Juggling motherhood and a career can be tough, according to every article about juggling motherhood and a career ever. But it's important to remember that being a parent can have its advantages in the workplace. If you thought you were good at multi-tasking before you had kids, just wait till you have to combine board meetings and spreadsheets with breastfeeding, nappy changing, and nits.
Here's the Scummy Mummies guide to how to make the most of your newfound parenting skills at work.
Simplify That Morning Routine
Being a parent forces you to prioritise what's important at the start of the day. It can be a struggle to achieve the perfect blow dry and flawless make-up while trying to persuade a toddler to eat his breakfast instead of the remote control, and wiping poo off the radiator. The smart mum knows it's easier to hide that unwashed hair under a hat, such a stylish beret. Or solve two problems at once with a sombrero - it will balance out those dark circles, so there's no need for all that Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat. Which you can't afford any more anyway, because of the nanny.
Be Fashion Forward
Parenting provides the perfect opportunity to overhaul your personal style by exploring the world of accessories. Brooches, scarves, and giant necklaces are great for covering snot stains. They also act as a distraction, drawing your colleagues' attention away from the Weetabix stuck to your bottom.
Save Time In Meetings
Now you're a parent you don't have time to waste, but you do have ways to move things along. If you ever need to bring a boring work conversation to an end, just start showing the person pictures of your kids. You can also shut down meetings pretty quickly by talking about your suspected prolapse.
As a parent, you learn to be a master of scheduling. It's not just meetings and conference calls - you're also keeping track of ballet lessons and school plays, while factoring in time to do the supermarket shop, and fight with your husband. Show off about how busy you are by buying an expensive, leather-bound family planner with 28 individually tabbed sections. It will make you look super-organised and competent for those two weeks before you lose it, the dog eats it, or the kids set fire to it.
Caffeine Is King
People without kids often just see coffee as a drink. The rest of us understand it is the elixir of life. You will develop an encyclopedic knowledge of every Costa Coffe and Caffe Nero within 500 metres of the office. You will know exactly how many Nespresso pods are in the office kitchen at any moment. Your colleagues will ensure the stock is regularly topped up, because no one wants a repeat of the day you were found weeping under the sink, threatening to punch everyone in the face.
Treat Colleagues Like Toddlers
If a workmate is disagreeing with you, use your the same voice you use on your kids to explain calmly but authorititavely why they're talking shit. Encourage your subordinates to hit deadlines by telling them to get the work done by the time you count to three. Putting colleagues on the naughty step is probably taking it too far, but there's nothing wrong with rewarding a job well done with a Wow card and a packet of chocolate buttons.
Prioritise After-Work Socialising
Now you're going straight home after work to see the kids, you can feel smug every morning when your workmates turn up hungover, complaining about how that cheeky pint turned into an all-nighter. They don't know you sank an entire bottle of Sauvignon blanc between bedtime and passing out on the sofa at 9.30pm.
Save up all your after-work alcohol units for those big occasions. There's nothing like spending the work Christmas party telling all your colleagues what's wrong with your marriage, or informing the keynote speaker at that important conference that you haven't had sex for six months.
Accept The Mess
The truth is, trying to be a great working mother is bloody hard. You'll always struggle to stay calm in the face of tantrums, fighting, generally unreasonable behaviour, and no one ever flushing the toilet - and then you have to deal with it all again when you get home. Accept the fact you'll never be a perfect mother or a faultless colleague, and that life is always going to be messy. Pour yourself another glass of wine and rest assured that just like everyone else, you're doing the best job you can.
This post was inspired by the movie Ricki and the Flash, which stars Meryl Streep and her daughter, Mamie Gummer. Mezza plays Ricki Rendazzo, a rock and roll star who finds it difficult to balance following her professional dreams with raising a family. It's got some weepy moments and some great one-liners, and it's a fab film for a mum's night in.
Images blogger's own
Ricki and the Flash is out on Blu-ray and DVD on 28 December.