The Life and Times of a working Mother
Life as a working mother isn’t as easy as women make it seem. It’s even tougher if you’re a teacher. I would say that balancing home and work-place is a Herculean labour of love and round-the-clock duty. Here’s how I try to manage both family and employment.
Morning rush hours are punctuated by my shrill cries ringing around the whole house, “Osel and Yonten! Get into the bathroom, right now, ” and “Osel and Yonten! Get dressed fast, eat your breakfast, drink your milk,” and so on it goes.
Kids don’t make things easier for you. They will get into the bathroom and fight and then waste precious minutes crying instead of washing up. I tell myself, “I have to make it to work before the clock strikes 8.” But I’ ve also to make sure before that the kids get their breakfast and they’re all present and accounted for at class. In the process, I land up going to office on an empty stomach and make do with hot water until the lunch break.
Evening comes and the kids are all over Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Pogo. Cajoling them away from the television, and getting them to read and do their home work is not an easy task, especially when you’re exhausted from work. However, it really helps if you follow certain ground rules and routines set for them.
Added to all this is the stack of papers and note-books I bring home. Sometimes I have to take them back without even looking at them! People say, leave office work at the office. But for a teacher, that’s easier said than done. If we put off just one correction, they keep on piling up and then become even more impossible.
As if that was not enough- you come home tired, expecting a hot cup of tea to soothe your aching limbs, but once you’re home, you have to rush into the kitchen to make sure the maid’s kept everything neat and clean. You need to check if the rooms have been swept and the beds made. That the kid’s clothes are washed and their shoes polished. It may sound like a small fry to some ears, but to a mother these are real nitty-gritty of daily life.
The situation becomes worse if you have to go out for some work and come home late. Once I attended a meeting which took us through dinner and by the time i came back it was quite late. When I reached home, I found the place in an unholy mess. It was a real pell-mell situation. The bed was soaked in juices and the pillows were wet. Toys were strewn around every which way and, what’s worse the kids had scratched each other.
At bed time, no matter how tired I am, I have to read them a story; without which the kids will refuse to shut their eyes. Sometimes I am not able to do so and they get real sore at me.
At times, I get so stressed out that I even have to read up ‘The Guide for a Smart Working Mum‘ and ‘How to Tackle your Kids and Work’ and ‘Reduce your Stress Levels.’ Stuff like that.
This routines continues through the week. Which is why Sunday’s my fun day: the only time I get to sleep to my heart’s content. I ‘d like as well to pamper myself with my hobbies but then I ‘ll miss the Sunday market.
(Note: This article was written in 2006 at a time when my hubby was placed at a different work station, my kids were little and I was really struggling between work and them)