with other adults, and if you really love your work, you get to spend your time doing something you’re passionate about. But working mum life comes with some challenges, and no matter how flexible your working conditions, how supportive your boss is or how much you love your toddler’s day care, there are obstacles that just can’t be avoided.
The good news is that whatever working mum battles you go through this week, there’s hundreds, if not thousands of us going through exactly the same thing. And for every obstacle we come across, it’s a case of making a choice, which comes with pros and cons.
Which of these impossible choices did you experience this week?
1.The sick toddler
Your toddler has a head cold and is a snotty mess, but in good spirits. You could send him in to day care, knowing that he will more than likely be okay, and that the place is full of germs anyway … or you could call in sick at work again to spend the day on the couch with your little person, because even toddlers with head colds need their mums.
2. The take-home work project
You promised your boss you’d finish working on a project at home, which means staying up late to do it once your toddler is in bed and you’re completely exhausted from the usual bedtime shenanigans. Do you make a coffee and get on with it, knowing that your brain is like mush once it gets past 9pm, or do you hit the sack and resolve to get up before dawn to finish it, even though your toddler has a weird knack for waking up when you leave your bed, no matter what time it is …
3.Getting the call from day care
Your day care calls to say your toddler is running a fever, and you’re about to go in to an important meeting. You know you can ask your mum to get your toddler for you, but you hate the idea of him being sick without you. What do you do? Decide that he’ll be fine with Grandma or make your excuses to your colleagues and risk the disapproval?
4. Toddler smears on the work shirt
You were doing so well. Both you and the toddler were dressed and ready to leave the house in record time, when you look down at your shirt and notice the Vegemite stains that have appeared across your front, suspiciously in the shape of tiny fingerprints. Do you frantically search for something else to wear, knowing that there’s nothing else ironed, or do you wear a strategically placed scarf over the offending smear and hope for the best?
5. Unbrushed toddler teeth
You’re running late, and still need to brush your toddler’s teeth, but you know this is always an extended battle and there’s no time for it. Do you skip the teeth-cleaning and live with the guilt or grab the brush and toothpaste and do it in the car outside day care, hoping no one will see?
6. The missing toddler shoe
You and the toddler are just about out the door. She’s dressed and washed, and both your bags are ready and waiting by the door. All you need now are the toddler shoes … two of them preferably, as one seems to be missing. Gah! You know they were here last night! Do you turn the house upside down looking for the missing shoe or do you grab the gumboots sitting nearby and tell your toddler she can be like Wonder Woman today. She wears boots, doesn’t she?
7. The wardrobe battles
The wardrobe dilemmas used to be yours, but not these days. Your outfit was carefully laid out the night before, as was your toddler’s, because you know how important it is to be organised in the morning when you’re a working mum. Only today she is insisting on wearing her Peppa Pig pyjamas to day care, despite the pretty sundress you had selected for her. Do you let her win, knowing that the battle is a fruitless one, or do you stand your ground?
8. The lost teddy
Your toddler needs Snuggles the bear to sleep at day care, but you’re both in the car, buckled up and engine started … do you run back in to find Snuggles and risk running seriously late for work, or do you convince your toddler that your gym t-shirt, which was stuffed under the front seat can be a good enough snuggly replacement as it smells just like you and will be like ‘mummy giving you a cuddle while you sleep’?
9. Rejigging priorities
The toddler wants you to come in and read a story at day care but you work full-time. You’re also dog tired from a busy week and disrupted sleep because she still insists on coming into your bed every night. Do you soldier on, or do you decide to call work and tell them you’ve got gastro/need a pap smear/have urgent family business to attend to and spend the morning with your toddler at day care?