When I started this blog what feels like a million years ago, I had the dream day job – I was a video game and tech journalist with the biggest site in South Africa. It was a dream come true, where I spent my days writing about video games, traveling around the world to play video games, reviewing some of the latest and greatest technology and I even got to attend E3 and Gamescom. I always told people it was the dream job, even though the pay wasn’t great and it turned playing some games into a slog.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to connect with moms from across South Africa and the world. Moms from countries where women are fully equal to men and moms from countries where they are still fighting for every ounce of recognition and appreciation. While almost every woman will assert that she loves her husband, that he is helpful and she couldn’t do it all without him, most are still frustrated by a lack of appreciation for all that they do. Even worse, some partners truly don’t even see what they do. So it’s time for us all put our foot down together, to claim what is our true role – we are the head of the household.
Now, let’s be clear here for a moment. If you’re familiar with American tax law, or just traditional family dynamics, you’ll know that men/husbands are typically considered the head of the household because it refers to the person who pays 50% or more of the household’s expenses. And yes, finances are important and can’t be downplayed – we all need money to live. Without someone earning the money, we wouldn’t have shelter, food, medical attention, education… the list goes on and on. But if money simply poured into a household, it still wouldn’t necessarily be allocated to the right places and life wouldn’t magically be organized for everyone. No, that’s the role of the real head of the household, the woman.
Role models are strange things. I’ve written about them in other contexts, like looking at Aloy or Lara Croft as gaming-based role models for Harley as she grows up. But it’s not just impressionable young people who need role models, although of course, they do. Adults continue to need others that they can admire in some ways, and it’s a strange thing to put myself in that category. It makes me a bit self-conscious, and a bit awkward, but I also feel proud enough about it that I have to share.
Way back when, I promised that I wouldn’t apologize for being a working mom. My thought was that it is who I am, and I was going to bring Harley along with me to meetings or whatever needed doing, and carry on living my life as a working woman. While I have done that with great success, it hasn’t always been easy. I was particularly worried about the #AcerForGaming event – I was going to be working all evening, helping to get other ladies playing on consoles and PCs. How could I do that if Harley was difficult or tired or whatever else. I was really torn about it, but decided I had to take her – I couldn’t present myself as a working mom gamer without my kid – and I’m SO glad that I brought her.
Having Harley in nursery school has changed my life. For a few (surprisingly short) hours of the day, I have time to do the things I need to get done. Mostly, that’s work. But sometimes it can include a quick waxing appointment, some yoga, or writing some words here. She just goes for the mornings, and those mornings go by ridiculously quickly. But they still make a huge difference, and I’m so incredibly grateful for them. Nursery school is fantastic, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
When Harley started, she would cry. Like, a lot. Not just at drop off… she would scream and cry throughout the day. I was really wondering if it was just too traumatic for her, if I was making a horrible mistake. Every morning when I would drop her off and she would wail, I felt like the worst possible mother – not just because I would leave her while she was upset, but because I so desperately needed that time apart. I was filled with so much guilt, feeling like the worst mom on the planet. Now, things are way easier, so here are some things to keep in mind (and do) to make starting nursery school as easy as possible.
I hate when you ask someone how they are and they respond with “busy”. Which is why it grates me that I’ve sorta become one of those people. It’s not on purpose, I swear. I don’t mean it to minimize how busy other people might be, or to somehow glorify the idea that I’m so busy. It’s more an issue of time, and my severe lack of it. Time is such a precious resource, and I’m increasingly aware of how little of it I have each day. Between work, playing taxi service for the husband and kid, and then trying to still get done all the day to day life stuff (dishes, cooking dinner, etc) that needs doing, I feel like I really don’t have any time.
That said, I’ve continued with my daily yoga, going into my third month of it now. I really love the videos from Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, and she often talks about how hard it can be to just get on the mat, turn on the video, carving out time for yourself in the day. And yet, once I’m there, I love it, and I relax and focus and remember that I can always pick up my to-do list again when the video is over. So, in that same spirit, I’m trying to carve some time out of my day for something I’ve been struggling to find time for lately – blogging. I really wanted to connect with people more this year – it’s even one of my main goals for the year – but I feel like I’ve been dropping the ball when it came to blogging, so this is me, carving out the time in the day to write some words about what’s been going on, and making a commitment to continue to do so more often.