This week was the first week in the New Year that I am officially a working mum and Gareth is back to his day job. We knew that my squeezing in 24 hours of work into an already busy week and only gaining 8 hours of total child free time was going to be somewhat of a challenge. We warned ourselves that it would take a month of seeing what I needed to hand over to Gareth to find those productive hours at home and this week gave us the first glimpse of where I lack in available hours! Thankfully it is halfway through January and the majority of Christchurch don’t go back to work until Monday or even later so it’s only me (and our bank balance) that’s noticed how few hours I’ve worked.
I love working from home and working on a freelance basis. I know it will be the best option for our family once I have work established and we’ve all got ourselves into the rhythm. Gareth let me have the office when we moved in and whilst it doesn’t look or function quite how I want it to yet, it’s perfect. I can dart in there at any time of the day or night, shut the door and I am ready to work.
Each day of the week is different; Monday I have only Jackson from 8.30am to 4pm so at lunch time, if I am quick on making dinner when he is napping I can grab an hour of work. Tuesdays I have the morning ‘sans enfan’t so I get a straight three and a half hours of work in and then another hour when Jackson comes home for his nap. Wednesday and Thursday are full time mum so I sneak an email or phone call here and there but nothing much gets achieved in the day. Friday I have a child free morning so I get that three and half hours but Minnie comes home midday and Jackson’s nap time is my time with her. So last night we talked about how to tweak our routine so I find the extra hours. Gareth puts them to bed alone every other night so I can sign off from mummy duties as soon as he walks in the door, giving me an extra hour to my evening. Cleaning the floors has once again gone back to his list of domestic duties, giving me another hour. I’ll still plan the menu for the week and cook the meals but Gareth is going to do the shopping, that probably adds up to two hours. Finally the biggest change, I get five hours on Saturday afternoon when daddy day care takes over and I get to work. I haven’t done the math but hopefully with a couple of evenings of work that will give me all the hours I need. Phew.
This ‘try and see’ week has had it’s teething problems (two toddlers in, I now understand the discomfort meant by this phrase) It didn’t help that as I was working late on Tuesday night I knocked a glass of water over my laptop.
By Friday the week was land sliding and it didn’t look likely that I would come out on top.
It was a morning where I needed to get up early and be ahead of the children if I had any hope of getting us to nursery drop off at 8.30am with packed bags, sun hats in hand and sunscreen already applied. I forgot the sunscreen but otherwise the drop off went smoothly. I get home and start working on my back up PC (blurghh). By 11am I start to wonder if the courier that was scheduled for this mornings pick up of MacBook is going to appear. I make my first of six calls that day to the insurance company to tell my sad story of no courier. The first call resulted in a bogus trip to a techy company’s Christchurch office that is shut due to really long Christmas holidays (it’s their summer so they take a few weeks off, fine if you’re a teacher when your “customers” are also on holiday but three weeks for an IT company…seriously?) After a very long call telling my now even sadder story of woe, I get promised a courier for the afternoon. My working hours have ended and I go off to pick up the children. When I arrive at the nursery I can see Jackson is happily sitting in a highchair munching on something so I treat Minnie to a pick up with a full armed hug as I have no brother in the way. Go back into Jackson’s room to be told that he’s just got up from his morning nap…WHAT???? My son hasn’t had a morning nap since he was nine months old and our whole daily routine is built around his two hour nap from 1pm. Apologies and excuses are made but what I am left with is a sprightly toddler who hasn’t really eaten any lunch (because he was sleeping when they served up) who by about 4pm will lose the will to be reasonable and yet refuse any more sleep, can’t wait. So I’ve just paid for four hours of child care but only got two and a half hours of actual care and I need to provide lunch – I admit it, I lost it a little in the car.
I then decide as there is no chance baby boy is going to sleep that now is the best time to pick up groceries, which takes an hour and a half to two different shops during the hottest time of the day. All the while I’m thinking the long awaited courier will arrive when we’re out.
I get home a sweaty mess, relieved to see that the courier hasn’t been (I later find out this isn’t a good thing). I unpack the bags as a hungry boy screams at me and I give in to little girl’s high pitched nagging for Dora because at least then one tiny person is quiet. Unpack, feed boy toast which he mainly smears over already filthy window and then wonder at what to do with still awake child. By 4pm my little one has refused my attempt at him taking another little nap and decides to just make my life a misery with his incessant requests for a carry everywhere (he loved walking a month ago). I call insurance company and tell my long, sad story to another agent who promises to “get to the bottom of this”. I go back to distracting my toddler with water and start filling up the paddling pool. Whilst I am doing this I find out why I have a ridiculous fear of wasps. Because when you stand on one they sting and it HURTS!
I hop around the garden a lot with a lovely little girl telling me it will be alright and an entirely unsympathetic little boy screaming at me to be carried. I apply ice to sting whilst cuddling upset boy. Another call with the insurance company to find out over the screaming of my baby that they have no idea where the courier is.
Get through dinner, and little boy cheers up. Just in time for daddy coming home and I get to ring the insurance company one last time and speak with another agent so I get to tell me really long sad story once again. I get informed that the courier will not be appearing so Monday it is and it may be that I have to take another trip to the re-opened Chirstchurch branch. I mention that this is all very frustrating as I need to get work done and get informed that there will be a cap on the payment if the computer needs to be replaced as it is a “home office” computer. The fact that I haven’t been paid for any of this work is apparently irrelevant. The irony is that after this long, sad story there is a good chance it’s only the battery that is broken, the price of which will be below our excess so we won’t even make a claim anyways and we’ll just have to pay $200 dollars for the nightmare that has been spilling water on my laptop (let it be a lesson to us all, don’t eat or drink whilst working….yeah right!)
Once daddy has eaten his dinner and I have finished with my last wholly dissatisfying call with the insurance company (which by the way I can’t even threaten to leave as insurance companies don’t want new home and contents clients from Christchurch because of the earthquakes so I should actually be thankful I have insurance at all!), I go for a bike ride. Which is very nice until a car of goth twenty somethings (seriously you really should have grown out of dressing like dead people by now) drive by and make a rude gesture at me! I shudder at the thought that one of my children might decide to take that route – please God no.
I get home to children in bed and husband doing washing up. I take a shower, pour myself a bourbon and coke and switch on Graham Norton from about four weeks ago. Okay so I lost on many levels today but I’m not sulking and we’ve made a plan to conquer next week. I will live to win another day.