Tag Archives: working mums

Ever had a “poor me” moment? Genine experiences a foreign emotion.

23 Mar

Indulge me readers. I am having a “poor me” moment.

Genine has a 'poor me' moment

Those of you who follow our blog will know that is a rare occurrence indeed. I’m the ‘glass half-full’ half of the Alli & Genine combo. Alli’s normally the one to have a big girly cry. Well, the tables have turned.

So, I have been slaving away for a good few weeks now, pulling 16-hour (or more) days and have hardly seen my husband. It’s been all work and certainly no play.

I am tired, cranky and desperately need a massage. My normally strict diet and exercise regime has been neglected and I haven’t cut my toenails in far too long (they are a disgrace!). I have taken to pulling my hair up in a tight bun each day because I don’t have the time to wash and blow-dry it.

Kim Kardashian realised she didn't have time to get her nails done

And my house? Let’s just say that the knock on my door right now could be coming from those two old English birds from How Clean Is Your House ?– with gloves firmly in place. Hope it is!

The ladies from House Clean Is Your House? are knocking on Genine's door

Our dog hasn’t been walked in two weeks and is growing more frustrated every day (she even tries to play ball when I am sitting on the loo). The cobwebs have taken over. And if anyone had asked me to do another thing yesterday at work I may well have eaten them, screamed at them or called them a nasty name. I am stressed, fragile and experiencing mini panic attacks. Poor, poor me.

The I went to the bank. I was in my ‘I am so busy, poor me, blah blah blah’ mode. The teller (let’s call her Maria, ‘cause that is her name) took me into an office to help me with my banking issues. “Tappity tap, banking, money, banking, blah blah, I have five children, blah blah …” Hold the phone. “Five children?” I asked. Yep, five kids, 15 months to 19 years, full-time job, soccer, school, lunches etc. All as a single mum. I had just found Superwoman.

Who knew Superwoman held a second job at the bank?

I walked out of the bank trying to imagine what would happen if I threw a kid into my busy life. I mean, how can one woman juggle that many kids and a career and remain sane?

Then I chatted with our new web developer, the lovely Michelle from Little Hero Hosting. Now, I have not actually met Michelle, so I can’t say for certain, but I’d bet my last dollar that she is decked-out in high-waited blue undies and some sort of strapless gold top with arm shields, just like Wonder Woman. She, like Maria, has five kids. Yep, five little heroes whom she manages to feed, water, clothe, discipline, bathe and put to bed each day, with a story or two before bed, all while emailing and chatting to me throughout the night. Little Hero Hosting? Aptly named in my book.

Does Wonder Woman exist? Genine thinks so!

Next, I was chatting to Alli on the phone and we were updating each other about what we had achieved and what still needed to get done. I had a little tanty and told her that I simply could not fit another thing into my day. I was far, far too busy and exhausted.

After hanging up the phone, I realised something. My business partner, the other half of Alli & Genine and dear, special friend, does exactly what I do each and every day … and then some.

You see, through all my carry-on about how terribly important and busy I was, I forgot that there is a true super-hero right next to me (well, an hour down the road). Just like me, Alli is a wife. She is also a business owner and a work-a-holic. But the one thing Alli is that I am not, is a mum. And Alli is a darned good one at that (although she won’t admit to it).

So today my friend, my blog is for you. This is my chance to tell you that I think you are a wonderful, special woman, who is so driven and inspiring and I am proud to call you my business partner and friend. I sometimes forget how amazing you are.

Genine thinks Alli is hiding some big blue undies under her kaftan (image courtesy Studio Republic)

This post is also for Maria and Michelle – super-hero mums who juggle it all. It is for all you mums out there who work hard, like I do, but do it all while juggling a family – you are my super-heroes.

So it’s time I realised that, yes, it is okay to have a “poor me” moment, but in the end I too have to pull up my big girl’s panties (or in the case of Alli, Michelle and Maria, their Wonder Woman / Superwoman undies) and get on with it. Lesson learned.

Genine

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Attention working mums: We’re ruining our kids! Alli’s been researching …

16 Mar

So, I’ve been doing a bit of research into the working mum thing lately, and I have learnt one thing. Best not to do any research into the working mum thing.

