I’ve heard the saying “being a mum is a full-time job”, but, for me as a new mum over 40, it’s actually closer to being two-and-a-half full-time jobs.
Even in my “free time”, I tend to fill it with tasks; and of course, the weekends are just as busy as the week days. I get just two hours and 30 minutes of “me time” per week, which I spend in the gym trying to stay fit and healthy.
With it being International Women’s Day today (March 8th), which celebrates the achievements of ladies across the world, I have decided to put my news-ticker to-do list on pause and share my ‘every day’ story with you – because it helps to know I’m not navigating this path alone.
After no more than six hours of uninterrupted zzz’s, having been woken at least once through the night by Cyrus, my alarm goes off. While I’m still lying in bed, I check the top headlines on Feedly, then scroll through my work Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.
While I get ready, I ponder about straightening my hair, but instead I just scrape it back off my face and read my Google alerts instead. I search for certain terms like my employer’s company name, competitor updates, “PR updates” as well as other more sector specific searches to stay current on any news that could spark a story for us or help in a meeting. I wash quickly before plastering on a bit of war paint.
I nudge two-and-a-half-year-old Cyrus who is all tucked up in bed fast asleep. He needs a bit of time to wake up, move at his own pace and his nappy changed. I know mums (and dads) up and down the country will be doing the same routine, at the same time, but sometimes my mornings blur together. I grab his clothes that I laid out the night before, one teddy, two furry bunnies, three nappies and an empty bottle of milk under one arm, and carry him down the stairs swaddled in his blanket with the other.
Mr Tumble is on the TV. There are crumpets, an apple, fresh bottle of milk and a bowl of pecans, Brazil nuts and almonds on the table. He’s set. It’s a fast and easy breakfast that doesn’t take long to prepare while I pack lunch (and vitamins) for me and H. I then pack C’s backpack for the day ahead while glancing at the time and then at my Wunderlist app to ensure I have remembered everything. I have just remembered that I had poured myself a cup of coffee – I drink it, cold. I then help little C get dressed. Some days he can get really cranky getting his shoes and socks on. H leaves for work before me.
Postman Pat ends on CBeebies. That’s my cue to get out of the door and hit the road! I walk to the nursery daily to drop C off as that gives me time to have another cuppa and the fresh air helps clear my head.
Nursery opens – by which time C or one of his chums has usually had some sort of meltdown in front of the other parents. It’s then fast and furious as to who can get in and out of the door the fastest.
I wait for the bus to take me on my 40-minute journey to work. I sometimes fill my brows in on the bus as we’re on a pretty tight timeline in a morning. Mostly though I scroll through LinkedIn at the back of the bus, check and respond to work emails and fire off some Tweets.
I arrive at work and even though I have prepped everything I can, I’m exhausted so my breakfast typically consists of a four-shot Starbucks latte at my desk. I check Buffer for social data and Tweetdeck for anyone vying for attention in the mentions.
Next, I read over one of the signed off Press releases that needs to go out today and check for typos. Once it’s ready I schedule it to go out to media and start calling the reporters I know are most likely to cover it.
Typically our team comes together for a “scrum” or huddle one morning a week. Each member of the team has their own projects they are working on, but there’s always a lot of overlap that calls for collaboration. The goal of our meeting is to give an update so we can prioritise pressing projects.
By now I am well into a feature I am writing and which I am collaborating with clients on. One of my professional goals I have set myself is to write at least three Press releases a week, in addition to whatever else is on my plate. I aim to get the first draft of the feature on my boss’s desk by noon. I also do some digging online for content around the topic.
A colleague in my team has copy they need editing. I edit for clarity and sprinkle in a few full-stops to make the sentences shorter. I get my second cup of coffee in and start on my highest priority assignments. It’s a juggling act, for sure – but the only thing I hate about my job is having to spend so long starring at a screen!
Sometimes I go to the Quayside to clear my head, call H, or meet up with a former agency colleague of mine. I also call the doctor to repeat prescriptions or make appointments.
My boss is done with the first draft of one of my Press releases, and has made notes. But that’s what I like. Having a boss who challenges you is actually more rewarding at times! That afternoon I send a revised version of the draft back across.
After a forward planning meeting with a couple of teams, I check our social media feeds for anyone who has come back into our mentions and answer emails. The nursery calls. C has had a bump on the head, but nothing to worry about. They send me on a picture via my phone to allay my fears. I then get a text to tell me that someone in his room has come down with chicken-pox.
I make some notes on aspirational projects which I think my company should consider. I’ll then plan them out when I have more time.
I am out of the door just after 5pm after re-organising my to-do list on the Wunderlist app. I set a few reminders in my calendars for award evenings and marketing events. H is picking C up tonight so I don’t have to rush. On the bus I use LinkedIn to read all the updates from our clients and my former clients and comment via my personal feed where appropriate.
I’m still on the bus. It’s packed, but only another 15 mins until home. I call my dad to check how he is and see if he needs anything – not that he will tell me as he’s so … independent.
I open the door and little C comes running to the door shouting “mummy” – my heart melts as I ask him “have you had a lovely day?” I can see he’s exhausted and so is H. H has cooked tea, so we sit down to eat in the dining room before a quick overseas Skype session, then I take C upstairs for a bath.
I find a party invite in his bag and fire off a quick text to one of the parents to let them know he will attend. I then ensure to add “boy’s gift” to my weekly shopping list on Wunderlist. I wash the dishes, before taking C to bed for his ritual bedtime story. Peppa Pig it is … again for the third time this week.
Even though I am exhausted at the end of each working day and want to crash when C goes to bed, I force myself to prep for the day ahead before a quick soak in the bath. I have 20 minutes to reflect on the combination of work and motherhood. My lifesavers after this come in the shape of Netflix and a bar of dark chocolate.
It’s been a day of never-ending tasks and my routine works 99% of the time, as long as no one is ill and there are no uncontrollable surprises. It’s clear just how demanding being a working mum can be. I go to bed – but my notepad and pen are next to my bed in case any bright ideas come to mind in the early hours. Tomorrow is another day.