Archive | April 16, 2009

What is the Hardest Age to Balance With Work By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck


The baby is so small, your body still remembers it. It breaks your heart to leave it. The baby squints vaguely at the light, before reaching its arms out… mmmm, milk.


The baby starts to move. He understands the hazards of the world a bit clearer now. He’ll make his disapproval known if he’s left – whether you’re going to work or just to the bathroom.poppies


The baby is walking around; getting palpable pleasure from hitting other children with his teddies. He leaves you quite happily – but on your way out you catch a faint… was that a new word? You squint through the hinge of the closing door until the tip of your nose gets pinched.


You’ve now got a fully fledged preschooler. As they jabber to you about Alison and Maxwell and Simon’s red fire truck toy you jot down the names. You really must get to the bottom of who these ruffians are. Really, some parents don’t instill any manners in their three year olds.


Then they go to school. It’s a rude shock to find that, as parent, you’re no longer seen as the customer. More like the secretary-chauffeur, Your child is also less of a guest and more of a pupil.  You vaguely consider changing careers to become a classroom assistant so that you can make sure your child uses the bathroom regularly and wear a hat outdoors.


Then they hit the Tweens. They talk in long sentences alluding to their friends parents who are apparently in every way more accomplished, kind and liberal than you are. You are torn between applying for a position on the Board in order to set your kid a good example, and chucking it all in to stay at home baking cookies, vetting all their friends with a 100 point questionnaire.


Finally teenagers. Is it blissful to have someone who sleeps in in the mornings? The life of ease, to not need to help with their bathing or toilet. They even eat direct from the fridge you say? And don’t say a word for hours on end? My, you must have it so easy!


Take your pick, according to me – every age is hard while you are trying to balance your work with your life.



The Ages of Working Motherhood By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

The ages of working motherhood by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated


By Sandra Beck


The age of Innocence:

“The baby is due in Spring, so I’ll have time to get back in shape before bikini season”

”I have email, don’t I? Babies sleep all the time, don’t they?”

“I never understand why women let themselves go after they’ve had a baby”

The age of Enlightenment:

“Listen, people, why did no one see fit to tell me about the …. (Leaking! From everywhere! At the worst possible times!) … LOVE. “pickettulips

The Reformation

“I love you – and I’ll do anything for you – but from now on you’re doing all your own shirts”

“I love you – and I’ll do anything for you – but frankly (darling) neither of us is at their best at 3 a.m.”

The Great Inquisition

“Sure, you’ve twenty years childcare experience. I hear you – sole charge of triplets. Just hypothetically, imagine that Lillibette had fallen asleep in her pram twenty minutes before allotted nap time, and Brown Bear had been left at home. What would you do then, huh?”

“I’m terribly sorry to bother you – I can see you’re enjoying a quiet coffee. I just wanted to ask your views on the local nursery. You don’t think the staff are awfully.. young?”

The Cold War

“ I’m utterly committed to this job. However, in the absence of the company providing me with a private helicopter – or a chauffeur escort to collect my child from nursery –  I’m afraid my finish time is non-negotiable.”

Civil War

“I understand that you feel uncomfortable leaving work early – and that your boss hadn’t left yet. Now do YOU understand how I feel the other four days of the week?”

“Yes, you’re tired, and you need your sleep. I hear you. I feel your pain. I do.”

The Arms Race

“Sure, would be great for the kids to have a playdate. Let’s find a time slot… no, that day’s French lessons… nope, music and movement… can’t miss Suzuki violin … she does so enjoy Macrame… preschooler jazz is on Fridays … junior hockey Beedle Bugs next week… how are you set on the 15th?”

“A lovely day to spend with the children! Here’s my quality time schedule – divided into 30 minute timeslots of developmental activities. Darling – no, sweetheart, not the blocks. It’s time for finger painting now. No – I said NOW – otherwise we’ll be late for the Baby Yoga”.