The past couple of years have probably been the toughest time of my life. Not because I had particularly bad luck or my heart broken, but because I became a working mum. Nobody warned me that it’s one of the toughest roles out there! I was hoping that it would gradually become easier but no luck so far. In fact, with my manager going back to the US and having to take on more responsibilities at work, it’s only getting harder. I should really be happy that I got promoted but I realized that it also meant longer hours at work, and hence, less time with my daughter. This morning was especially tough as she’s down with a cold and so she cried and clung to me when I left home.
Bear with me while I paint a picture of my routine. During weekday mornings, I have about 1-1.5 hours to get ready for work, have breakfast with my daughter and give instructions to our domestic helper on what to buy/cook for the day before having to rush to work. I work for 9-10 hours each day and despite this, I’m usually the earliest team member to leave work. Once or twice a week, I try to squeeze in a gym session. If I know that I’ll be home late, I also try to have lunch with my daughter.
When I get home at close to 7pm, we have dinner together, spend about half an hour watching TV or playing with my daughter, before bath time, followed by bedtime stories and putting her to bed. By the time this happens, it’s close to 10pm and I usually end up falling asleep as well. In the rare occasions that I manage to drag myself out of bed, hubby and I watch TV together or I’ll read a book. As I work for an American firm, I also typically have at least one early morning or evening call per week. As my daughter is stuck to me if I’m at home, I have to take these calls from the office. On average, I’m out one evening a week; it could be date night with hubby, dinner with friends, social event with colleagues or just something simple like going for a haircut or a facial.
Luckily, I don’t have to work during weekends so we get to spend time together as a family. During the week, though, it feels like 24 hours in a day is never enough! I’m always rushing from one thing to the next, I feel exhausted but also guilty for not seeing my daughter much and I’m always thinking about my long to-do list. I also hardly spend time having real conversations or hanging out as a couple with hubby. This is despite moving to an apartment which is 10 minutes’ walk from work (I used to hate living near work!) and having a live-in domestic helper. So I have no idea how working mums in other countries where there is no affordable help survive.
Is it because I’m being greedy and want too many things? I want to be a good mum and bond as much as I can with our daughter, I would like to maintain a career (I was planning on asking for part time but that went out the window when my manager told me that he’s leaving), I would like to have ‘couple time’ with hubby, I need ‘me time’ and a social life to relax, I have to exercise to feel healthy and I blog to keep myself engaged and as an outlet for my thoughts. It’s a pretty long list but all of them seem to be necessities rather than nice to haves. If there is any mummy out there who has discovered a magic formula to have it all, please let me know!