I was asked if I was a stay at home mum today.
Erm yes I suppose I am. Particularly as we’ve been in lockdown without any external support – I’ve been staying at home and I am a mum
I also have a business I’m running at the same time. I blooming hate the word mumpreneur though!
This is nothing against those who are stay at home mums, that is bloody hard job in my book, or those that are happily mumpreneurs. But personally that’s not what I choose. Though I suppose technically I am.
Work is a big part of my identity, and always has been. I’m ambitious.
I’m a mum and now that’s a big part of my identity and I do talk about my toddler alot. One of those mums! Ha. But its pretty all-consuming being a mum.
Being a mum, yeah it is pretty ace but also the fucking hardest job ever.
And oh housework and cooking – I feel like I am just not designed to ‘keep’ a house. I feel quite overwhelmed trying to do it all, cook, clean, tidy after a toddler – even to a bare minimum standard! I can enjoy parts of it at times with a podcast playing its pretty chill but the ‘space’ for that I struggle to find mostly. I’m probably on social media too much right?!
So I got a cleaner earlier this year for the first time. I have grown up with my mum doing it all and so has my husband (though he did help out at home) so it was actually a big decision outside our norm to get external help in. Ah it was the best thing ever. It wasn’t the magic bullet and I still wasn’t on top of things but it helped loads.
I also got a tonne of help from my mum and mum in law too! So much. From childcare to when they pop over they’ll start doing the dishes or something. And they would cook for us often too!
Lockdown has been particularly hard because all that *evaporated* along with nursery.
My husband was home more. He did do alot more, especially with our toddler. It was really hard at the beginning but their relationship has got much stronger. Over time, I could work more too. And I accepted times I had to work less. The house stuff we’ve muddled on. We’ve also argued along the way.
Some of that external help is coming back now and I’ve recently got some support in my business to take the pressure off 😅
But I’m still tired and behind and overwhelmed.
I recently read an article by Denise Duffield-Thomas (a successful entrepreneur and mum) – she shared she has a team of women who support her from cleaning, childminding to housekeeping so she is freed up to work on her business but also spend quality time with her kids, and ditch the mental load of keeping a house.
This sounds like the dream to me!
But til that dream is realised it’s hard, and it’s been harder in lockdown and it’s not done yet just because lockdown is easing!
For me personally, it actually means my husband is working out of the home more so that means another phase to adjust to. We’re also planning to get my three year-old back into nursery part time and potentially get some grandparents support again- but the risk balance is still a worry and it’s hard to know what to do for the best
Saying all of this, I know my lockdown story has been a bazillion times easier than other women because I have my own business where I have flexibility, and because my husband was often home and not working, and because I actually like being home (sometimes too much and it makes me a recluse).
A big part of my lockdown story has been showing up and being connected with other actual real life adult humans in my communities – the Fierce Project Management Tribe and I even created the Fierce Project Management Movement, our membership community, fuelled to create connection amidst the de-connection of the social distancing. It’s my superpower to hold safe spaces where we can have the real fierce talk and genuinely connect. I do much better holding space for those conversations then I do the housework- but the reality is THIS is also the fierce talk that needs to happen, because I’m not alone in this struggle. And I know so many have it harder right now.
It’s not just my story, one of the biggest challenges for gender equality especially in lockdown and post lockdown has been that the outsourcing of childcare and domestic responsibility suddenly evaporated. That’s led to more mental health challenges . It’s also led to women being sidelined, choosing to leave or reduce their work, or somehow struggling to do it all. It’s not the only root-cause to the backwards steps of gender inequality happening but its a big one.
This blog to say you are not alone. It’s fucking hard. You are amazing.