I did some pondering today and some thoughts crossed my mind. And before I go into it, a little disclaimer:
I love my job. I love being a mum. I love being at home with my children. I chose to stay at home and hang out with my little rebel army. Noone twisted my arm! No coercion was involved. But like with every job sometimes we gotta have a bit of a bitch and a moan, right?
So…… Here is mine.
Working in the home is really an invisible job, isn’t it? I mean, at the end of the day, what do we really have to show for?
This morning I was woken by a face grab at 5.50am. Anything after 6.30am, is considered a lie in. When that happens, I wake up in shock and disbelief. Oh my god, is that the time! Kids are just so unpredictable. Being woken at 5.50am means having to tolerate darkness for at least another 2 hours this time of year. Ugh! Not a good time for me. Looks like baby didn’t get the memo that Mama needs her sleep.
There are a lot of hours between 6am ish when the kids wake and 7pm when they retire. Yep, you guessed right. 13 hours to be precise. During those hours, when you’re up and at it, a lot happens. Shit gets done. Shit that no one really notices, remarks on, asks for or needs, per se. From making lunches, making breakfast, emptying the first of many dishwasher loads, putting on a wash of clothes and while I am crouched over in front of the washing machine I may as well take out that dryer load that’s been sitting there and fold it away. Getting the kids up, give them their breakfast, help them get dressed, do their hair, tidy up the kitchen post-breakfast, clean up soggy cereal and other fun stuff off the floor, clean up the draining board, then tidy more stuff off the floor because 4 little tornadoes constantly cause some sort of a mess, yada yada yada,………At 9am, the three older kids get dropped to school. Perhaps I might stop off at the shop to pick up some milk before going home again to continue the rest of the day at that exact same pace. It’s right about half 9 now. Now stop. Take a minute. Does this sound familiar to you? It’s been a hectic morning. What have we accomplished? Truth be told, nothing that’s worth writing home about.What I am saying is that in a day as a mother and home carer so many things that we do and get done go unnoticed, are overlooked or discounted. Nobody ever says
“Jesus, that’s some serious cleaning you did there today!” or
“Fair play to you for putting some thought into what you are feeding your kids. Did you make that yourself?” or
“Well done you for feeding, dressing, washing your kids, and making sure they are at school on time in a clean uniform and looking happy!”
No one will remark on your ability to organize an entire household and the people in it; that you managed to have the kids, fed, bathed and ready for bed by 6.30pm with no major tantrums or injuries to report. Thats their nails and hair are cut neatly. Who really cares about all the spilt milk and biscuit crumbs that were cleaned up off the floor multiple times during the aforementioned 13 hours. And don’t get me started on the little handprints all over walls and doors. That the overflowing baskets with washed clothes?That they have been folded away also isn’t a coincidence. The effort it takes to maintain a status quo in a busy house and all the work that comes with that are imperceptible. Because that’s just what mums working from the home do. Right? Like little fucking fairies.
And in-between all the jobs that come with running a household with four little people in it, we must not forget their needs, demands and our parenting duties. Hours of rocking and sh-sh-hhhhing, intense negotiating and bribing them into doing what you want or need them to do, teaching them to use their inside voice and that sharing is caring.
And at the end of the day when you sit down and look back what do you have to show for? The house is a mess. There are fingerprints all over the wall, dirty clothes thrown all over the floor and it looks like I haven’t lifted a finger all day. I look like I’ve been pulled backwards through a hedge because I hadn’t a minute to spare and when my husband asks “What did you do today?” I stare at him blankly trying to recall my day. I have to think of something meaningful and significant…Think. Think. Think…..
Yeah, I got nothing.
I’ll reply “Oh you know, not much.” (Everyone is alive and fed, right?)
Talking about spilt milk, biscuit crumbs and dishwasher loads doesn’t make for a great conversation piece. YOU, my fellow Mama Warriors, though, you know what I am talking about. You know the real deal. So, I high five you, Mamas, just because…….
A big SAHM-Secret-Club High Five!