A Beta Attempt at Work-Life Balance

I was contacted recently by a lovely reader, asking if Beta Mummy had any advice for attaining a good work-life balance. (ha ha ha I know, I know).  It seemed like a good time to publish these doodles I did a while back , of Beta Mummy and Alpha Mummy at work.

Alpha Mummy.

Of course, Alpha Mummy probably doesn’t actually work.  After all she loves her kids too much.  Plus those school runs, labradoodle walks, yoga classes, skinny latte catch-ups, maintaining the Ideal Home, and crafting perfectly nutritious meals for her family…that all takes time you know!  Anyhow, Alpha Mummy doesn’t need to work, what with her extremely handsome, high-earning, attentive and sexually-satisfied husband providing all the cash the family requires.

However, if she DID work, she’d probably glide into the office looking something like this:

A doodle of Alpha Mummy at work. She is having a very important conversation on the phone, whilst strutting about with her very expensive handbag and fancy shoes.

Beta Mummy.

I am a Beta Mummy, and I need to work.  That mortgage and those bills are not going to pay themselves, and those Feral Children just won’t stop eating, dammit!  But with a two-year-old demanding Peppa-milk-nappy-toast-cereal-milk-MILK-porridge, and with a four-year-old demanding Batman-drink-wipemybottom-toast-moretoast-cereal-Mum-Mum-Mum, frankly I deserve a bloody medal just for getting 3 x people dressed, 3 x lunches made, 3 x bags packed, and 3 x people out of the door by 7.50am(ish) each day.  Let alone managing to switch into work mode, be adulty for a day, and then switch back to mum mode again all in the space of a day.

 

Truth is, however, I like going to work.  I would probably go entirely nuts if I had to stay at home all day every day with the Ferals, much as I love them.  Plus, I did actually work quite hard to get to the point I was at with my career pre-children, and work makes me remember that I am actually a real adult intelligent person and not just a baby-vessel-slash-tidier-upper.

 

The problem with work, though, is that it means that all the home/personal/children jobs have to be squashed into the hours of 6-8am, and 5.30-10.30pm (assuming some sleep is achieved, or at least attempted).  Plus the weekends, which end up being harder work that the weekdays.  This is simply not enough time to do everything.  And the problem with home/personal/children-jobs, is that they squeeze each end of your work day, and have a habit of creeping in to lunch breaks and other points during the day when you have say “Excuse me Mr Boss Man, what you’re saying is extremely fascinating and important, but I’m afraid FC#1’s school have rung to say that he has an itchy willy, so I need to leave work early”.  Again.

 

When you’re a working mum (and I say mum rather than parent because I do believe that fathers very rarely experience this to the same extent), you spend the whole time feeling guilty and often inadequate.  Because you can never give your full, undivided attention and efforts to either work or home life.  You always feel like you are not quite doing your paid job well enough, and not quite doing your parenting job well enough either.  Work suffers because of your home responsibilities, and you feel like your kids are suffering because of your work responsibilities.

 

It also does not help that when you are trying your hardest to be professional and respected in the workplace, you find yourself looking a bit of a state, having forgotten to brush your hair, wearing crumpled clothes because who the hell has time to iron these days, and realising that you do in fact have peanut butter or snot or vomit (or all of the above) on the one pair of “work trousers” that still fit your fat arse.

Doodle of Beta Mummy sitting at her desk, looking harassed. Her boss is on the phone complaining that she is late again, and she has just received a text message from the childminder to say that youngest child has worms. Joy.

Meanwhile there’ll be an Alpha Mummy-type who makes you look extra bad, or worse still, some pretty, skinny, well-dressed, manicured, YOUNG graduate new starter who makes you want to hide yourself in the stationery cupboard for the rest of the day.

Sorry.

So I’m sorry, dear reader.  I have no advice on how to achieve a decent work-life balance.  My work-life balance is more like a fucking see-saw on which I try desperately to cling with one hand whilst clutching a glass of medicinal wine in the other!

A doodle of Beta Mummy on the work-life balance seesaw with Work, Life and Responsibility on the other end. She is clutching a glass of wine, and saying "I want to get off!"

Still, it’s not all bad.  I reckon that rushing around like a lunatic actually has made me better at multi-tasking and making efficient use of my time.  And at least at work you have a decent chance of a hot cup of tea, a pee in peace, and maybe, just maybe, a hob nob.  I do love a hob nob.

39 Comments

  • James Hopes 24/09/2016 at 5:52 pm

    Who doesn’t love a hob nob?! Getting the balance right is hard. Let me know if you ever figure it out!!!

