Yet another survey designed to make working mums feel guilty did the rounds in the papers yesterday. It said a quarter of mums have missed important events in their child’s life because they were working.
Attempts at crawling, starting to walk and school sports days are among the milestones we’ve missed apparently.
Oh come on. It shouldn’t be about the first time your child actually crawled or walked. It’s about the first time you saw them do so. I wasn’t there when my daughter took her first steps. I was working. But the memory of coming home and seeing her walk for the first time and looking so proud of herself is one I will take to my grave.
And as for sports days, sports days are rubbish, quite possibly the most stressful thing you can put a young child through. Booster injections are a walk in the park in comparison. Fine for the child who wins but I remember the endless feeling of failure as I got handed yet another ‘well tried’ badge every flipping year.
Who wants to watch that? Ban them, I say – they set out to encourage kids to take part in sports and end up having the complete opposite effect. And all the parents end up glaring at the mother of the kid who keeps winning.
School plays are a better milestone, just go to your child’s first school play – they’re usually in the evening.
So to trump this ridiculous survey even further I thought it would be quite timely to compile a list of the milestones worth celebrating once you go back to work after having children.
Yeah, yeah, you miss them and would ideally be at home with them all the time etc etc. But you’ve always got to look on the bright side. No-one got anywhere in this life without looking on the bright side. Except moths, I suppose.
Anyway, here’s to these back to work milestones:
1. The first decent read of the morning paper.
You can actually read it waiting for the bus or on the tube and feel in touch with the world, not three days later when you only happen to be tearing it up to soak up some baby residue from the carpet.
2. The first uninterrupted cup of tea.
You can drink it while it’s still hot. The danger of it being spilt or maiming someone is significantly reduced whilst the chances of reaching the end of it are greatly improved.
3. The first proper conversation with someone.
You can talk about politics, music, Big Brother – whatever takes your fancy – and you don’t have to speak in a patronising voice or just use words with a maximum of two syllables in them.
4. The first lunch break.
You have an hour, a whole hour of free time. Ok you may have to stock up on nappies at the supermarket but at least you can do so in peace and have time to work out the best deal, giving you more time and money to spend in Top Shop on the way back.
5. The first lunch out.
You can choose what you want to eat, not make do with leftover nuggets and whatever you can cobble together from the fridge. More decent conversation and you can even treat yourself to a sneaky glass of wine without really feeling that guilty. Now you certainly couldn’t do that at home with the kids.
6. The first chocolate bar to yourself.
It’s what the vending machine in your office was put there for. Be sure to choose a bar that you won’t feel obliged to share with nearby colleagues. And enjoy!
7. The first cuddle with your little one back home.
The thrilled look on their face will be priceless and the feeling of that hug will make you appreciate your child more than ever and the precious time you spend with them away from work.
And the best thing about all these milestones? You can go to work the next day and enjoy them all again!