Any working mum will tell you that you don’t just have “a” job, you have at least three!
-Your “actual” job
-Running the house
-Looking after the kids
No matter how “good” your husband is, responsibility for most of the above will fall to you.
It is no different in Spain on the Sunny Costa del Sol. In fact, with the day split in half by the traditionally long Spanish lunch break, my working day seems even longer.
My day normally starts at 7am, having already been woken up by my husband’s alarm at 6am (hubby works in Gibraltar and leaves the house at 7am). I usually allow myself half an hour to get myself showered etc. before attempting to wake up my 9 year old son. This is usually interrupted by my 14 year old daughter. “Mum,I can’t get my hair to go right”, “Mum, where’s my pink top?” (School uniform is not compulsory in Manilva primary school and non-existent in the secondary.) Heaven forbid, I might mention that her skirt might be just a little too short for school! Anyone with teenage daughters will understand, anyone with younger daughters, you’ve got this to look forward to!!
Anyway, back to my day:-
7.30amAttempt to wake my son
7.40amDaughter leaves for school – early start for secondary schools in Spain – lessons start at
7.45amDrag son out of bed!
8amAll dressed (hopefully!) and downstairs preparing breakfast, emptying dishwasher, feeding the dog, making sure son has got his correct books and break time snack packed in his school bag and so on……..All this while my son and usually the dog, curl up on the sofa watching tv. I’m obviously going wrong somewhere!
8.45amTake son to school. To be honest he could probably take himself as he usually runs on ahead with his mates, but the dog needs a walk and it’s a good excuse for me to have a 5 minute gossip with the other Manilva mums!
9.10(ish-depending on length of gossip!) Back from school. Sometimes I try to catch up on a few household chores for half an hour, or I may need to go to the bank or supermarket before work. I am lucky in that my working day doesn’t start until 10am so I have a little time to get a few things done. Fortunately too, I only have to “commute” five minutes down the hill to the office. Sometimes in the height of summer when there are lots of tourists here, it takes me longer to park the car than the journey itself!
10am – 2pm. Morning shift in the office (Hamilton Insurance in Sabinillas). I have to try to leave the office pretty promptly as my son finishes school at 2pm. Luckily, a friend collects him and walks him home with her kids as it’s on her way home anyway, but I don’t like to keep her waiting too long as she is doing me a huge favour really.
2.15pm – 3.45pm Lunchtime!! I start by taking the dog around the corner for a quick “wee”. I then send my son upstairs to get changed out of his uniform. This can take up to 20 minutes as finding that particular car that he hasn’t played with for months is far more important than maths homework!!
Having finally managed to get him settled with his homework, I then attempt to prepare as much of the evening meal as possible. Even though we have lived in Spain for almost five years, we have never adopted the Spanish custom of having a big meal (and a sleep!) at lunchtime. Partly because hubby works in Gibraltar and I have to cook for him in the evening anyway so I might as well feed the family all together and partly because if I ate a three course lunch and then slept there is absolutely no way I would be fit to work in the afternoon. Preparations for dinner vary depending on what we are having. I have to be organised and plan the menu for the week, a week in advance. Most of my friends think I’m mad but I just couldn’t cope with getting home after 7pm and then trying to decide what to cook!
My daughter normally arrives home around 3pm (ManilvaSecondary school finishes at 2.30pm). Having prepared dinner, bought in and sorted the laundry, done some ironing, helped the kids with their homework, left hubby instructions for dinner (nothing too complicated – put oven on at 6 o’clock!!), generally tidied up and made some lunch for the kids, I’ve just about got time to grab a quick bite to eat myself before jumping in the car and heading back to the office. And they call it a lunch break!!!!
4pm-7pmBack in the office for the afternoon shift, hoping that hubby has followed the instructions or we’ll be eating chicken casserole at 9pm when my son should have been in bed at 8.30pm!
7.15pm-8.30pm Arrive back home where I have a quick “catch-up” with hubby. I put finishing touches to dinner, eat, clear up and make a packed lunch for hubby for the next day (I’m not that dedicated that I’ll get up at 6.30am to make a sandwich!). My son goes to bed between 8.30pm and 9pm and my daughter usually follows soon afterwards.
9pm Finally collapse in a heap on the sofa in front of the TV!!! By Friday night, having also squeezed in the weekly shop, forget partying – I’m usually asleep before the kids!!
Being a working mum is not easy anywhere but I love my job. I have always worked, even when the kids were small and after two years of being “a lady of leisure” when we first came to Spain, I was going “brain-dead”! There are only so many “coffee mornings” one can take!
My working day is 7 hours long but in effect, as many mums out there will no doubt agree, we actually “work” much longer. 7am -9pm , I make that a 14 hour day!