Off the back of Beth’s eloquent piece on being “wonder woman” I can’t help but summarise my opinion on the phrase “having it all”: it’s a load of — and look away now if you’re of sensitive disposition — complete and total bollocks.
“Having it all” is just another stick invented by the media to beat up women who don’t meet bullshit fantasy ideals which only serve to drive women crazy in their misguided pursuit of happiness.
I confess, before I actually became a work at home parent I thought that it would be the yellow brick road, the wardrobe opening into Narnia: I honestly thought that I could sit at my laptop tapping out a few great websites for clients (that’s what I do, see) while the children played gaily at my feet. The washing would be done, dried and folded; the kitchen work surfaces sparkling as I’d have not long scrubbed pausing only to sip on my hot coffee in a clean mug. My food would be prepped for our evening meal and we’d all be happy and rich as I rolled in the money I would make as a successful freelancer.
Hahahaha what a prat I was.
The reality is a little more like yesterday: I was sat at my desk, covered in bogies because my youngest is ill, bouncing him on my lap to keep the noise level down whilst I try to give a training meeting to a client over skype; my headset whistles because dearest child is trying to eat the microphone, again leaning forward to wipe his teary, green-crust-covered face across my chest and I pause to listen to the questions over the sound of a hacking cough and wimpering (child’s, not mine).
I can’t stop working to nurse my child back to health because I’m on my second month of being overdrawn thanks to scrooge-like clients holding on to their cash for as long as possible. My long forgotten coffee on the manky crumb-covered kitchen side is long cold and will sit there until the following morning when I replace it with another (which will also likely go the same way) in the same grotty mug because pausing to wash it is too much effort.
And if you think that’s an exaggeration for comic effect, you’re obviously not a work at home parent.
Don’t get me wrong, I have really enjoyed the challenges of working from home over the past 18 months. On the months where I have made more money than I did as an employee I have rejoiced in the successes… but it’s not like this every day. It’s stressful, and hard, and I am not wonder woman. Like I said: having it all? What a load of bollocks.
Many thanks to the lovely Eeh Bah Mum for letting me use her gorgeous snotty child to illustrate my slightly ranty post.