    Reply
  • Sarah 24/09/2016 at 6:02 pm

    I used to love going to work and having hot tea, biscuits and using my brain. I feel decidedly stupider having quit. Sigh. Big props to you my darling, you are doing such an amazing job xxx

    Reply
  • Mouse Moo Me Too 24/09/2016 at 6:23 pm

    Brilliant and absolutely spot on. Interesting that you say the craziness makes you more time efficient, I hadn’t thought of it that way but it’s very true. Now, if only I could channel the spirit of that dear Maggie of the Thatch and survive on 4 hours sleep, I’d get masses done! Xxx

    Reply
    • Beta Mummy 24/09/2016 at 6:48 pm

      That comment made me lol! 🙂 x

      Reply
  • Mum-Work-Repeat 24/09/2016 at 7:40 pm

    Bloody brilliant post and I’ll second every comment you’ve made! Sometimes I look longingly at the young whippersnappers in their oh so trendy gear and the ease they can go out for after work drinks. You get into the office and work like a ninja then fly out the door and pray to god there are no train delays again so the already manic night time routine isn’t compressed further *reaches for wine

    Reply
  • Single Mum Speaks 24/09/2016 at 9:27 pm

    I am so Beta Mummy at work! In fact, Beta Mummy and I have exactly the same bag, with the exact same contents. I think we’re surviving and doing OK though! #tribe

    Reply
  • justsayingmum 26/09/2016 at 12:41 pm

    Oh no!!! The text message from the childminder – just no! I just want to give Beta a break bless her – I’m bringing over coffee and supplies and a PA for the day!

    Reply
    • Beta Mummy 26/09/2016 at 12:49 pm

      Sounds perfect! 😉 x

      Reply
  • Eliana 27/09/2016 at 11:43 am

    I will be so much like “Betta Mummy” when going back to work next week after 8 months of maternity leave! Aw well, it was nice while it lasted…good to know I won’t be alone in those feelings! :S (btw, I do have that drawer as well..haha)
    #chucklemums

    Reply
  • Turning Up In Devon 27/09/2016 at 11:50 am

    I had to have a good giggle at the handbag compare and contrast. I got myself a ‘nice’ one as a present when my youngest started school, so from a distance it’s quite Alpha but on closer inspection its now falling part with the prerequisite crumbs/moulding raisins and two week old snot filled tissues!! Hob Nobs – the only biscuit you can really trust in a double dunk scenario! #chucklemums

    Reply
  • Single Mum Speaks 27/09/2016 at 2:05 pm

    Back again from #chucklemums and still loving this post. Especially feeling it today as I had to rush off from work this morning due to a poorly Piglet!

    Reply
  • Kristin McCarthy 27/09/2016 at 2:41 pm

    You need to compile a book with these illustrations. No joke they are so hilarious and spot on.

    #chuckemums

    Reply
  • One Messy Mama 27/09/2016 at 4:35 pm

    I’ve only been a SAHM for a year, but I can remember those rushed mornings getting everyone out the house, surviving on no breakfast and too many coffee’s… Trying to look professional but feeling like a total wombat on steroids :)… #chucklemums

    Reply
  • Twin Pickle 27/09/2016 at 5:02 pm

    I just love your sketches! Before seeing them I wasn’t really certain if I was aplha or beta but I can now confirm I am beta. That work sketch was exactly me, hahaha. I say was because I went back after my frirst. Now I have the twins, unless I was to earn £-50 a week, there really is no point me going back. On the path to aplha 😉

    Reply
  • Sophie- My Mumblings 27/09/2016 at 5:22 pm

    I have one month left of my maternity leave then I will be up on the high end of that see-saw with you (wearing my comfy passable work shoes clutching my hand bag of raisins). Fab read, I have just had to be asked what I’m smirking at (while we are all sat with Clangers as background sound) and I said “It’s Beta Mummy and her highly accurate drawings again!”. 😂 Love it xx

    Reply
  • Alana - Burnished Chaos 27/09/2016 at 6:23 pm

    I’m a sahm and struggle to get everyone out the house by 8:45 to get the oldest to school, how on earth you do it a whole hour earlier I will never know, I take my hat off to you. Actually, no I won’t, it’s the only thing hiding the unwashed hair that hasn’t seen a pair of scissors or a brush in months. I agree with Tin McCarthy, you definitely need to put all these illustrations in a book, they’re hilarious x
    #Chucklemums

    Reply
  • MMT 27/09/2016 at 6:31 pm

    Ha ha, love it. I ponder which Mummy am I? Seemingly neither Alpha or Beta in this scenario. I must be Gamma-Mum, or as I prefer to call her, Gammy-Mum currently infected with lurgy and dragging two kids around 7 days a week. Hence need cheering up and making a rare appearance at #chucklemums!

