As we near the end of the school year, I have found myself reflecting on how this first year has gone with having both the girls in school. It seems only like yesterday we were getting our youngest ready for the first walk through the school gates with her big sister. They have both grown so much in the past year, physically and emotionally, as have we as parents.
Now I’m going to admit something here, I am terrible at accepting help! I can’t even take a compliment without blushing and quickly changing the conversation away from me. I am also fiercely independent (sorry hubby from your stubbornly independent wife as I know this isn’t easy to live with, love you!) But being a working mum, with a hubby who works shifts, managing school hours, the many after school clubs and the two mini social diaries that are always full of parties and play dates, I have learnt a big but valuable lesson this last year.
And what is this lesson? Ask for and accept help from many different places. I would like to think I am Superwoman, and can do absolutely everything, but my sanity and stress levels have been telling me I can’t!
So what I wanted to share with you is how I have learnt to manage this and how to help others that are in the same situation as us.
I have an understanding emoployer who lets me start work at 9.30 am so I can do the school run. The downside is that I have to work until 5.30 pm 4 days a week to make sure I hit my hours,. We are very lucky that the girls grandparents live close and can pick the girls up from school when we are both working. The girls do love their time with their grandparents. Not so sure about them though, especially when having to deal with a very tired, teasy and stubborn (now where does she get that from!) 4/5 year old who is getting used to long days learning at school!
Like I said earlier, I am crap at accepting help, I am also crap at asking for help. But this last year has taught me to swallow that pride and just send that text or make that phone call and ask for help. When I started doing this I came out of my little stubbon independent bubble and realised how everyone else has there own problems managing work and kids.
The other parents have really helped us out when we have been stuck – like when I can’t quite make it to take the eldest to a drama rehearsal, or the hubby’s shifts have changed last minute and I can’t get out of work and a lovely parent has taken the girls back to theirs for half an hour. And I certainly couldn’t have let my eldest do gymnastics and choir on the same night if it wasn’t for the help of a lovely mummy who picks her daughter and mine up from choir practice and runs them to gym. I then repay the favour by picking the girls up on my way home from work.
And I will never forget the help of another lovely mummy who when I was laid up after a small operation went and picked up my eldest from school after I got ‘that’ phone call saying she wasn’t well and needed picking up now. Hubby could not leave work but one call to this great friend and my eldest was deposited on my doorstep and spent the day with me on the sofa.
And as I can’t just take, because that doesn’t sit right with me, I have to give back. So we regularly help a family up the road most mornings by having their daughter over before school so her mum can get there eldest to school on time and she can make it to her job on time. We also help out friends who run a restaurant by bringing back their eldest from swimming lessons so his Mum can help his Dad out when they are let down by staff.
So, if you are a working mum, with the pride of a lioness like me, trying to spin a 100 plates at the same time, swallow that pride a little and ask for help. Give yourself some breathing space, and hopefully try and ease up on the stress that comes with running busy family life.
And if you find yourself in the position to help out a fellow struggling mummy by helping with school runs, or even offering to take their offspring home for a play date, do it. That mummy will love you for it, and help her to keep spinning all those plates.
Lets get organised – and help each other out!