I work on Tuesdays. I don’t usually blog on Tuesdays. I have no time. I go from work to swimming lessons to my own dance lesson with barely chance to breathe.
But, look! It’s Tuesday. I am not working. I am blogging. But why?
Today my son has a hospital appointment about his peanut allergy. At 11.15. The hospital is ALWAYS running late – 10 minutes late is early, half an hour late is standard and an hour late is nothing unusual. I live 10 miles away from work. The work car park is a 15 minute walk from the office. You do the maths. There is absolutely no way I can fit in even a half day’s work at any point during today. And could I change his appointment to a more convenient time? Of course I couldn’t. Allergy clinic is Tuesday or nothing.
Last Tuesday I had to take a morning’s leave. For his violin exam. Again, I had no choice about the date or time and fitting it in with my life. It’s this date and this time. Take it or leave it.
Sometimes I wonder if I even have time to work at all.
If you are reading this and you have small children at nursery and you think that’s hard. I hate to tell you, but just you wait! It gets so much more complicated.
The school day is approximately 9am until 3pm, not the work-friendly 8am (or even earlier) until 6pm of the nursery day. There are school holidays – approximately 13 weeks of the year. And how much leave do most people get? Four weeks? Five? Six if they’re REALLY lucky – and I’m one of the lucky ones. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that there is a big un-filled gap there. Oh yes, there ARE holiday playschemes. But lots of them are only school hours too.
And this is before we even get to the meetings, school plays, sports days, assemblies, the school trips your child wants you to help out on… You feel guilty. Guilty for not being there for your childn and guilty for not being there in the office.
A few years back, a friend of mine with older children said ‘Your children need you more when they are older’. And clever old me who knows EVERYTHING thought ‘yeah right, of course they do’. But they do.
It’s a different kind of need of course. They don’t need you to change their nappies, spoon food into their mouths or dress them. But they need you to help with homework, they need you to go to the school plays, they need you to take them to rugby matches and hospital appointments and music exams.
And when you’ve got three of them, all in school, all with these needs, it really does get difficult to find the time to work.
So here I am, using up a valuable day’s leave, which should be to benefit all of my children, not just one, sat at home waiting to take my son to the hospital and wondering how I ever have time to work.