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24th Jul 2015

10 intense moments of being a working parent

Sive O'Brien

I’m sure any working parent would agree that balancing a family and job (and everything in-between) is difficult.

It’s a constant juggling act of trying to please the people you love, while trying to please the people who make paying your mortgage possible. Not easy.

There’s no denying it can be tough at times, but it also has its perks – aside from the money. On a good day, work can feel like a holiday away from the madness of parenthood. Mostly though, the clichés are true and going to work when you’ve got kids is, well, everything it’s cracked up to be – good, bad, emotional and exhausting.

Here are 10 of the most intense moments a working parent can experience…

  1. The return to work after maternity leave. Regardless of how long you had away from the office, you are never truly ready for this – no matter how much you might think you are. Any euphoria you felt at the start of that first day back will have worn off before you’ve even finished the (hot) coffee you’ve been dreaming about for months.
  1. Facing a day’s work after virtually no sleep. You are so tired you could cry and your head is banging, but this is no hangover; this is child-induced sleep deprivation. When the alarm first goes off in the morning (if you’re lucky enough to need an alarm), you wonder how you will ever make it through the day. Somehow, you always do.
  1. Leaving the house in the morning. You can’t find your car keys, your toddler has thrown the mother of all tantrums, and your outfit that was clean five minutes ago is now covered in porridge. Getting yourself and the kids ready and out in the morning isn’t exactly a relaxing start to the day – it’s not even 9am and you are sweating profusely – but it does save you from working out later.
  1. When there are tears at the drop-off. Usually YOUR tears, let’s face it. You’re trying to hold it together and stay strong, but every inch of you wants to snatch your child back, take them home and have a duvet day. The childminder, however, assures you in soothing tones that it’s all going to be OK, whilst your (tearless) child is excitedly waving you goodbye.
  1. When there are NO tears at the drop-off. The relief they are happy; the pain they love their childminder more than you. Okay, so that’s not exactly true, but it sure as hell feels like it in your tired and emotional state.
  1. Getting stuck in traffic. You’re either going to be late for work and miss that first meeting, or you’re going to be late home and miss bedtime. You know which one you would prefer, but it doesn’t make the situation any less stressful. On the bright side, a longer commute means more me-time.
  1. Finding their favourite toy in your bag. An unexpected and much-needed lift to lighten up a gruelling work day. Followed by the realisation and panic they don’t have their favourite toy with them.
  1. Lunch time. A time when you might actually get to sit down and use cutlery, without having to feed someone else or share your food. Unless you’re too busy paying bills online, while catching up on work so you can leave the office on time to get home for the best part of the day.
  1. Walking in the door. The hug so big it almost knocks you down; the excited squeal so loud it nearly deafens you. You’re a working parent and your kid is happy; it’s all okay. This makes it all worth it.
  1. Bedtime. You are dead on your feet but you wouldn’t skip the bedtime stories for the world. When they (eventually) fall asleep you remember the mountain of dirty laundry that’s been needing your attention for days, but you choose to neglect it just a little bit longer in favour of watching your little munchkin snooze. Savouring the peaceful moment before you have to do it all over again tomorrow.

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