"....Before I had children, I could spend an hour doing absolutely nothing. Nothing. Indeed, an hour was chickenfeed. I could spend whole days with absolutely no achievement at all.
....Three days after having LIzzie, however, I suddenly realised the riches I had squandered. An hour! Oh man, what I could do with an hour now!
....Just an hour! If my mother wasn't so sodding selfish, and simply gave up her life to come here and babysit, I could learn how to tie sailor's knots! Bag a Munro! Take in an exhibition of ancient maps at the British Museum!
....So, in the tiny windows of time that your child is asleep or someone else is looking after her, you find yourself becoming almost superhumanly productive."
excerpt taken from 'How to be a Woman' by Caitlin Moran
As every mom knows you have to be able to juggle. Not just three balls but maybe more like 10. If you imagine that one of those balls is an 8.45am meeting, another a homework assignment, one a child who needs to be stopped from stuffing soil in his mouth, another a playdate and subsequent scrap over a Transformer, you start to get an idea of the average parent's day.
Before I had kids, the first hour at work could easily cruise by like this: start by contemplating what I was going to achieve that day, procrastinate a bit, chat to colleagues about what I was going to have for lunch, what they were going to have for lunch and what we were going to cook for dinner, then realise it was time for a cuppa and deliberate over whether to have a biscuit or be good etc etc!
When I look back now I'm amazed at how blissfully unaware I was of the luxury of time. As a parent downtime is pretty rare (unless you have an amazing support network or are Victoria Beckham – sorry, it just ain't possible to take care of four kids 24/7 and look that put together!). So when you become a parent and you do have some childfree time, boy do make the most of it! Many of us dream of putting our feet up with a glass of Pimms and a bit of daytime TV, but the reality is more about how much you can squeeze into those two precious hours of nap time.
So it baffles me why so many employers don't seem to appreciate what mums can offer them. We will work our asses off from 9am till 5.30pm because we know we have to peg it out of the door on the dot to retrieve our little treasures from whoever is minding them. And then if we need to, we'll be straight back on the laptop as soon as they're settled in bed. I can count on one hand the number of friends who were given the days and hours they'd asked for when they returned to work after maternity leave. Many ended up leaving their jobs as they found the pressure of trying to cram a full-time workload into part-time hours too much. And don't get me started on the cost of childcare … that's for another day!
My Muffia friends are a mix of working and stay-at-home moms. There's no denying that balancing kids with a job can be a real challenge but it can also be very rewarding (when they don't decide to make you redundant that is!). So another ambition I have for muklet is to tap into some of the mommy talent I'm surrounded by that's been put on hold until the kids are settled in school. I'd like to get to a point where we can support mums working at home and at a time that suits them.
You know they talk about the ‘golden hour’ in emergency rooms? Well I have my own ‘golden hour’ – it's called nap time and it's what keeps me sane. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids more than life itself, but jeez, I need that hour or two each day to breathe! Right now, I'm making full use of my golden hours to get muklet off the ground. If you’re organised and armed with an IPad and a sewing machine, it’s amazing what you can do. And slowly, but surely … I'm getting there! Knackered, but getting there!