#IWD2020 - A day in the life of a single mum
In this #MakingWorkVisible blog, Lynsey Calderwood takes us through a typical day as a full time worker, and full time mum.
When people are asked what they work, full time or part time, I never know how to answer that. Yes I work, and yes I work full time, however I am really only paid for that 35 hours a week. The rest of my time is spent caring and looking after my three children, and I'm doing that on my own. Being a single parent wasn’t my choice however for the past 9 years, since my youngest child was 5 months old, I have being doing it all on my own. My youngest child also has additional needs so that adds a little bit of craziness to our usual day.
My usual day starts at 6am (after a night of 4-5 hours of broken sleep). 6am is my favourite time of the day as I get to shower in peace and it's my time to myself. Once I'm ready it's time to get a wash on and make the packed lunches before the kids wake up. (I say wake up but what I really mean is woken up around 6 or 7 times before they actually get out their pits.) It’s then a mad rush to get them all out the door for school and work. If it's a good day the floors have been washed and we have all brushed our teeth!!
Now they are at school and I've put in a shift already, I go to my paid job. Woohoo I get a lunch break which means 30 minutes to myself however there is usually a school to phone or a medical appointment to make, sometimes even a nip to the shop to get something needed for a school trip and so on. I can’t actually remember the last time I sat down and ate a lunch with my colleagues.
Ahhh it's now 5ish and I get to finish at my paid work…but then the real job starts again. I pick them all up and hopefully head home, sometimes we have to go to the shops to get the usual milk, bread and dinner stuff. We are home and then I have to make the dinner. As I'm making dinner I'm also sorting homework, putting washing on, clearing the chaos of the morning and brushing the floors. Dinner time comes and goes and I clear up, washing the dishes and putting them away. Then its bath times, hairs to do, ironing and general cleaning and tidying. Then the dreaded bedtime! Finally by 11pm (on a good night) they are sleeping. Me? No chance. I've got bills to pay, bills to ignore, school bags to sort, uniforms to organise, and then finally bed. Have I watched tv? No. Have I relaxed? No. But I'm exhausted so I fall asleep ready to get up at 6am and do it all again. I'm a single mum with 3 children and I work ‘full time’ - in reality I work all the time but I only get paid 35 hours a week.