Scaffolding for working mums
I don't know about you but I need help - and a lot of it!
To get through an average week as a mum working in an executive role with some travel thrown in, I access a lot of help. I have a whole lot of scaffolding in place to help to avoid the work / life collision.
A key part of my scaffolding is a nanny / mother's help who is with us from 3-7pm each afternoon. She does school pick up, feeds the kids afternoon tea, supervises homework session, packs lunches for the next day and prepares dinner. She also does about an hour of housework like laundry or staying on top of the floors (both never ending tasks but she helps me make a dint!). We've had a few wonderful young women fill this role in our family over the years and it has been a pleasure to have as part of our home.
For my first few years in the workforce as a working mum, I used long daycare and then after school care. I always found it stressful and felt perpetually guilty. Having someone at home with the children in the afternoons took that guilt away - the kids were relaxed, and the chores I used to have waiting for me after the kids were in bed were largely being covered off by my mothers help. Now the kids are teenagers, they love to clarify that the nanny is for me, not for them. And I am happy to own it!
They say it takes a village.. well, sometimes the village is family, but so I don't rely too heavily on my family who also lead full lives, I try to keep family for the things that might be more emotive or special occasion e.g. a trip to the dentist or an afternoon tea at school that clashes with a Board meeting.. These aren't events I outsource outside the family readily...
A flexible and supportive husband is now an added part of that scaffolding, but I survived as a single mum for many years. And of course, a boss who gets flexible work - being able to work from home when my children are sick, or Telstra gives me a four hour window for a technician call is critical to making this all hang together.
What's your scaffolding?