Guilt-ridden, torn between two roles and overlooked. This is the current state-of-mind of working mums according to research revealed by The Work & Family Show this week.
Apparently 80% of new mums feel guilty about going back to work and leaving their child in the care of others, and childcare responsibilities still fall on the mother’s shoulders even when both parents are working.
I suspect this study is only scratching at the surface of the mental state of working mums today, who if anything like me are on a constant treadmill of trying to run a household and raise children while at the same time earning enough money to ensure the smooth running of that household and maintain a career.
This week is a prime example. By Tuesday evening I had: cleaned the entire flat from top to bottom, including jobs no-one notices need doing or get done (like cleaning flakes of dried milk from the shelf in the door of the fridge), processed four loads of washing, prepared six main meals, four lunches and three breakfasts, done the weekly food shop, dealt with upwards of 50 work-related emails and written a real life feature for The Sun. Oh, and snatched (and I mean snatched) an hour to myself in order to have a swim. All with BB at nursery for just five hours.
The actress Patricia Heaton once said: ‘I don’t remember my mother ever playing with me. And she was a perfectly good mother. But she had to do the laundry and clean the house and do the grocery shopping’. A sad window into her childhood which always haunts me when I’m hoovering or trying to answer an important email and BB says ‘mummy come and sit on the sofa with me’ and I say ‘I just have to get this done.’ I don’t want her to remember a crazed maniac rushing from one job to another who never had time to play.
So what’s the solution? In the long term and at this stage of the working week my treadmill-addled brain has no idea. But in the short term Misery Guts has booked us a night away at a hotel and spa for some scheduled R&R.
We can’t wait.