Life admin. We all have to do it but when you become a parent it gets multiplied by the number of children you have and if you don’t stay organised, it’s easy to end up drowning in it.. I’ve also noticed some mothers take on their husband/partner’s life admin too. Personally I refuse to do that. This means that my in laws rarely get birthday cards and my husband hasn’t been to the dentist since he left home but, you know, I have to draw the line somewhere. Here’s my job description as household PA, all the mum life admin I do in addition to Motherhood and attempting to earn a living.
You’d imagine that by 8, my son would be taking some responsibility for his own personal hygiene. Not so. Ensuring that he doesn’t go out stinking to high heaven is still part of my mum life admin. It involves me reminding him multiple times to get in the shower. I also have to listen at the door to make sure he is actually brushing his teeth as opposed to holding the toothbrush and staring into space.
Children need to see the dentist, the optician and from time to time the Doctor. First I have to make these appointments. I can tell you that the dentist’s receptionist is less than impressed when you phone up and say I’d like an appointment for two children but the only time we can do is on a Monday at 5pm between swimming and cubs.
Next I have to get them there. First I have to deal with the “Who’s turn is it to sit in the front” argument (I never have any idea). Then I have to fight my way through the after school traffic only to arrive late and be glared at by the receptionist.
I’m lucky that, most of the time I don’t need any childcare. Then the summer holidays arrive. While my work is flexible I can’t actually take 6 weeks off. My youngest isn’t keen on holiday camps and the like and will only go if she can stay with her brother. You can imagine how he loves that. I spend ages researching suitable camps that allow 6 and 8 year olds to stay together. These are few and far between so it takes up a lot of mum life admin hours.
This is the most high pressure bit of mum life admin. If I drop the ball, the consequence is likely to be a heart broken child. I experienced this first hand when I completely forgot I was supposed to be at Boy Child’s school to taste the chocolate bar he’d made. I wasn’t even doing anything, I just totally forgot until I was walking out of the door for pick up. I’m not sure who cried more, me or him.
This part of my role also incorporates taxi driver (see the issues highlighted in the appointments section). I’ve put limits on how many activities we do (Boy Child would do everything if I let him). Even then, we still only have two days a week where I don’t have to make sure they are in the right place, at the right time, with the right stuff.
Making Holidays/Days out Happen
Chris openly admits that, without me, they’d just stay home all the time (or end up in the pub with the soft play). I spend ages researching things for us to do, places to visit and the cheapest holidays. Woe betide anyone who complains.
I have to make these happen too. Don’t get me wrong, the children have plenty of ideas. It’s just that I have to rein them back to reality and try and find ways to make their ideas affordable. Not to mention dealing with booking it, invites (just bloody RSVP people!), cake, party bags and refereeing the fight that breaks out over who ate the last chocolate spread sandwich.
I also have to deal with the admin of all the parties the children attend. This is one of my least favourite parts of mum life admin That means RSVPing (ALWAYS and in good time!), buying a present, cajoling the child into writing the card, making sure the child looks presentable (Girl Child likes to go in a football kit and Boy Child lives in jogging bottoms), arranging childcare for the uninvited child and getting them there as well as getting the other child to the party.
And that’s not all…
I also have to buy the food, plan the meals, make the packed lunches, write in the reading diaries, get the children to do their homework, make sure the right clothes are clean and make sure everyone has taken their vitamins. If you add in all of the worrying we do and time we spend trying to assuage that worry, this post would go on forever. I quite often have to do a “brain dump” (an excellent tactic if you’re feeling overwhelmed) in order to cope with all my mum life admin.
In my case some of this is my fault. I can be a bit of a control freak and actually would really dislike it if Chris wanted to take over planning the holidays. He also tries to help with things like the personal hygiene issue but with the best will in the world, I’m here more than him so most of it will always fall and me and I suspect it’s the same for most Mums. Just remember to include all these great skills on your CV. I bet there are loads of bosses out there that could do with a few reminders about personal hygiene.