I am far from the authority on motherhood. Sure, I’ve been pregnant and given birth and all of that fun but everything that followed, i.e.: motherhood, caused me so much struggle, stress and pain that I need therapy. So no, I am far from good/perfect/competent/accomplished/knowledgeable. But I am writing this anyway, because…Well, because.
I’ve read a lot online recently, on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, about the ‘you don’t get a day off when you’re a mum but I demand one because it’s REALLYNOTFAIR’ thing. So much so in fact that I thought about it for long enough for me to sit here and type. Maybe I should get out more.
Even in my brief period of being a mummy there is one thing that I just get; it’s hard. It’s hard whether you’re happy or sad, rich or poor, young or old. That is the reality of being a parent. It’s often a thankless, brutal, unrelenting task that there is no escaping from. Even if you think you’re safe for five minutes in the cupboard under the stairs for some freaking peace and as many biscuits as you can stuff into your face, you will be found. There are no cheeky tea breaks, no standing idly at the photocopier ‘working’ while you stare out of the window of your grey office into greyer skies and daydream for ten minutes. You spend your days covered in snot/mud/jam/stickers/worse while bent at a backbreaking angle to make the all-important eye contact while you bark ‘no’ for the 549032409th time in thirty minutes.
Let’s face it, if it was a job advertised in the back of a local paper no one would take it. Personally I would skip straight past it to the kittens needing homes column to aaaaaah and the singles column to giggle.
When I was born I became a daughter, a cousin, a niece and a granddaughter. In the last (almost) twenty seven years I have fulfilled the roles of sister, friend, girlfriend, bit of stuff, colleague, auntie, manager, other woman, fiancée, wife…yaddayadda.
Only two of the above had anything to do with jobs. All the others were work though. Man, they were work.
(Almost) two years ago I hoisted on a dress that I would otherwise never wear, shoes that I didn’t really like and held a bouquet awkwardly – honestly, is there any other way to hold a bouquet? It’s a bunch of flowers! When do we carry a bunch of flowers around except for on the day that we have 101 other things to think about and important things to do with our hands? How do you carry a bunch of flowers without looking slightly like you picked them from your neighbours’ garden when they weren’t looking on your way to the church? With muddy shoes and a slightly guilty look on your face…Anyway – I became a wife. I chose to marry the man that I call the husband. I chose to have a relationship with him and together we chose to become a family. That’s why I felt so sick and tired and pregnant at the time.
And then the wriggly thing in my tummy made a break for freedom and we became mummy and daddy. Titles that come with responsibility, duty, love, agony and shitty nappies. But is it a job? I don’t think so. Does it annoy me, admittedly irrationally, when people get stuck on the good old ‘no pay, no privileges, no respect, I demand a day off like all the nine to five-rs that get two a week. TWO. What I could do with two days…’ thing? Hell yeah. Maybe it’s just my PMT, but still.
I never, ever get a ‘day off’ from being a friend/family member/human/wife, so why would I get a day off from being a mummy? I get time alone, sure, but I will always be a mummy. When the house is silent but for the warthoggy snores of my daughter and husband (so alike in so many gross ways) I’m there in case I’m needed. When I break out for something super fun and exciting (it’s usually a pint of milk. Contain yourselves) I’m still a mummy. When Beans grows up and leaves home and embarks on adventures I’m still a mummy. No, there’s no time off or sick days (unless the husband is feeling generous), there are no big, fat cash bonuses, no company car and very few thank yous. It’s hard work and rewarding and frustrating and super fun. But just like you have to work at marriage and relationships and wondering if you can pull off those turquoise skinny jeans without looking try hard and life there isn’t the room for pleas of a day off or a pay rise. Because that’s not what it’s all about.
*jumps down off high horse and inhales a bar of chocolate*