Stay at home Mum vs Working Dad

Some people say I’m very lucky that I don’t work. I do have the good fortune to, errr, do the school run every day and be here for my kids 24/7 but it’s not necessarily by choice.

You see childcare is so very expensive. My children are young and not only would putting them in childcare cost over �1000 a month, I would have to cover school holidays too. Since we have no family nearby this would be a huge expense, unless I could get the golden ticket of all jobs which pays well and is term-time only. I would love to have my own money, some adult conversation plus an identity separate from my children but it’s just not financially viable – and believe me, I’ve done the maths.

I really admire mums who work full or part time and still manage a crazy household. Actually I don’t just admire them, I envy them. In my eyes, they are Wonderwoman where I am, in fact, Blunderwoman. It’s really tough when your day is just a big ol’ groundhog of motherhood. Now some of you out there enjoy this and I take a big hat off to you because sometimes I don’t. My husband has suggested helpfully that I get a night job at Aldi. Which is very sweet even though he didn’t even mention John Lewis or Waitrose? A night job would basically mean that the Groundhog Day would remain exactly the same but the sleep bit would be replaced with go out to work. (Note: I know a couple of fantastic mums who do this and they are truly wonderful - far better creatures than I ever hope to be and definitely less selfish). Anyway, my husband says I am making excuses because I always come up with reasons like what if the children are ill which he says is rubbish but funny how the answer to these hypothetical situations is always ME.

It’s a discussion we have regularly – it’s The Battle Of The Stay At Home Mum Versus The Working Dad. However, this week I have had an epiphany which goes something like this: Our jobs are EXACTLY THE SAME. And here’s why:

NEGOTIATION: My husband does a lot of this and is very good at it. I am not so good but he should try negotiating with our tomboy daughter who wants to wear football boots to school. He should attempt to persuade our son that it’s not the worst day ever because he’s had three parties, ate sweets and been bought a toy. And I bet my husband wouldn’t be so skilful when negotiating with a toddler who is determined to microwave a can of Diet Coke.


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TIME MANAGEMENT: My husband isn’t so great at this but he is amazing at covering up his time management fails. He invents the weirdest and most wonderful excuses for being late that everyone else ends up apologising for being on time. I always get to school before the bell goes without forgetting a bag or a child. I am in Starbucks at the precise time I’m craving coffee. I am mostly on time for New Look when I need a frock. The children are always asleep so I’m prompt for Desperate Housewives.

MEETINGS & POWER LUNCHES: My husband never has a meeting less than three hours long just so he can repeat the words “Sustainable” and “Creative Destruction” and eat a fancy lunch. However he has never experienced a meeting/power lunch like two adults and three toddlers in a caf� where the food is taking over an hour and they’ve run out of kiddie packs. I can use the phrase “Creative Destruction” in a much more appropriate way.

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PRIORITISING: Does he work on a budget, client proposal or PowerPoint presentation? Do I wash up, empty the dryer or read Grazia?

STRESS: So okay, I understand that a commute plus a team of a million people under his great guidance plus a home life of three crazy kids and a moaning mum does constitute an amount of stress. He can, however, still pop out for a sarnie or take a phone call without interruption, indeed exercise some freewill. I, on the other hand, have to plan and implement an entire Military Operation just to go for a wee.

COMMUNICATION: My husband must be utterly contactable at all times. If he is not then there is likely to be a natural disaster. This is pretty much the same for me. Texting, phoning, email, tweeting are essential vitamins for my daily communication diet…plus chatting with three kids who never ever shut up.

Oh if only the job of motherhood was paid. If it came with a healthy six figure salary, a bonus childminder, work uniform of Gucci, lunch hour at Prezzo, never ending supply of reality TV shows and occasional overseas travel. Mind you, if the job of motherhood was advertised, I probably wouldn’t even have got to interview stage.

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