You’d be surprised how often I find being at work and feeling like a cheesy end-of-pier comedian overlap. Almost every day someone asks me which days I work or whether I’m “with the kids” on this or that day. So then I always find myself having to tell people not to panic. They can always book more tickets for the show that is me – why not bring the whole family? – because hey, I’m here all week (ker-ching!).
It’s more than two years since I last came off maternity leave and people still make this mistake. I tend to assume it’s because I have young children but hey, I could be wrong. I mean, it might be because I’m remarkably inefficient. People are just amazed that I can be in the office every single day and still not get those projects completed.
Perhaps all this is only even an issue for me because I work in a female-dominated environment, where flexible working patterns are well-embedded and even taken to be the norm for those with small children. This is, of course, a good thing. Even so, I wish “those with small children” who work part-time weren’t always presumed to be female. The male parents I work with never get the “which day are you in?” question (mind you, some of them still talk about “babysitting” their own children, so I know I’m really asking too much here).
When I tell people I work full-time they often say “that must be hard!”. I don’t think it’s any harder, particularly, than staying at home with the kids, but that might be because I’m doing my job wrong. Or looking after my kids wrong. But anyhow, right now the comparison feels pretty balanced, albeit potentially based on me not having a fucking clue about what I’m doing in either sphere.
Of course, sometimes I wonder whether, if I worked part-time, I’d be further ahead on things like housework. I like to wonder this because it gives me an excuse for having such a pigsty of a home. I guess if I had an extra day at home I’d shove the odd additional load of washing in. But if I’m honest, it’s not as though I catch up much at weekends anyhow. The house is in slow decline, and I’m just hoping I can eke it out until the boys leave home without the neighbours reporting me for breaching health and safety regulations.
So anyhow, this is just to let you know that should you have any queries regarding the availability of me, I’m here for the duration. Can’t promise I’ll actually be useful but hey, at least I’m showing willing.