Another day, another study about how we are jeopardising the health and well-being of our little ones by going to work … ho hum. Mummy guilt is rampant, driven partly by the release of these bloody stupid studies that, I am sure, are undertaken by men just to mess with our fragile mummy minds. It’s enough to send a woman to drink, if you’re not at the trough already.

Pack your bags, ladies, we’re going on a Mummy guilt trip! Thought I’d share some of the thought-provoking research (aka utter bullshit) I stumbled across. It’s Friday so I thought we could all do with a laugh, because really, it’s all rubbish … isn’t it? Bloody hope so …

1. Our kids have a greater chance of getting fat

Excellent – one obese son, coming right up! Did you want fries with that? Apparently, as we are so focused on ‘working’ we inevitably run out of time to buy and prepare nutritious meals for our children, so we shove junk food, takeaway or pre-prepared food into their tiny little gobs instead.

Don’t know about you, but I’m certainly not sending my son off to kindy with nachos with extra cheesey cheese, a super-size slurpie and a tub of lard on the side. He may get a muffin (I can hear the gasps of shock from here) or hot cross bun every now and again, but his lunch box is certainly a cheeseburger-free zone. Promise! Some brainiac American professor (a man) revealed that “children with the highest body mass index (BMI) tended to be the children of mums who worked long hours outside the home”. Hmm.

Personally, I think this is utter rubbish and this study should go straight in the bin, along with the takeaway food wrappers from dinner last night. Just kidding. We had chicken and veggies – honest! Seriously though, we all know childhood obesity is a massive problem and I am sure most mums are incredibly conscious of what they let their kids eat.

2. If we’re not causing our children to be obese, we’re pushing them the other way

Excellent! It’s buffet of eating disorders, apparently. Throw mental health problems and sleep disorders into the mix and you have the eloquently penned thoughts of some expert from the UK who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons. Mostly because I don’t want to be responsible for the public stoning he would receive if he ever popped out to Australia for a bit of a visit. So add it to the list ladies – obesity, anorexia, mental health, sleep issues. Tell me again why we work?

3. We are ‘gambling’ with our children’s lives by working

Thank you, UNICEF, I needed something else to lie awake at night stressing about. I was all out of issues!

Every mum wants to know that, while she is off working her stressed little head off and probably getting paid peanuts in the process, she is gambling with her child’s life.  It’s not like we’re throwing our children onto the roulette table and picking ‘red or black’ now is it?

4. Don’t turn to fellow Australians (or Americans, for that matter) for support

Australians have become much more conservative in our views on key gender issues than we were in the 1990s (www.smh.com.au). Apparently, we are a far less tolerant nation than we were back then when it comes to working mums – we are less inclined to believe a working mother can be as good as a mother who stays at home full-time. Ouch! And tragically, the Americans feel the same – they like us less!

Research revealed that these Americans who liked working mums less also liked the children of working mums less. Oh dear. Note to self: when next in the US don’t confess to being a working mum or they won’t like your kid very much.

5. Oh and don’t go hunting for a new job any time soon

One study (a year or so old, but official research all the same) found that 20 per cent fewer businesses worldwide and 14 per cent fewer in Australia planned to hire a working mother in 2011. Six out of 10 Australian companies did not plan to recruit working mothers over the next two years. Well, isn’t that happy news? It just gets better! Hold on to those jobs ladies, no matter how crappity crap they are, ’cause apparently, since birthing a baby, you’re not as reliable or appealing as an employee. Please! I seriously wonder how true this is – my feeling is that workplaces are becoming far more flexible and family-friendly, but hey, I’m no research expert.

So there you have it (and I haven’t even touched on the ‘putting your kid in day-care’ issues). Utter crap, but worth a giggle just the same. Good news is that I found about a million other studies that tell you all the positives that come with being a working mum. But they don’t ever make the headlines, do they?

Let’s open up the discussion, mummies. I need to hear a few more positives, because while I do wish I could choose how much I worked (i.e. less), I honestly believe that, on the whole, working makes me a better mother (although at times a little loopy).

Big girl’s panties on, it’s time for me to go and ruin my son’s life a little more …

Alli

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A day in the life of a completely inadequate working mother; Alli shares …

16 Jan

News just to hand … it’s bloody hard being a working mother, in case you didn’t get the memo.

