Hello from the other side

It’s a full two months since I finished up in the IFSC so it seems like as good a time as any for an update on life as a WAHM.


Summer holidays – I feel like I’ve discovered a secret world of amazingness. The heady mix of no office and no school-run has been going on for less than a week now, but I’m still delightedly surprised every night when I have to get absolutely nothing ready for the next morning – not for them and not for me. Having said that, the bickering has been non-stop all week, and there are times when I’d gladly swap it for a stint at my old desk. It’s just the wind-down from school and/ or the heat, right? Right?

Work – one of the biggest highlights was having a feature published in July’s Image Magazine – about women who have left full-time jobs to start their own businesses. I felt very glossy.

Image feature - Andrea Mara

And overall, freelancing has been going surprisingly well, though of course I tell myself constantly that each week is an exception and it won’t always be this good. Hopefully that’s Impostor Syndrome and not an accurate prediction.

Reality Bites

I mentioned that my first month had gone well – getting the kids to school on time, not shouting – I even made them omelettes one morning. There’s been some slippage. Month two was not so organised. Anyway, nobody needs an omelette before school.

Truth Time

When I worked in an office, I often felt guilty at bedtime, realising that I hadn’t had quality time with the kids. But the great thing was, it wasn’t really my fault. I was at work all day, and rushing around doing homework and dinner and bedtime in the evening.

Two months in to being at home with them, I’ve realised that it’s pretty much the same. There are many nights when I kiss them goodnight, wondering what we did all day. It feels like a constant swirl of school-runs and homework and cooking and clearing up and emptying the dishwasher over and over and over.

The difference is though, back then, it wasn’t my fault. But now it kind of is. I don’t have the “I was in the office all day” to fall back on. On paper the guilt is lessened, because I’m here with them all day, but in reality, it’s worse, because I’m not making the most of it.

So if you’re a working mum who wishes she could be at home, take heart – it’s not all rosy over on this side. Although of course, you might be much better at it than I am – that’s highly likely.

Teach a Man to Fish

My biggest achievement this month has been teaching the girls how to get their own drinks of water and milk. So something that was taking up 80% of my time now only takes up about 20% (mopping spillages). I suspect I’m the last person in Ireland to have figured out the maths on this.

kids cooking - office mum
putting them to work

We’re off on holidays tomorrow, flying instead of ferrying for the first time with all three of them. I imagine it’ll be plane sailing (sorry, sorry!) and there’ll be no bloggable stories at all. At all.

See you in two weeks!


This week’s Her Family piece is about working from home – why it’s so great, and how to ask for it: Why working from home is the business

And if your child is due to start junior infants in September, this is a piece I wrote for Mothers and Babies with the Independent: Taking the stress out of big school

Big school - Independent - Mothers and Babies - Andrea Mara



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12 thoughts on “Hello from the other side”

    1. That made me laugh this morning!! Yes, I tend to schedule new posts for around the same time each morning 🙂

  1. I’m on maternity at the moment and I swear there are days, like Monday when cleaning up after the weekend takes forever, that I feel I haven’t spent any quality time with Austin. But I take heart in the fact that I babble non stop about the tidying so at least he’s getting a good basis for words and maybe installing a propensity for cleaning that will come in handy when he’s a teenager! Enjoy your holidays!

    1. I feel like that too – I’m sure that if I’m doing stuff in the house but chatting to them at the same time, it has to be better than nothing. I hope!

  2. Enjoy the holiday! I can definitely relate to the feeling of not having done anything, or spent any quality time together despite being home all day. I like to tell myself it’s good for their independence to have to amuse themselves some days.
    Stuff and Nothing recently posted…Behold the evil frisbeeMy Profile

  3. Glad I’m not the only one who spends the day with the toddler and then wonders what quality time we actually spent together! Happy to hear the freelancing is going so well for you 🙂 One of my favourite reads this week.
    Lisa – Four Walls, Rainy Days recently posted…Little LovesMy Profile

  4. There will always be guilt but they don’t need you on hand allllll the time. I think they do more learning and growing when they are pottering along on their own. They need that time too so don’t feel guilty. And the freedom from lunchboxes is great. Mine seem to eat more during the holidays and the kitchen is always a mess. But so what. We all need to take pleasure from your achievements and pat ourselves on the back for keeping all the balls in the air at the same time. Happy Holidays!

  5. Glad to see that it all seems to be working out just fine. Sounds alike a good balance 🙂 Congrats on the move to WAHM-ness and on the Image piece! x

  6. Congratulations on your ongoing successes! And I am sure it’s just the beginning.

    I had the same thoughts today in fact, that I don’t spend that much quality time with my kids, even though I am home with them 5 days a week. Perhaps because today I felt extremely tired. And I was guilty I didn’t feel like joining my toddlers in their play. But I know that they love having me home, despite all the fun with other kids in creche.

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