All in a day’s work

I have always wondered what it would be like not to work. I have literally not stopped since university. I never had maternity leave (I was making calls from my hospital bed) and although I worked from home for a long time in France, I had at least three jobs at any given time.

The first thing I have noticed is how quickly the days go now. I thought I would have so much time and instead I seem to have almost less. Never again will I look askance at mothers who don’t work and secretly think they should get on with something useful rather than grumbling about their husbands. When you don’t work, there is a world of stuff to keep you busy. I was “let go” over three weeks ago, that’s almost my entire annual holiday, and I haven’t even noticed it go.
Lunch, for example, keeps me busy. This week I have truly been a lady who lunches, with lunches every day. Tomorrow I have one that is work related (more on that if it comes to anything), but thus far I have been lunching with other ladies who lunch. It’s been a bit of a learning curve. First of all I had no idea lunch has to start early so that said ladies can get to school on time to pick up their children. So far since my release I have managed the school run a total of four times. I kid you not. I have been too busy doing other things to do the one thing a non-working mother should do. Happily Stanley has been on hand to collect them from school.
Of course once the kids are home there is no possibility of achieving anything much. The girls are revising for exams, then there are activities, piano practice and before you know it, it’s apero time.
And I haven’t even started on looking after the husband. This of course is now my main aim. No admin chore is too large, no trip downstairs to get a cup of tea too onerous. Seriously though, there has been an imperceptible shift. Basically anything to do with the kids or the household is my responsibility. At first I was slightly irritated, but it’s fair enough really. If one person earns all the money, the other one should look after things at home. One thing I used to loathe about non-working mothers was how they would make their working/commuting/stressed-out husbands take on as much at home as they did.

I feel a little bit like a perfect wife in Mad Men, a sort of ideal woman from another era, calmly running my household and making sure everyone in it is happy, well fed and well rested. To be honest, it’s not a bad job. And I do at least get on well with my bosses. Although I can see how it could turn one into a Stepford wife after a few months.

But, my 1950s alter ego might argue, what’s wrong with that….?

Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2012

9 thoughts on “All in a day’s work

  1. I don’t know if I should said good for you or what are you thinking. Yes being an stay at home mom is wonderful and yes I try to make my husband life very easy ( I don’t think he even knows where the kids dentist is) but then when you think you are on call 24 * 7, 365 days a year with no promotions or even positive feedback, it gets to you. It’s very strange because you love it and sometimes hate it at the same time. I hope nobody gets offended with this post. Everyone has to make the best of any given situation. And now I’m off to finish laundry

  2. I think it is probably easier here with someone to do the laundry for you, but I can totally see your point about the being on call 24/7, the children (and hubbie) are far more demanding than the office staff ever were. Promotion is a great idea, and how about bonuses?! I am not out to offend anyone, but merely showing how it feels to be on this side of things for once. And of course I am not serious about rushing up and down stairs with cups of tea….although to be honest if I don’t have the stress of the office then why not?

  3. By the way, is a good thing you are going to the lunchs, they are your ticket to adult conversation ther is just so much Justin Bieber or One direction that a mom can tolerate! And that’s when the kids are still talking to you. My husband travels a lot so my ladies that lunch keep me sharp on my talking to adults skills 🙂
    Maybe is different over there in one of your books you mentioned that the french don’t do the friend “thing” but here in Florida so far from my family (I’m from Mexico) they are my lifesavers!

  4. I am in Abu Dhabi now and for many (most) of us, our friends are our family, as we are all so far away from home. Happily have had more luck here than in France!

  5. I hadn’t read your blog in quite some time and am glad that you are happy with your redundancy.
    I too was out of work for a yr – due to illness – and it really is amazing how the day fills up and flies by.
    I am just back to work and am watching the clock tick by slowly where as at home i was panicking as the clock moved that I wouldn’t have some task done in time.
    All the best with your new role.

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