A day in the life of a working single mum
Before I started my business, I worked four days a week as a consultant in the city. Part of the reason why I started my business was because every day was a struggle logistically. I felt exhausted every single day, and had such little time with my daughter. It got easier as she got older, but when she was under two it was a real challenge for me. Here is a typical day in the life of a working single mum with a baby.
6:00am. The alarm goes off. Is it really morning time already? Nooooo. I’m just going to press Snooze. I need another 10 minutes. Thankfully my daughter is still asleep. I’m not surprised because she was awake half the night! All I want is sleeeeeeep!
6:10am. Press Snooze again.
6:20am. The alarm goes off. Damn it, I really do have to get up now. I turn the shower on and try to get out of my zombie state. I start to shampoo my hair and shortly after, hear crying. There goes my relaxing shower. I speed condition my hair and get out. Wrapping a towel around me, I run into my daughter’s room and pick her up out of her cot. After our morning cuddles I sit her up on my bed whilst I get dressed.
6:50am. I get my daughter dressed. It’s more like a wrestling match these days.
7:00am. I feed my daughter some Weet-Bix. They offer breakfast at a day care, but I already feel like I’m failing as a mum so I have to make sure I start the day off by giving her breakfast. I sit and do my makeup whilst I feed her.
7:15am. We are just about ready to run out the door. I go to wipe my daughter up and then she sneezes. A Weet-Bix sneeze. All over me. It is everywhere. I wipe half my makeup off whilst trying to clean it off my face and have to change my clothes.
7:25am. We are running 10 minutes late, argh! We’re going to get stuck in traffic now and it’s going to take us 20 minutes (instead of 10) to get to day-care. Attempt to get daughter in the car. She goes stiff as a board.
7:40am. I’m still trying to get her into the car. I’ve taken my jacket off and I am sweating. I cannot for the life of me bend my daughter to get her into the car seat. Try wedging my whole body and knee in but I still can’t get her in. She is screaming. I close the car door so she can’t hear me and scream “Fuuuuuuuck!!” Then I collapse into tears. A passer-by gives me a smirk and looks at me with one eye brow raised like she’s considering calling child protection and the future of my child rests in her hands. “Fuck you judgey” I want to shout at her. But I don’t. I take some deep breaths, compose myself and finally manage to get my daughter into the seat so I can do the seat-belt up.
8:00am. I am a mess. At the traffic lights I re-apply my makeup and deodorant. I realise I forgot to do my hair. It’s still in my post shower washed hair top knot. Great. Fumble through my bag and find a brush and manage to at least brush my wet hair.
8:10am. I run my daughter into day care. I give her a big cuddle and kiss, and rush back to my car.
8:17am. Approach the nearby train station in my car and pray for the universe to deliver a parking spot close by.
8:30am. Eventually find a parking spot. Run to the station. At least this gives my hair a chance to dry.
8:35am. Hooray! I made the 8:35am train. I try and get the 8:20am train usually, so it’s not too bad, though I’ll still be 15 minutes late.
8:40am. My 15 minutes of peace starts now. Write a shopping list for the way home and reply to a few personal emails.
8:45am. Ignore the horrible text message from my ex and recite some positive affirmations about how great it is being single.
8:50am. Run through the sad looking commuters in the Sydney CBD. I was supposed to be at work 5 minutes ago. Pray my boss isn’t in the Sydney office today.
8:58am. Get into the lift. I am thankful my hair has dried. It’s moments like this I am grateful for having such fine non-existent hair. Give it another brush to neaten it up.
9:00am. Walk into the office 15 minutes late. Try to ignore the feeling of being the last one in the office again. Feel like a failure and like I’m letting down the team. My boss has flown up from Melbourne and is in the office. Great.
9:01am. Get asked to see my boss.
“What do you think this is?” he asks. “A bank? We are engineers and WE START AT 8:45”.
“I know” I reply. “I am so sorry. I’ve had a really rough morning”.
“I don’t call a bad hair day a rough morning” he responds.
“My hair is the least of my concerns” I tell him and walk back to my desk.
9:05am. Make myself a coffee and sink into my seat to start the working day. I feel like I’ve already participated in an Olympic event, and it’s only just past 9:00am.
5:00pm. I am the first to leave work. Try to ignore the feeling of being a bludger. I have to leave right on time to get the 5:20pm train. I still have to pick up my dry cleaning and do a quick shop too.
5:10pm. I’ve got my dry cleaning and I run into Coles. Grab some milk, bread, bananas and nappies. At least the supermarket is at the station.
5:17pm. Run to my platform and just make the train. Phew.
5:20pm. Another 15 minutes of peace. I send a few work emails.
5:45pm. Get to my car. It’s dark and cold. I make a phone call and catch up with a friend during the quick drive.
5:55pm. Get to my daughter’s day care. They close at 6:00pm. My daughter is the last one there, just like every other day. Feel like a failure and like I’m letting my daughter down. But we are so happy to see each other.
6:00pm. My favourite part of the day – the brief 90 minutes that I have with my daughter before her bed time (which includes the 20 minute drive home).
6:05pm. Give my daughter a banana on the drive home. She is exhausted. Pray to the universe that she stays awake. Yesterday she fell asleep on the way home and she was out until the middle of the night when she woke up several times. Loudly play Giggle and Hoot music in the car and sing along to keep her awake.
6:25pm. Heat up the dinner I pre made for her on the weekend (#winning) and sit with her whilst she eats. I ask about her day and tell her about mine. She can’t talk much yet. But she looks interested nonetheless.
6:45pm. Pop her in the bath and perform a singing and dancing show for her.
6:55pm. Give the bathroom a speed clean whilst she’s in the bath.
7:05pm. Get her out of the bath, give her a massage, and then put her into her pyjamas.
7:20pm. Read books and have cuddles together.
7:30pm. Put her to bed.
7:40pm. Cook myself some dinner and put the washing machine on.
8:00pm. Relax and eat dinner whilst I watch some trashy television.
8:30pm. Wash the dishes, tidy the kitchen, hang the washing out, tidy up the toys lying around and put the bins out.
9:30pm. Do some work on the computer.
11:00pm. Sink into bed. Ready to do it all again tomorrow.
There you have it. Sounds pretty miserable doesn’t it? And for me it was. If this is your life now – it will get easier. It did get easier for me as my daughter got older but every minute was always accounted for. I look forward to the day where women do not feel guilty for leaving work right on time, and flexible work arrangements are more normal; this will make a huge difference in the happiness and well being of single mothers.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Are you thinking about leaving your partner but not sure how, or if you should?
- Have you already decided to leave your partner and need assistance to help you get the ball rolling?
- Have you just parted ways with your partner, and feeling lost?
- Have you been single for a little while now and need assistance with getting your life back on track and feeling empowered?
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The purpose of the Clarity Call is:
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OR, if you’d like to register your interest for one of the online courses, please fill out the form below. This is something that I REALLY wished had been available to me when I became a single mum. I am super dooper excited about this!
It gives mums the tools that they need to get life back on track in a really supportive environment.
AND I’m also launching one for single dads!
These courses are very non-threatening, and really fun. You will be informed, inspired, motivated and supported the whole way though, and you will be able to connect with other single parents.
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