I’d wake at 445am, tip-toe into the bathroom, close the door and turn the light on. I’d left my clothes on the counter the night before, all ready to slip on after a quick shower. All that was left to do, if I wasn’t running late, was to put my face on and I’d be on my way. If I was running late, my face was applied in the car and I’d get to the airport with minutes to spare. I’d park in my regular spot, walk at a swift pace across the bridge, down the stairs, through the express security line and down the boarding ramp as they called the last remaining passengers.
I had it down to a science. A perfect, punctual science that repeated itself almost every week of the year. From MEL to SYD in 1 hour, 25 minutes. I’d race around Sydney, usually with a colleague, pulling my pencil skirt down as we went. Wedges made it easier to run, which was always needed as the Sydney traffic was usually terrible and we were always late for meetings. We knew where the good coffees were, around every point in Sydney and all of the surrounding suburbs. Beautiful sandwiches in Stanley Street. Great sushi in Kent Street. Fruity green juices in Crown St. Sydney was my second home and one I left my kids for every week.
I’d race home to try to put Spencer to bed and if I was lucky we’d have a meeting cancel, get on an early flight and I’d be home in time. If I wasn’t, I’d sometimes miss his bedtime. But it was the trade-off and one I was happy to live with. I worked hard, was good at what I did and I was rewarded for it. A good salary gave us comforts many never had. I never really suffered from too much mum-guilt, because I felt like I gave my kids the most I had when I was with them and they saw me work hard. I did the working mum gig well.
Fast forward 4 years, and I wake at 750am to sounds of Oliver making his own breakfast downstairs. As a crappy eater, he is ravenous in the morning and has worked out how to make his own Weetbix (not hard!) and before our eye lids are open, he’s scoffed 8 Weetbix and has a full happy tummy. I hear sounds from Charlie’s room and so has Olly, who has gone in to get him out of bed. Well trained bunch, I think to myself.
I stumble out of bed, shower and put some clothes on that won’t offend at school (others nor my kids). I closed my store a couple of months ago, so have taken full-time mum on for the first time in my life. Well, I should say, full -time mum, no other job for the first time in my life. Frankly, I think I suck at it. Or maybe I should say, I need some training at it. It ain’t easy and I’m working hard to improve my domestic skills, one muffin at a time.
When we were both juggling our own businesses, Rob & I divided the household tasks on the fly, on a daily & weekly basis. “I’ve taken the chicken out” he’d holler as he left the door, knowing I wasn’t the best at remembering dinner. A mid-morning call would discuss who’s picking who up after school, what we were doing with the chicken and where Charlie was at. We worked out a little system that worked most days and I was so lucky to have a helpful, hands-on husband. I was spoiled and still am, but I’ve had to get use to a slightly new way of operating the household. Me at home, Rob at work. Shit, did I sign up for this!?
You see, I haven’t slid into the domestic role daintily, still get a cleaner every 2 weeks, scramble to get out the door in the morning & forget to cook dinner some nights. At 5pm some days, I look around and think ‘Who’s making dinner and what are we having’ only to have it dawn on me that that’s me and maybe it’s going to be eggs. Again.
I realise that this new role might take some getting use to, as it doesn’t come with a training manual. What I’ve been doing for 15 years, has suddenly changed and my role as wife & mum has also changed. I’m also realising that I love some aspects of it and others less-so. Some things I’m good at, others not so much. I guess like any new job, they cut you a bit of slack until you learn the ropes however this new job isn’t technically new, it’s being a mum. Hmm, hopefully they don’t have me on a probationary period of 3 months. That’ll be up at the end of June.
And so the program will change again, when we get to France and find a new groove, new routine and new roles. Truthfully, I am looking forward to learning how to ‘do less’, not worry about as much, to enjoy our surrounds and just get to know each other better. Sounds cheesy huh? Well it’s a bit of a romantic view of how life will be, but I know that this life we’re creating is one we’ve worked hard for. All those trips to Sydney and sacrifices we made are making this trip possible.
Will I turn into a domestic goddess. Unlikely. Will I still rely on hubby taking out the chicken? You bet. But I’m hopeful that I do have time to bake with Charlie, play games with my boys, walk with my husband. I’ll get to write the job description for my version of full-time mum and I can’t wait to see what that looks like.
Creating a life worth living and one we’re proud about, one we won’t regret is something available to all of us. We’ve just taken the somewhat extreme approach and hit STOP on the treadmill that was running too fast, to tip toe down the cobblestones just a little bit slower. Now Julia Childs, you better just watch out!