It seems like time is flying by and I am missing out on so much with my little girl! I sometimes wonder if I am giving up more than I should, or am I giving the best I can, by being a working mum.
Every day it’s the same routine. We wake up, I get her to eat brekky. We have a chat and a laugh. I am the only one who can do her hair (her orders). I love it. I love that she wants me to be the one to do it. It may be silly, and some might wonder how braiding her hair be so fulfilling. I guess for me it is. I find myself looking up hair braids, pretty little hair ties – looking forward to having those few minutes of quality time before she sets off to school.
Once she’s left, it’s a coffee for me and I am off to bring home the big bucks. That’s what I say to her. Every now and then, I feel a pang of guilt when the dreaded, “Mummy, why can’t you drop and pick me up like the other mummys?” or “Why can’t we go to play group?” I feel a sudden rush of tears to the eyes that I quickly brush off, as if a bit of dust has invaded my eye space and then sit down with her to have “the chat.”
“Baby girl, if Mummy didn’t work, well maybe we couldn’t afford to have you in that awesome school. And maybe you wouldn’t be able to go to ballet and swimming classes. And maybe we wouldn’t have such awesome family trips together.”
I look at her wondering if she is thinking the same thing: “Mummy, maybe I don’t want all of that. Maybe I just want to spend time with you and we don’t need the ballet classes because we could play dress up and dance in my room. Or maybe I wouldn’t need a swimming class because I would pick it up while we messed about in the pool!”
She looks at me as if she can read my mind, but changes the topic very quickly. “Mummy, do you know how to write a number five?”
As my day progresses, I look at my desk and her pretty little drawings and her smiling photo, and the day dreaming begins. This evening, I will get home and maybe we can spend our time drawing, coloring, reading books. I think of the weekend and wonder what could we do as a family.
I think of what she is doing at class – how she must be sitting around with her friends, having a laugh. I wonder if she has had her snack. Has she had enough water?
The ringing phone drags me away from my thoughts as work beckons. Soon it’s lunch time and again I am thinking, Has she eaten her break? I wonder what she’s up to.
Soon it’s home time for her and my heart breaks thinking of her getting on the bus. She often talks about a little girl she sits with on the bus. I imagine her sitting there, waiting to get home – or is she? Maybe she prefers school. She has friends. People to talk to her. At home there’s the nanny.
She sits down for a brief period of time, but then gets up to continue with tea or dinner. There sits Li’l Miss at the kitchen table, her eyes glued to her iPad.
She sometimes walks off, brings back some colored pens and gets to drawing a picture of her family – Dad, Mum, herself, the dogs, the nanny. But it doesn’t end there. Two more stick figures are added in – her make-believe brother and sister! Heart wrenching!
A selfish mother, I chose to not have my second child when my husband wanted to. I had my reasons. Financially, we were not ready; not at all. My thought process was to give the one we had the best life she could have. Today I am paying the price for it – a husband who sometimes doesn’t think we need another child either, and a child who has imaginary siblings. I am now the mother who stakes out the neighborhood on the weekends hoping to find some children for my daughter to have play time with. She could have had a sister, a brother, maybe both even. But no. I let reality get the better of me.
People say that when you have a child you will find the means to provide for them. I wish I had followed that theory, but we live in a world where the fact remains: money buys things – necessities. There’s only so long you can live on love and fresh air.
I get home from work to see her beautiful smiling face staring at me. She smells so fresh and clean and her hair is combed. It’s a shame that I haven’t played any part in that either.
I drop my bags and engulf her in a giant hug. She looks up and says, “Mummy, what did you buy me?” Yes, I am one of those. I compensate for my lack of ‘mummy time’ by indulging her in little supermarket treats. Mind you, not anything too extravagant – a Kinder egg here, a pack of trashies there. As she takes her treat from me, her little hand grabs a hold of mine and she pulls me over to the dining table to sit with her and have a little play.
I am distracted, trying to get her dinner on the table whilst playing with her new-found toy. I finally sit down, but am I all there? No. My mind’s thinking, “Hmm … what can she have for her snack tomorrow? I hope her uniform is ready. I must take a peek at her calendar. Does she have a library book to return?”
I quickly turn to her. Trying to concentrate, I see her sad face as she aimlessly plays by herself. I attempt to get in there and make up for lost time, but the moment has passed. I start questioning her on her day, and again her eyes light up. She soaks up the attention, smiling and telling me about school and her day. I try hard to keep my attention on her. So much going on in my head: work, targets, bills, due dates ….
She finishes her dinner and we chat for a bit more. Her dad has come home. He gets a big cuddle and then rushes off to shower and change. I am still sitting there in my work clothes, still trying my best to be Supermom.
Before I know it, bedtime has crept up on us. We do a quick toilet run and jump into bed. I notice that she always says, “Mummy, read me two stories!” At five minutes a story, I guess that’s 10 uninterrupted minutes with Mummy. I lay down next to her and start reading, taking my time. A five-minute story has now become 10 or more minutes with all the questions and giggles in between, but I don’t mind.
I smile quietly making up bits and pieces of the story. Part of me doesn’t want it to end either. My head is clear, and suddenly I feel so at peace. I turn around and look at her face, her eyes closed, her light snoring, her tiny hand around my neck.
I realize that it’s all worth it! I don’t have to beat myself up for not being there for my little girl! I don’t have to feel guilty. I am doing my best to be the best I can be for her!
I may not be there all day. I may not pick her up from school. I may not always be involved. But she knows, at the end of the day, that my thoughts are always of her, and I will always be there to give her that big hug, to read her that story, to protect her, and to be her mummy!
I may not be a stay-at-home mom, but I to her I am a Supermom!