Out of office

There is nothing like that moment you turn on those triple Os. Out. Of. Office.

20 days annual leave a year and little feels more precious when you’re in the hamster wheel of work. For that sweet day, week, fortnight ahead, with one click the daily grind is waved goodbye. “I’m out of the office and really don’t give a &#@% until I return.”

I’ve pondered greatly on the topic of motherhood as work as I enter the second half of maternity leave. As the ‘of course you’re off work’ bubble begins to burst and the ifs, buts and whens of returning to office life set in.

Without doubt, for now, motherhood is my occupation. My daughter is my best work and most stretching role. She’s my biggest achievement and greatest challenge. Nothing has been more rewarding and nothing has called on me to give more.

There are no days off, no sick days, no public holidays. No new offices or different teams. Few promotions and a different kind of pay. No out of office.

Last week my inbox filled with messages from Mummy friends “needing a day off Mummying” or “contemplating a Mummy strike” as nights of lost sleep clocked up and minutes of cranky babies merged into hours.

Each comment followed with a large helping of guilt, regret and the realisation that tomorrow they’d wish they’d never uttered the words.

But as mums it’s ok to feel like you can’t for that moment, hour, day or even week. It’s when we as a community of mothers must pull together more and our partners must lean in. It’s when we must push aside the feelings of FOMO and accept any help available. When time for us, as individuals, not mothers, becomes essential because everyone needs a day off sometimes.