A few weeks ago Today FM newsreader Susan Keogh responded absolutely brilliantly to an internet troll on Twitter who told her she shouldn’t have a child and a job. The incident, not that I have ever been trolled, got me thinking about my life as a working mother.
A lot of people are more familiar with my name from the sports pages of the Leinster Leader; I was deputy sports editor of the Kildare based paper for eight years. It’s been quite a few months since my byline appeared in the sports pages however.
For those eight years I worked alongside and for an absolute gent of a boss and I loved it. Many (mostly male) friends used to tell me I had the best job ever and yes it was great but everything changed when Aidan came along and even more so after Sarah was born. Mid-week, for four days anyway, I was office based for the most part. I used to have a Tuesday off with the kids, in lieu of any weekend work.
It was the weekend work that was the real killer though. For four days a week Aidan and Sarah were looked after by someone else, granted a super someone else, but not their mammy. And then come the weekend I’d disappear for long chunks at a time and spend most Sunday evenings with my head in a laptop writing reports. It wasn’t just me it affected either. Daddy Chambers had to be at home to look after the smallies if I was working, so making weekend plans was difficult for him too.
I lost count of how many family events I missed at the weekends because I was working. Now I never missed weddings or funerals are anything very important but I did miss my neice and nephews’ birthday parties, christenings and general gatherings with family and friends. I never hated my job but I hated the fact that almost everyone else in my circle could down tools and enjoy the weekend with their families. It wasn’t always that way, there was a great social element to being a sports reporter but socialising goes out the window when kids come along!
There was never a question of me not going back to work after having Aidan and Sarah. Financially I had to and, like Susan Keogh, I enjoy working. Personally being a stay at home mammy isn’t for me but it was all about getting the balance right.
I have a degree in journalism and editorial design and now I’m utilising the the other side of my qualification. I don’t work weekends anymore and I love it. On Saturdays and Sundays all four of us are together as a family. Some weekends we do nothing. Some weekends we visit Galway to see nanny and gaga Chambers or head to Navan to see granny O’Brien but the most important thing is we do it together. On rainy days we curl up on the sofa and watch a movie and I don’t have to worry about heading off and standing out in the rain covering a local championship game. I don’t have to walk out on a sick child or children and leave Daddy Chambers doing it all.
We all have dinner together on a Sunday evening, I’m not trawling through teams and scorers anymore.
Aidan and Sarah now always have one of us each to push them on the swings in the playground; I don’t have to worry about a National League game clashing with Aidan’s birthday this year; I won’t miss my nephew’s fourth birthday in Galway later this month, or his sister’s birthday and the end of March. Life is good. Weekends are good.
My love for sport hasn’t faded mind you. I still go out to watch games, except now I get to pick and choose which ones. Sometimes we all go. I love taking Aidan to St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge. He loves it. Maybe one day he’ll play in it. I hope so anyway.