A few years ago, I read an article in The Economist, about the women behind the woman. Sadly no amount of googling can find it, so today I’m telling my version of the story.
#MJM said the other day, he felt there was ‘an elephant in the room’ whenever he read one of my blog posts. It got me thinking about why I hadn’t come out and mentioned the elephant. I get the sense that women today, either want to do it all by themselves, or want to make others think they can do it all by themselves, or worst think they should do it all by themselves. For me it was probably a mix of the first two. A friend posted an article this week, about the pressure for women to choose babies or a career, and that the option to successfully combine both, was still largely unrealistic. I am very lucky to be in a position where I can be a Mum who walks in the door, with the sole focus of spending a few hours quality time with the kids. I can also then leave for work in the morning confident that they will be secure and happy for the day ahead. And the reason for this is the presence of a wonderful woman.
Our “Tita” (Aunty in Tagalog), is the fifth member of our family. #SMCE, (love that she has four initials too and I have a new hash tag to use!), has been working for us since just before #SHJM was born, three years ago, and gives me the ability to have my cake and eat it too. To be a Mother like I don’t work, and to work like I have no home commitments. She’s the one who helps keep my plates spinning and clear up the mess when I drop one. To my boys she is a third parent. To #MJM and I, she is also the third parent. She knows the boys as well as us. Loves them and guides them like her own three children; who are at university at home in the Philippines, and is equally devoted to them.
I (semi) joke that she is the most important person in my life, and she really is up there! She enables me to have a career, and to tag in when I want to spend quality time with the boys individually. She sends me pictures of them in the day and is genuinely delighted to great them each morning. When you have someone that you and the kids are so comfortable with, the stress and pressure of planning, checking in and worrying how they are when you are away, disappears. I don’t need to plan activities or tell her about meals and routines. She knows them, as she was part of the parenting team that evolved and implemented them.
I know having help isn’t for everyone, I was listening to a podcast the other day with a Mum in London, who couldn’t settle with the role that her Nanny was playing in her kids lives, and I completely get why she could find that hard. She had her Mother and Mother-in-Law around the corner eagerly awaiting the chance to swoop in and look after the kids in the week. Another, quite opposite opinion, was from my friend, who told me as keen as her Mother and Mother-in-Law were to look after the kids, she wanted other options, as she didn’t feel that was the care arrangement that was best for all parties.
Even if you don’t work, and your Mum or Sister pop in for a cuddle with the kids, whilst you have a shower or throw on a load of washing, or your best mate fills your freezer with dinners and treats on a crappy week. Or you don’t have any kids, but your career is taking off and you need help so you don’t have to spend Saturday mornings doing chores when you could be enjoying life. There are many wonderful people that enable women to achieve what they want and need. Better yet this support means we can enjoy life, make our lives easier and do more than just cope.
So whatever the support roles, from women, or men (I wouldn’t want to exclude support from anyone), play in your life, don’t feel that you need to be embarrassed or wary, of showing and shouting about their presence. Because with that support, we can keep a little bit more of ourselves, as we journey through the chaos and fun of life.
Mummy Milne xx