I was watching the film I don’t know how she does it. I fancied something fluffy that I could put on in the background as I wrote. Then I remember the rule of films, they deserved to be actively watched, if they don’t deserve that level of attention, they do not deserve to be put on at all. Thank you to @legobloke for reminding me of that.
It’s a universally panned film with Sarah Jessica Parker playing a working Mum (or Mom since it is American), though since I have only watched fifteen minutes thus far, I will not make comment.
What incited me to start writing, was the description of two characters, coined as the Momsters. I know this is Hollywood, and these characters are caricatures of reality, but as a SAHM (stay at home Mum) I started to wonder, is this how some working Mums see those that choose to stay at home?
The most terrifying creatures in captivity are the Momsters. Wendy Best, a room parent, field trip chaperone, parent association vice president; also chief person in charge of terrifying working mothers with her domestic prowess. Janine LoPietro; she does pilates, yoga, spinning and krav maga. Fitter than a navy seal, tougher too.
Perhaps my route to SAHMness was slightly different to others. I was made redundant when Maxi was ten weeks old. When he was six months old, I distinctly remember him giving me a look that said OK I need to be with other people, perhaps it’s time for you to go back to work and for me to go to nursery. It probably wasn’t, it was probably more of I need to see more people than just you Mummy, where are we off to?
What to do? I registered with a variety of recruitment agencies (ALARM BELLS: She’s a new Mama), eventually found a part-time position that just about covered the nursery fees and almost landed a new proper job, but I had just found out that I was pregnant. Yes I fell pregnant with Mini when Maxi was six months old. Which wasn’t a selling point for a prospective employer.
By this time, statutory maternity pay had gone up from six months to twelve, I had a year to work out how I was going to go back to that job when the pay didn’t cover nursery fees. However, just after Mini was born the family run company I worked for closed. Yes folks, I am jinxed, but not to worry I am not going to have any more babies.
When I was made redundant, after my maternity pay ran out, I signed on. I tried to explain to the financial assistant expert, that I could not afford to go back to work unless my wages covered child care costs and fuel. He said, Why? Your husband should be contributing too. You’ll be pleased I didn’t stop explaining until he understood. As a family we’d be worse off, duh!
Long story short, I became a SAHM. Until the boys went to nursery was a challenge. I never had any time to myself, our family live far away and my husband was doing a job that at first took him away from home, and then later a job that required him to work shifts. Thank goodness for our local family centre, it kept me sane. (or sane-ish)
When Maxi first went to nursery, each week I would help out there. Later, when they were both away for a couple of hours in the morning, I started to climb and cycle, I tried to look after me and lost four stone in weight. Now Maxi is going to school, which means I have a couple of hours in the morning free from both of them, and the afternoons with Mini; before I need to pick Maxi up from school. Oh and a husband who works shifts so is around until two most days.
So yes, I tend to create home baking for end of year teachers gifts, and help out when required, try to exercise most mornings and meet up with other SAHMs occasionally.
Do I lord it over the working parents? Not in the slightest. First I respect them hugely, I don’t know how they do it. I barely have enough time to think, though I suppose twitter does distract me quite a bit. I also aspire to be like them; to work where my brain is pushed; wear clean clothes all day, or at least not with smush wiped all over them; drink coffee when it is still moderately warm; pee without company; have a conversation on the phone during the day without a previously contently playing child, decide that jumping and pulling my clothes is appropriate behaviour and of course earn money to keep the family afloat.
I suppose there must be Momsters out there, but I am happy to say I haven’t come across them. The Mummies of my children’s friends are awesome, intelligent, harassed, caring, funny and always there to help when in a bind. Though thinking about it, some of these work part-time, some have their own businesses and work from home, all have their own way to keep their brains active.
Why then, does Hollywood feel the need to coin the role Momster? Is it just for creative affect, or is it because these creatures are out there and I am yet to come into contact with them?