So, in the interest of making all the working mummies out there feel a little less inadequate and a little more, well, normal, I have decided to share an average day in my life. Warts and all. Inadequate? Me? Hell no!

I wake (or rather, am woken) at about 5:15am (to cries of Mummy, det UUUUUP!), throw Hudson in front of Peppa Pig (or Thomas or The Wiggles or any other DVD produced by the ABC I can get my hands on), and throw cereal in front of him, while I quickly edit / write a few stories / check emails.

Next I spend 20 minutes running around trying to find Hudson’s sheets / hat / lunch box / water bottle / clothes for day care. I quickly realise I have, in fact, forgotten to wash Hudson’s sheets / hat / lunch box / water bottle / clothes for day care, so a quick clean-it job ensues.

I do all of this to the tune of Thomas the Tank Engine’s ‘We’re two, we’re four, we’re six, we’re eight …’ (which, surprisingly, puts a little spring in my step).

Hudson is changed (some days into one of my maxi dresses ‘cause that’s all I can find that’s clean) toileted, fed, and coerced into teeth cleaning with some kind of bribe (note to self: chocolate is not an appropriate bribe for teeth cleaning), before being smothered in sunscreen (I’m anal about the sunscreen – not a completely bad mum).

I throw on whatever crumpled dress I can find on the floor that isn’t covered in cat hair, snot or finger paint, draw my unwashed hair back into an oh-so-non-fashionable pony tail and rush out the door. I make it to the car and realise that I have forgotten my handbag, my iPhone or my son, so have to return to the house to collect neglected item / little person.

By about 8am I manage to drop Hudson at day care (he goes three days a week), unpacking his bag with the snotty little man attached to my leg like some kind of tearful barnacle. I then spend five minutes removing said barnacle from said leg so I can offload his sad little self to Miss Mel and Miss Nanna and exit. Stage left. Quickly.

Most days I hide around the door and take a peek to ensure the tears quickly stop, which they do (who knows where he gets that drama queen gene from?).

Doesn’t stop me from experiencing varying degrees of mummy guilt on the drive home. Even the Play School CD, which I generally forget to turn off and unconsciously enjoy all the way home, can’t completely distract me from this overwhelming emotion.

In the door and straight to my home office (okay, so it’s the kitchen table, but it sounds so much more glamorous if I call it an office). There I stay – working, writing, stressing, emailing, stressing, editing, writing, stressing – until about 3pm at which time I realise I haven’t yet eaten, showered or peed.

Thankfully, at this time the best thing on TV is well, nothing, so I am not at all tempted to stay on the couch where I have downed leftovers in record-breaking time. I head back to the office / kitchen table, all the time wondering where the day has gone and how the hell I’m going to get my work finished by Hudson’s pick-up time.

Soon 4:15pm rolls around and it occurs to me that the dish washer hasn’t been emptied and the washing is still wet in the machine … I attempt to hurdle three piles of dirty clothes on the laundry floor on my way to the clothes line (falling over and injuring myself along the way because I am uncoordinated – a gene I have passed on to my son), throw the dishes in the cupboard (dripping wet and just a little grotty), swear at myself for not remembering to feed the cat / dog/ fish … and dash to the car.

Hudson, Mummy is coming! As my son is somewhat, well, mummy obsessed (who can blame him?), I generally try and sneak into his room to collect his bits and bobs before he sees me so to avoid a repeat of the morning’s ‘crying barnacle’ performance. Next it’s time for  ‘Huddles Cuddles’ (big hugs), as we call them, before heading to the car to chat about his day.

Home we head, and I try, how I try, to give Hudson some attention in between working / cooking dinner / cleaning / stressing. But most days I fail. Miserably.

Then it’s time for dinner, bath, four books, two songs and a massive does of kisses and cuddles, and off he goes. To sleep. Bliss. Why do they always look so angelic when they are asleep?

So the next day I get up, put my big girl’s panties on under my crumpled maxi dress (probably the same one I wore yesterday) and do it all over again, the best way I know how.  As much as I feel inadequate on the mummy front, I do know that I couldn’t love that little boy any more if my life depended on it. And he loves me right back – inadequacies and all.

Sound familiar? Feels good to share … so share away! Tell me about YOUR day …

Alli

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