Hey all and a happy weekend to you!
I’m on bed rest this weekend after a little hospital stay (all planned) so have had the luxury of a morning to my thoughts and a bit of Penguins of Madagascar with the boys. I realise it’s only about 0830 hours but for us mums that’s an amazing lay in!
This week has been very busy and full of emails, Facebook posts and letters asking for things. I am a helper, a doer and I will help whenever I can however I’m starting to feel a little downhearted at the amount of things I can’t do due to time, work and other commitments.
Nate and Leo go to an amazing Infant School which is full of diverse children and families from all walks of life. We in Whitstable have an eclectic mix of people some born here, some who have left London from the quiet and sea air and some from all over this country and others in our lovely world.
The school has a very active parents association and encourage assistance from parents in things such as school trips, weekly swimming lessons, helping with gardening etc. I’m all for this, infact I love the thought that I am making a positive contribution to the environment my children learn in and getting to know other parents and making friends as a part of it.
Sounds amazing doesn’t it, in theory yes but in practice I’m the one always having to say ‘I’m so sorry I’m working that day’ or ‘that’s my only day off this week and I’m mentoring, cleaning, doing the shopping, seeing a friend I’ve had to neglect for weeks’, you get the drift!
Then comes the guilt, one of the few afternoons when you can actually get to the school for pick up and you are sure you are being judged, I smile, I say hi but I feel deep down like I’m being judged for not baking any cakes for the summer fair bake off and not being able to volunteer to man the face painting stall because I’m working or not having remembered that today was the meeting I could have got to if I had rushed but I ended up catching up with some paperwork filing and washing up (yes that’s right we don’t have a dishwasher!).
I’m not sure if it was like this for my mum or if it’s a more modern thing. When I was younger I recall quite a few mums were housewives or had little jobs at the supermarket or as a dinner lady. But as we know today women are up there with the high earners and often both sides of the marriage team need to work to make ends meet.
There are some mums who don’t have to go to work or have the luxury of working from home (I’m aware sometimes this isn’t a luxury, especially if you have little people as helpers!) so can change their timetables around a bit. I sadly don’t have that level of flexibility. I work ten hour shifts and often longer due to overtime that you often don’t know about until the day itself. My husband is the same and as shift workers we have to include nights and weekends as part of our working week.
So when thinking about this week alone when I have missed a parents meeting, had to say no to helping with a school trip next week due to my operation, haven’t been able to volunteer for the summer fair as I’m working earlies and Karl is working nights so my parents have the children, haven’t made any cakes for the bake off and very nearly forgot yesterday was a non uniform day where I had to send a bottle in with each boy for the tombola I realise that actually I am pretty rubbish.
I then however reflected on some of the things we do manage to do. I do about three hours a week of youth mentoring at the local high school, my husband helps with a local football group run by our church once a week, I help with Sunday club, we help with walking one of our sons classes to the swimming pool once a week for the school swimming lessons and I even dead headed some of the sweet peas in the flower bed at school this week to encourage more growth!
So in my own way I shouldn’t be so hard on myself and I know that we all do what we can in our own ways and how we can. To think there is this much pressure at Infant School I can’t imagine how I will cope with Juniors!
How many of you are like me and a wants to be helpful but often struggles parent?