So you are a Mum, you have a career, your house is immaculate, you go to the gym and you have an amazing relationship…really? I got the kids dressed this morning and their pants aren’t inside out.
Does anyone else have this sickening feeling that although we as a society are pushing for gender equality were are in a juxtaposition about where we see a ‘womans’ role’?
With the glamorisation of cleaning, and I’m not immune, so many of us are feeling the pressure to have that instaworthy, spotless and immaculate house 24 hours a day. Is this even possible? I love following these accounts on instagram as they give me the ‘cleaning bug’ but I have to admit that it’s got to the point that I almost feel obsessed. I don’t know if ‘popping my knobs’ or ‘hinching my home’ have become some sort of outlets for me or a way to take back control but I certainly know I’ve sniffed enough Zoflora to last a lifetime *thinks of the winter flavour with glee*. I know I’m not alone either with some of these accounts nearing 1m followers (most of which are woman may I add- I checked!).
On top of that Marie Kondo and The Organised Mother have to come into my life. If I wasn’t so obsessed with finding a Lazy Susan I’d maybe be questioning my excitement at my favourite holiday purchase, a label maker. All on the off chance someone needs to check my cupboards and might be disgusted by the fact my spices are mingling with my cereals and neither are clearly labelled. Again, I find satisfaction from these tasks but on the same hand I can’t say I have ever seen Steven use any items related to kitchen organisation of feel ‘sparks of joy’ folding his t-shirts so tiny we might actually lose them?
Something which does give me ‘sparks of joy’ is my job. I absolutely love it. I love everything from the smell of white board pen (I never sniff too hard!) to the excitement in children’s eyes when they are really engaged in learning. The only downside to my job is the guilt of letting 25 little faces down, and a whole staff team, when your child gets chicken pox and your partner is self employed. Or that time when they have a crazily high, unexplained fever and all they are crying for is Mummy. It’s that choice of ‘will I be a bad employee?’ or ‘will I be a bad Mum?’. I know you can’t be there to hold your child’s hand through all the ups and downs of life and that what doesn’t hurt you makes you stronger (so they say) but to wipe your child’s brow when they are hallucinating or cuddle them in when they have been sick all night are parts of the most important job of all- parenthood. This is where the gender gap is most prevalent to me. In one study based on staff absence rates between men and women, women had almost double the absenteeism of men in the workplace. This got me thinking, I can’t be the only one in the situation that because Im PT and the main caregiver I am automatically expected to be the one to miss work? If anything, this study actually shows that woman are still expected to take time off over their partners to watch sick children. I’m not slating Steven here because we really are in a different position, he is self employed thus if he doesn’t go to a job he may lose it. Another very interesting study I read on the National Statistics site was in relation to the gender pay gap. Do you know that males earn, on average, more than women in almost every profession other than the Health, Care, Education and Cleaning sectors? (https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/genderpaygapintheuk/2018). So essentially we are expected to have careers because society wants us to fight for equal pay, however our mentality towards child care doesn’t seem to have shifted to support this? This is where my ‘Super Mum’ super power lets me down mostly, I really want my career but I can’t be two places at once. Darn my lack of super powers.
After 2 children and a near third I have lost the enthusiasm and motivation for gymming it (for the time being anyway). I might look lazy but from waking up I (like most Mums) never stop. I get myself ready, make packed lunches, prepare breakfast, dress the kids, take them to school/ childcare, get myself to work, spend the day teaching, mark work, drive to collect the kids, make dinner, get homework started (thankfully Lew does it independently now), bath Charlotte (9 times out of 10), put a washing on, do the dishwasher, clear away, make the supper, read a story and get the kids to bed. By the end of the day, If I’m not planning lessons or doing readings, I’m absolutely knackered and heading to bed. The very last thing I want to do is go to the gym to burn more energy than I have. I do however know that in doing this I would be giving myself endorphins ( they happy chemicals that are released by the brain when you engage in physical activity) and this would probably be really beneficial. Its always something I mean to do but never get round to and arranging childcare to go on my ‘days off’ is a no go as I tap all my ‘free’ childcare for work. Contrary to this I am constantly presented with images of skinny mums and their babies, Mums posting about body confidence or articles on how to ‘keep fit at home’. What a breath of fresh air it was when Mothercare posted an image of a new Mum, wearing her post baby strechmarks with pride, with the caption ‘isn’t she beautiful. Ive ever there was a brand I could mentally high five more Mothercare would be it! Thanks for making gymming it one less thing (while the momentum for that post is high) to worry about on my ‘SuperMum’ checklist. Im fearfully awaiting the ‘Summer bodies made in winter’ posts i’ll no doubt be seeing over the next few months to shame me into some crash diet.
And lastly on my mission to be ‘Super Mum’ checklist is the ‘relationship goals’ status. It’s in line with ‘boy done good’ in my opinion. We only ever see what people want to share on social media and for most of us that’s less than 2% of our lives. Not only are we pushing ourselves to live in, look like and have a career that’s impeccable we are conscious of the fact others can view, rate and scrutinise every aspect of our relationships also. I just want to put it out there, no one is perfect. The thing I’m probably most secure about is my relationship. Would I say we never argue? No. Would I say I leave the house most days regretting how I nagged Steven to get helping? Yes. Would I say a bit more romance wouldn’t go a miss? YESSSSSS. But do you know what… I wouldn’t change my relationship for anything because if I know one truth, its even when I try my hardest to fit the Super Mum mould or worry that others are judging my lack of Super Mum powers I know that Steven has always got my non Super Mum back and in the very least is grateful for his stodgy spag bol because he knows its a hard job mumming it (or he bloody well should because I moan about it enough!).