Annabel's motherhood story - The working from home Mum juggle
I’m in the office at my 3yr old’s kinder. I’m sitting on the “special chair”. Thomas’ kinder teacher brought in from home, a five-star camping chair which he now knows as my special work chair. I wasn’t able to leave again this morning but I was able retreat to my “special chair” to do my work. Not any chair, only my “special chair”. Last class I sat on the special chair, with my laptop on my knee in the foyer.
I haven’t yet been able to do a successful kinder drop off. Instead, we have reached a compromise. Mummy can stay at kinder but she isn’t here to play with Thomas, she will be working. So far, so good! For now, it’s a win/win for all!
The kinder teachers don’t have to deal with a meltdown, Thomas happily plays and participates in the activities, I get some work done and Jack (touch wood) sleeps in the pram and wakes up in time for music on the mat. Jack thinks kinder is great! He loves mat time.
The only thing that is missing is coffee! My thought process is being overrun right now by my need for an extra strong, long black. Heaven! Maybe next week, if I’m super organised I can bring my coffee plunger with me. Gosh! That would mean that the Kinder office and the foyer really will have become my mobile work stations. Next, I’ll be putting my lunch in the fridge. Hopefully not. Hopefully, the “settling in” phase is just taking a little longer than I expected. It is just a phase, right?
As much as I love being present (or should I say hidden) at Kinder, it wasn’t part of my well organised weekly plan for 2017. Tuesday and Friday mornings were scheduled in as “my time”. Whether that meant working with a client, working on my business or going for a walk with Jack.
As were Thursdays. For the last two years Thursdays, have always been Thomas’s day at childcare and Mummy’s work day – but not this year. I can’t even get him to leave the house. For some reason, Thomas seems to be experiencing separation anxiety like never before. I was prepared for tears and a meltdown or two but I wasn’t prepared for my Thursdays to become reorientation playdates at childcare or for Kinder to be my new office location. Slowly and steadily, one session, one week at a time, I’m sure we’ll get there. All the new changes that came with the new year will no longer be daunting for my three year old. Thomas will become comfortable with his new routine and no doubt he will be waving me goodbye at Kinder and childcare with open arms. Positive thinking, my “me time” will be possible at some stage this year…
As Mum’s, we think we have everything in control. By now, three years in, I should well and truly know, that nothing is in our control. Our little people govern our worlds. We just have to be ready to think on our feet, make adjustments, multi-task (when do we not?) and just run with it!
Additionally, when I was planning my year, I had visions that my perfect baby boy would sleep soundly for two hours (or more) at a time. Everyone told me that you get the opposite with the second. How wrong was I! Jack power naps. He rarely sleeps for more than 30 minutes at a time during the day. So instead of spending valuable, toddler free, working hours rocking, patting and cradling Jack to sleep, he lives in the BabyBjorn. Another win/win for all! I set my laptop up on the bench, strap Jack in to the BabyBjorn, he gets cuddled to sleep and I get relatively uninterrupted hours of work achieved (and Jack cuddles of course). Perhaps not such a great plan for my back or my legs but for now it’s working, so I’ll just go with it.
However, I shouldn’t complain when it really matters, he knows when to cooperate. Last week I had an important meeting with a new client. Still exclusively breast feeding and not taking the bottle my little side kick is my business partner. Oh how my client meetings have changed.
Jack was awake all morning whilst we were at home however as soon as we arrived at the trendy Toorak café he fell asleep on cue and slept soundly for the entire meeting. Before Jack had even entered the world, my mum had named him “the obliging and accommodating baby” and he is still standing true to his name.
I’ve always described myself as someone who is excellent at multi-tasking. As mum’s, we all are! We have to be, it’s part of our role. Since starting my business, welcoming Jack into our family and supporting a three year old who is having trouble with separation anxiety, my multi-tasking skills have reached a whole new level. Creativity at its finest and I think I have only just scraped the surface.
Working from home you are constantly juggling all of your hats; work, mummy, partner domestic goddess….. and the list goes on. There is no office to escape to. Instead, amongst 3 loads of washing, countless requests for glasses of milk and snacks, nappy changes, breastfeeds, dinner preparation you can somehow still miraculously snap in and out of work mode.
But, I wouldn’t have things any other way. I’m loving the working from home Mum juggle and the awesome craziness that comes with it. I’m so thrilled to be working with all of the wonderful clients’ that are coming my way.
Since I started writing this blog two weeks ago, Thomas has turned a massive corner and my scheduled weekly “me time” has returned. Kinder is no longer my mobile workspace. My big boy can’t wait for Kinder and happily waves goodbye to me at the door. He has settled in to childcare and Thursdays are once again Mummy’s work day.
The working from home mum juggle will always keep me on my toes but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so excited to have launched my own business that allows me the flexibility to mix my old world with my new world.
Annabel says: I am an energetic, bright and bubbly extrovert who loves to socialise, spend time with family & friends, exercise and my nightly glass of wine.
Children: 2 energetic boys (Thomas, 3.5 years and Jack, 7 months)
Motherhood in 5 words: Awesome, amazing, crazy, life changing, a love like no other
Fav family-friendly place: We can often be found at Halliday Park in Mitcham (aka the jumping park), Warrandyte feeding the ducks or the Luckie St park in Nunawading (aka the red twirly slide park).
Coffee order: A strong long black! One a day. Sometimes now to combat the sleep deprived haze an up-size is required – an extra, extra strong large long black.
Biz: Annabel Hall Getting You Work Ready
Job application support and career guidance for Mums who are ready to return to work. Services offered included resume writing, customised cover letters, interview preparation coaching, workshops and online toolkits.
This is a place where you can connect with Melbourne mothers to share the good, the bad and the topics that we don't talk about but really need to.
Join the hood.
Share your motherhood story.
The information in this story is a unique and personal reflection of the writer's experience. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.