This week is not going well in my household. My husband is overseas for work and both of my young daughters have come down with a horrible cold and coughing virus.
There has not been much sleeping happening at night time and emotions have been a bit raw as a result during the day.
For the last two days I have stayed home and looked after my youngest who was at home. This morning my eldest has got worse and is staying home from school too.
I however, was returning to work, and our nanny is with the girls.
On waking this morning, my very tired, snotty and grumpy 5 year old told me that she needed me to stay home. When I explained that I was going back to work and our nanny would be looking after her she was not happy.
“But mummy, how can you go to work and leave us at home when we are not feeling well? We need you to be here to look after us.”
I admit it is a tough one. Despite having been a full time working mum for over 2 years now, and having had many business trips of up to 2 weeks away from the family, when I see a sad face or hear a plea not to leave them, I find it very difficult to walk away.
This morning, I got down on the floor with my distraught first born and explained that if I really thought they needed me to stay home then I would. I told her that I had already spent two days at home this week and had moved all my meetings and appointments to later in the week, so now I had to go and see all these people.
I told her that we almost always feel worse when we first wake up and that after breakfast and a shower she would almost definitely feel better. I made her a promise that if she did not and she still wanted me to stay home then I would.
As predicted, by the time our nanny arrived and I was ready to leave, all was calm again. Both girls had done a little yoga session and were fed and feeling a bit better.
There was no more mention of me staying home, so my departure was as easy as on a normal morning.
It did get me thinking about the many conversations I have had with my children about why I work. I have always thought it was important that they had an understanding at their own level of why I am a working mum. We have had these conversations casually and formally since the day I went back to full time work.
About 12 months ago, our nanny overheard a conversation between my then four year old and her best friend in our house. At the time I was away on a work trip. It went something like this:
“Why is your mummy away so much? Why do you have to have someone else looking after you instead of your mummy?”
“My mummy is just like my daddy. They both went to University together and worked hard to make sure that they had good jobs that they liked. They both enjoy working and make sure that they spend plenty of time working and plenty of time with us as a family. She also works so that she has enough money to buy me lots of presents and all the toys in the world.”
“Mmmmm- maybe my mummy should work more too!”
Despite the fact that on the odd occasion one or both of my children will now have a wobble and ask me to stay home, I like to think that because we have had these honest and open discussions about having two working parents, that actually it is just the norm to our children.
In our household, we all know who goes where on which days and that there will always be at least one parent there for breakfast and bedtime.
Whether my children decide to follow the path that I have chosen later in their lives, or whether they decide to do something completely different I know that I have shown them that it is possible to be a working mum and also be a very present and loving mummy too.
Can you relate with this? How do you balance your family and work lives? Please SHARE with us below.