I have been struck down by the flu last week. For the first time in a very long time, I had to stay in bed for two consecutive days, unable to look after little L. Suddenly, 20 months after becoming a mother, it hit home: there’s no one I can call to tell them I am not coming to work. And you know what? It really sucks.
It’s not only that I had to literally beg my husband to come home and look after little L, I also realised with despondency that after I convinced my better half to take over my job for one and a half days, it’s only been partially done. Sure, little L was well and alive, fed, bathed and entertained. But once on my legs again, I was faced with the mother of all laundry piles and bits and pieces of general mess were taking over the house. I wrenched my head in my hands and tried really hard to remember – when exactly did I sign up for that job?
And then it dawned on me: it must have been when I chose to be the only person who decided what’s for dinner. At the same time I must have volunteered for the role of present-organiser (in-laws included, of course), childcare-outsorter, fridge-filler, vaccination-arranger, dry-clean-up-picker, Christmas-card-writer, tree-buyer, tree-decorator, utility-bill-payer, gardener, …
I must have been drunk, drugged and completely out of my mind.
Contemplating to take on more paid work (yes, I consider both writing a novel and looking after my daughter work) in the near future, I wonder what would happen to all these tasks. They are not going to evaporate, that’s for sure. Am I going to be stuck with them forever? Tell me, working mums, how do you divide the chores? And how on earth do you manage with more than one child?
More work would also mean more childcare for little L. Which instantly comes with a huge pang of guilt for me. Somebody please explain to me why I feel guilty at the mere thought of sending her another day to nursery. Why don’t men feel guilty about little ones in childcare?
To be fair, my husband is far more relaxed about a lot of things around the house. Squeaky clean is my requirement, not his. Actually, he is more relaxed about a lot of things. Also, as an entrepreneur he can’t really do the 9 to 5 thing. Still, I am a bit disappointed by how things turned out to be. I had always thought of myself as an independent woman, free to choose what she wants to do with her life. So why do I feel like caught in an episode of Mad Men?