|The Daily Battle to get to School on Time
Photo: Filip Lundeholm
Some mornings I wake up and can’t help feeling like I drew the short end of the straw. Three children to organise by 8.15: coax out of bed, tempt breakfast into, get dressed, brush teeth, get a school lunch box ready and into a school bag and finally get coats, scarves, hats and gloves on to (season dependent of course). In between I have to fit in a breastfeed for the baby, scrape Weetabix from the floor, high chair and dining table, divert a couple of tantrums and/or crying sessions and get myself showered and dressed. It’s a miracle but we do usually get my eldest to school on time.
In order to take part in this joy every weekday I gave up my career. Once upon a time I worked full time in Human Resources in an international company. I went off on maternity leave in 2006 and never went back. Don’t get me wrong, I hated working nine to five. I hated the humdrum of office life. I hated the office politics. I hated being an employee number and not a valued person. I hated the rat race. I gave that career up happily.
When I started working for myself as a freelance writer, the knock came hard as the number of children in our household grew and the time to write diminished dramatically. During pregnancies the energy was sapped out of me. My inspiration for writing never made it outside my head. Time was at a premium and writing came last. This career pause was a little harder to take. Especially on those days when the children don’t cooperate and the day feels long by 8.15 a.m. The days when every sacrifice feels like a burden. The days when not being able to even go to the toilet alone irks me.
And then something will happen that knocks the regrets about my writing career break on the head. It whacks those niggling feelings of something lost right out of the playing field. A baby’s first smile. A toddler getting up and taking his first steps. The first utterance of mama. A bum wiggling dance to the theme of Thomas the Tank Engine. The search for a hug and kiss when a knee is scraped. The uncertainty of the first day of school. A drawing of our family made of stick men and wild hair. Arts and crafts sessions full of unbelievably sticky glue and glitter. Cooking sessions full of finger licking and tummy rubbing. In fact there are so many moments that make me smile as a mother it’s hard to feel any regrets about an abandoned career for very long.
My time for my career will come soon enough. When my children are all in school and a little more independent. When my children are all grown up and leading their lives elsewhere. And for those days I can wait. There’s no rush.
Regrets? I’ve had a few, but none enough to matter.