A little look at the double life of a Mummy and the person she used to be.
For the past 4 year’s I have been living a slightly crazy, incredibly busy but very enjoyable double life, in my two world’s, as I like to call them.
In one of these worlds I am known as Mummy and in the other I am known as Michelle.
Many of you will be in the exact same position, juggling a work and a home life, so you will know what I mean and maybe feel the same (are we over-analysing?). Some of you may not think about it much, (I know, you’re busy) and some of you may not even really be consciously aware of it (wow, you’re super busy).
Well, I have been pondering this for the past couple of weeks now, as I have recently returned to work after a year’s maternity leave with my second child. In this past year’s scenario, my Mummy world has been the dominant force, my main focus being nurturing The Boy through his first year, from newborn to adorable whirlwind. So Michelle has had to take a back seat. Now it’s back to work and it’s more like 50/50 or maybe 60/40, in Michelle’s favour.
Here are some thoughts and observations on the subject. I’m going to talk about myself(s) in the 3rd person here, as it works better, just go with it for now.
In this double life, I am obviously just one physical person. Wow, just imagine if there were two of me, the housework…. (I mean amazing things) I could achieve. Anyway, many elements of these two manifestations of myself are similar. For example, Mummy and Michelle live in the same house, have 1 husband and 2 children etc…
But at the same time, many things are different. For example physical tangible things like clothing and accessories.
Also intangible elements like language, the way I act and the way I approach a task.
Then there are ‘cross-over elements’ (are you still with me?). Ok here goes….
Michelle wears makeup and gets to spend a small amount of time thinking about her appearance. Mummy doesn’t know where the makeup is kept and in any case when would she apply this exactly? If you think she should maybe get up a few minutes earlier to squeeze this in, then I don’t think we can be friends. EVERY SECOND OF SLEEP COUNTS….
I know some women would wince at this, it’s not that Mummy doesn’t care about appearance, it’s more about knowing your audience and makeup comes under category – ‘non-essential’.
Mummy has her clothes and so does Michelle, there are some cross-over items here, the odd cardy or pair of jeans but I do feel it’s important to be quite strict in this area. Whilst Mummy can borrow a smart item if the occasion arises, Michelle cannot, for example, go to work in a Mummy item. The holes, the stretches, the sticky food marks, the snot, oh it just doesn’t bear thinking about. For Michelle, the most important thing is that her clothing is protected, at all costs. By this, I’m referring to times like that difficult hour before leaving for work. She is dressed as Michelle but very much in Mummy territory. Here, she is behind enemy lines, constantly under fire and alone. Those little sticky hands and snotty faces are everywhere, she must act quickly to protect herself. Just imagine a scenario where she was hit by enemy artillery fire and perhaps in the carnage didn’t notice and turned up to work (where the young immaculate people are) with vomit or toothpaste slime on her shoulder. Mortifying. Just mortifying. I have taken to wearing a coverall (an old pyjama top) over my work clothes, which seems to be doing the trick.
Michelle runs. She runs to keep fit and feel good and for a bit of her own space and thinking time. Mummy also runs but much shorter distances. From the lounge to the kitchen to get snacks maybe or upstairs to pee, rushing frantically back to check a child hasn’t, in that short time, managed to mortally wound themselves.
Language is something many of us modify depending on who we are with and this situation is no different. Mummy uses phrases like ‘poo poo’ & and ‘dum-dums’ and every morning shouts things like ‘SHOES’ and ‘TEETH’, and although these one syllable outbursts are generally not required in Michelle Land I feel that potentially at work they might actually provoke a more proactive response!
Mummy obviously doesn’t use bad language and is very proficient now at the “oh for …..sake” and the “sh sh sh sugar”. But ****ing hell Michelle likes to swear, a lot. I know, it’s not big and it’s not clever but boy does it make me feel good, pretty much always. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a disease, probably contagious? I wonder how many people I have infected? Luckily, I am surrounded by fellow (mostly incurable) sufferers like myself, which is comforting.
Mummy gets to occasionally (very occasionally) feel like a Superhero. You know the days where you beat the washing, everyone eats what you serve and you manage to arrive places on time.
Michelle gets to have conversations, I mean actual full conversations where you don’t have to leave half way through without even apologising.
Mummy gets to sing silly song’s and dance whilst walking around the supermarket. Yes, this behaviour is quite unbelievably totally acceptable if you have young children with you. Also very liberating, try it, it’s brilliant!
Michelle gets to pee alone.
Mummy, if given an hour whilst the baby sleeps, turns into a super-fast ninja warrior. The sheer volume of output that can be achieved within this minuscule 1-hour time-frame would blow the minds of most mere mortals. She could just sit and drink tea but she doesn’t. It’s one of those unwritten rules and would bring great shame on her people.
Michelle gets to finish ALL of her meal should she wish to. Not having to sacrifice any part of it (normally the best part) to small scavengers that 5 minutes ago couldn’t possibly manage even one more pea.
Mummy gets to spend time with 2 wonderful little people, watching on in amazement at every tiny & ordinary thing they do.
Finding the ideal balance between these two worlds is a constant challenge. Occasionally I yearn for more of Michelle, a brief reminder of the life I used to live before I had to share it with Mummy.
Mummy feels the pressure of guilt, for working and not being there 24/7 for her children.
But I can honestly say, in the grand scheme, it’s nice to have variation in my life and to be different things to different people. And the rewards, in both worlds, on a good day, are plentiful.