So the past few weeks, since I’ve started getting back into a routine of working from home and juggling being a mum, I’ve been snappy, I’ll admit it. More so than usual. But apparently this isn’t ok. Surviving on little sleep as Emily struggles with the latest bout of teething and insists on being in bed with us more than in her own, I’ve been online 24/7, in work (that’s my job), my mind and haven’t really had a chance to switch off. I’m struggling to sleep beyond a few hours, passing out early but then waking earlier to find one person in a deep slumber and the other fidgeting as they toil with the idea that they may be hungry or just want cuddles.
Being a mum is hard work. No one did say it was going to be easy but also no one tells you the toil it has on your mind, mood and sanity. Whilst Sam works hard in London, I too work hard, talking on behalf of brands and communicating with their customers online, all whilst juggling trying to keep the house tidy, meals cooked, washing done and Emily happy, who’s mood currently varies. But I shouldn’t be snappy, at least that’s what I’m told. I should just take it all in my stride and just, well, get on with it. This is my job as a mother after all. I’m convinced if the roles were reversed I’d be coming home to this daily.
As a new parent there’s so many changes. Your sleep habits are forced to change, your lifestyle is forced to change, your finances are forced to change, and you as a person will change too. I’ve been snappy probably more since I had Emily but it is hard work. Even if I sleep all through the night, I still don’t get enough sleep, there’s never enough zzz’s to control my tiredness. My whole world is under one roof. I have an amazing little daughter, who, understably is temperamental whilst she’s teething, an amazing partner who’s a great father, who constantly looks after both of us and who works hard up in London, and I juggle my life and everything in between and around them. Being a mum is like being on a rollercoaster. One minute it’s all smiles as Emily shoves her feet in her mouth, screams with delight on her jumperoo or the next minute, it’s endless high pitched screaming because she couldn’t get her foot in her mouth the way she wanted it. It has to be known I’m in no way depressed, I’m tired and ratty and I think that’s justifiable being at home all day trying to work and be a mother. It’s all about finding that balance.
Being a work-from-home mum requires a lot of hard work, sanity and drive. Whilst I’ve worked from home in the past, finding motivation as a single person compared to finding the time to fit everything in as a mum is completely different. My day isn’t like a traditional work day. I wake up at 5.30am, entertain Emily for 30 minutes, do 30 minutes of my exercise DVD, shower, feed Emily, eat my breakfast, get CBeebies on, possibly a nap for Emily is thrown in, do some admin work, read over a post or two on here before I publish it and set up my laptop before 9am. This is, if everything runs smoothly. If for whatever reason Emily won’t play ball, it can be 10am before I’ve even managed to turn my laptop on. From this time till the end of my work day (about 5pm), there will be 2 bowls of baby food eaten, 3-4 bottles of formula drunk, 5 nappy changes, 3-4 naps, 1-2 cries, 7 cuddles, a whole load of babbling, a fair amount of screaming and a lot of Mr Tumble, Bing and Hey Duggee. On top of that, I have to make myself 2 meals with this diet (no snacking, remember?), do the endless amounts of washing piling up in the basket, make the bed, put clothes away, sort through paperwork, do the shopping (weekly, mostly online), make dinner and make sure time is constantly in my favour. Around that I try and fit in seeing my friends which I’d love to see more, but sometimes is nigh on impossible. All of that will be juggled around content calendars, analytic reports, stats and figures, numerous emails, lots of phone calls and voicemails, Skype meetings and scheduling, before getting the dinner ready by a certain time. It’s no easy task as it is. So, it has to be mentioned, I have reasons to be snappy, irritable and tired every day. It’s no easy task juggling. We have discussed whether maybe it’s too early to be going back to work, but if I can’t do it now, there’s no way I’ll be able to do it in months to come when Emily is mobile, crawling or walking everywhere. Besides, I like that I can have a wage at the end of the month to look forward to, because being on the maternity allowance for the past 6m has been difficult. It’s not enough to survive on.
I hear a lot from people saying ‘you’re so lucky you get to work from home,’ not realising that working from home isn’t as easy or as appealing if they knew what it actually involved. It’s bloody hard work. I spend every waking minute with Emily, I wouldn’t change that for the world, but trying to keep her entertained whilst I try and get through my list of tasks can prove difficult, especially if she refuses to get in her jumperoo, bouncer, on the play mat and just wants to be strapped to your side all day. Day in, day out, I have to manage my day as to what’s kinda important, what’s super important and what has to be done right this second, and time it all around Emily’s naps. Then when she is asleep, cram as much as I can into however long she’s going to be asleep for, because there’s no certainty you might get that chance to again that day. So whilst I try and find my routine, stick with me, I’m not alone in thinking this, many friends feel the same whether they’re a full time parent, work at home mum or have to go back to work and juggle parenthood around work.
Until I establish a proper routine around this nightmare of a teething stage, please just be patient. I know the ideal is to come home to a happy partner who won’t be agitated or stressed but right now it’s difficult whilst I find my feet. It was the same when we came home from the hospital and we both were snappy for barely sleeping and dealing with a baby that screamed constantly. It won’t be for long, I promise. Just stick with me, understand that it’s a tuberlant stage, but it will get better.