    Reply
    • Beta Mummy 27/09/2016 at 6:34 pm

      Gammy-Mum – oh dear! I have lurgy too, so you have my sympathies. Mumming is awful when you’re feeling crappy xx

      Reply
  • Donna Mills 27/09/2016 at 6:33 pm

    Eh, are shoulder pads back in? I’m bloody clueless 😂 #chucklemums

    Reply
    • Beta Mummy 27/09/2016 at 6:35 pm

      I actually have no idea, but I thought it sounded good…! 😉

      Reply
  • Twin Pickle 27/09/2016 at 6:46 pm

    I’m not really sure if my comment came through to you as wordpress went weird on me. But just like to say, love love love your sketches 🙂 #chucklemums

    Reply
    • Beta Mummy 27/09/2016 at 6:49 pm

      It did – but happy to be told twice! 😉 Thank you 🙂 x

      Reply
  • Baby Anon 27/09/2016 at 8:10 pm

    Ha ha,the elusive work/life balance which Mother is constantly trying to maintain. She is definitely more in the beta mummy camp – baby meltdown, pesto explosion in fridge and running late this morning all set her up for a full day at work. P.s. Just like you, she blooming well enjoys working too – don’t think she could cope on a full time basis. Love your sketches – v talented lady x #chucklemums

    Reply
  • Twicemicrowaved tea 27/09/2016 at 9:11 pm

    Such a funny post and so true too. When I was working I felt exactly the same about not being able to do well enough at work or at home. Since I’ve left, I don’t have to worry about failing at work anymore, but I still worry just the same about whether I’m doing enough at home! #chucklemums

    Reply
  • absolutely prabulous 28/09/2016 at 10:18 am

    I think I say this every time I comment on a post of yours but I’m just head over heels in love/awe of your illustrations. It’s just ridiculous how talented you are. And obviously I have to share a post that mentions an itchy willy. Because. Juvenile (me not you). #chucklemums

    Reply
    • Beta Mummy 28/09/2016 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks Prabs 🙂 And I am pretty juvenile! Gotta laugh at an itchy willy. xx

      Reply
  • Alison (MadHouseMum) 28/09/2016 at 1:07 pm

    Have you got a book deal? If Hurrah for Gin can do it…Your drawings are perfect for a book 🙂 Alison x #chucklemums

    Reply
    • Beta Mummy 28/09/2016 at 2:31 pm

      Working on it…! 😉 x

      Reply
  • Nursery Whines 28/09/2016 at 2:26 pm

    Really great post. Funny but also appreciate your frankness about the impossibility of work life balance. #chucklemums

    Reply
  • and another ten things 28/09/2016 at 7:29 pm

    You’re so right – you feel like you’re doing a slightly shit job at both parenting and work. At least this way though I can kid myself that if I didn’t work I would be alpha-mum, when I suspect the reality is I’d still be a bit shit but more often. #chucklemums

    Reply
  • Rhyming with Wine 28/09/2016 at 8:46 pm

    It really is bloody hard work as both technically require all of our time and attention, but we are actually each just one person *pfft* A drawer full of hobnobs that don’t need sharing or to be eaten in the loo is makes it all so very worth it though! 😂 Loved this! Thanks for hosting #chucklemums x

    Reply
  • Bridie By The Sea 29/09/2016 at 1:31 pm

    Love this – I have just begun my work life balance routine and it is bloody hard. I constantly feel like I’m running from A to B and never quite putting enough in. I do feel it’s the right thing for me, but that see-saw will be forever imbalanced I reckon. xx

    Reply
  • Fran @ Whinge Whinge Wine 29/09/2016 at 3:07 pm

    I am pretty sure that EVERYONE is just hanging on by a thread. No one really has their shit together. Right?? Love hobnobs #chucklemums

    Reply
  • Jenny 30/09/2016 at 12:47 pm

    I’m pretty sure the mark of an alpha mummy is shoulder pads, that’s how you spot them! And I can totally relate to rocking up at work in flats with crumpled clothes. I also would sport chipped nail varnish and inch-long roots. There is no work-life balance, it can only be done if you give up that pesky habit of sleeping!

    #Chucklemums

    Reply
  • Lisa Pomerantz 02/10/2016 at 9:15 pm

    The words, the illustrations, the reality and the humor all rolled together! I love it! M’wah! #chucklemums

    Reply
  • An imperfect mum (Catie) 03/10/2016 at 7:27 am

    Fabulous post hun! Oh god I will be joining you on the end of that seesaw at least we might balance it out a bit together! Thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT 🎉

    Reply
  • #EatSleepBlogRT - Week 8 - 09/10/2016 at 7:47 pm

    […] hope they get all the answers they need soon.  Catie’s favourite this week was from the the brilliant Beta mummy with work/life balance. Grab yourselves a Top Post […]

    Reply
  • Bee | www.betterthanbusy.com 15/10/2016 at 12:41 am

    This is so fabulous! I’m definitely beta mum. I have turned up to work and discovered that I have mascara on only one eye, that I’ve forgotten my shoes and all manner of such delights. I regularly find porridge etc on my pants leg at toddler height. Do you draw these pictures yourself? I’m just about in love with this 🙂

    Reply
    • Beta Mummy 15/10/2016 at 7:04 am

      Yes all the pictures on my blog are by me 🙂 Thanks for commenting x

      Reply

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