This is an old article I had written up for my school alumni mag. I’m thinking about what I want to “be” again today and remembered this article so I thought I’d post it.
Mother to 4 under 4 including 12 week old twins. You’d think I’d be busy enough huh? I am busy, changing nappies, feeding babies, preparing meals and snacks, mediating fights and endless loads of laundry. But my poor left brain is crying out for attention. Theories, equations, statistics, quotes, reports…oh my!
I love being home with my growing boys, each day brings something new, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s me curled up in the foetal position. There’s Jack, my eldest, threenager, attitude galore, super affectionate, utterly adorable of course. Lewis, voted person most likely to climb a tree and fall out of it in the 2010 Thompson family year book. Adventurous yet clumsy, he’s the class clown. Apologies to all his future teachers. Together the mischief they get up to is astounding, lock the cat under the house? Why not! Help yourself to the flour for a spot of “cooking” while Daddy has a nap? Go for it!
Oliver and Sebastian are an interesting pair. Ollie, very relaxed, happy in his environment. Content to just “be” as long as his belly is full. Ollie likes to sleep, generally surfacing around 9am, I’m sure that earns him the right to a “favourite child” cap occasionally. Sebastian is not quite sure about the world yet, it’s all a bit scary with big brothers who scream and yell and stomp, much nicer to hang out in mummy’s arms where it’s safe.
4 children. 4 little people all with very different needs, needs that I need to balance along with my own needs and the needs of my relationship with my husband. No wonder I’m tired. It’s so easy to push my own needs to one side and focus on everyone else, but it works best when everyone is getting what they need. I never thought I would need more, I always thought that being home with them would be enough for me, enough of a challenge. As much fun as it is to pretend to be the Stepford dream wife, I need more. And let’s face it, in 5 years time the kids will be in school. I don’t think a prospective employer will see “can tell what mischief children are into simply by the noise or lack of” and “can smell lipstick going on walls from the other end of the house” as useful skills in the workplace, do you?
So, the question is, what can I do? What can I fit in around the children and a shift working husband? The babies are still very reliant on me and their feeds can be unpredictable. Childcare for more than 1 child is prohibitively expensive. My husband’s shifts are predictable but working around them would mean either working in the afternoon when he usually naps, working at night while the children sleep (but when would I sleep?) or working from home.
The jobs with the flexibility I need are unlikely to provide the mental stimulation I’m craving. There are many online study options which would fit the bill but do I want to sign up for more HELP debt when I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up? Part of the problem is that I’m impatient. It would be easier to say I’ll wait until next year and sign myself up for a part time course. Knowing that by then the babies will be less reliant, perhaps more predicatable. But much like a toddler I want it now. My brain is itchy and it needs to be scratched, but how?
Something that doesn’t involve runny noses and wiping bottoms, does such a thing exist? And if it does, is there room in my day for it?