Monday 27 February 2017

Rearing family is work, so let's pay for it

My single biggest regret as a mother is spending so much time working outside the home, says Miriam O'Callaghan

Miriam O'Callaghan

Balancing act: Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Margulies, in the TV show 'The Good Wife' finds it difficult returning to work as a lawyer having taken a long career break to raise her family Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images
Balancing act: Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Margulies, in the TV show 'The Good Wife' finds it difficult returning to work as a lawyer having taken a long career break to raise her family Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS via Getty Images

It's Friday. A sunny afternoon in late May. I'm almost 42 weeks pregnant and on Monday I'm booked in for "dynamite". Long walks, the potholes of Wicklow and a Pacific Rim of vindaloos are no match for this child's obstinacy. But now, around 5pm, there's a delinquent pain. A definite stirring. The phone rings. It's my best and favourite client. "Sorry but we need another speech for the Finland trip." "I'm in labour," I say. "Don't worry," comes the reply, "it's only a short one."

My daughter is born with the dawn and five days after an emergency caesarean I'm back at my desk at home, cradling her in a rose-pink sling. When you work for yourself, it's No-Mun-No-Fun. The mortgage must be paid and with two children, costs aren't doubled, they're squared.

After five months of 14-hour work days and 24/7 breast-feeding, I'm back at another desk. Or rather in front of it. Thin. Dazed. Our wonderful GP is prescribing two kinds of therapy. Sleep and talk. Did they work? Yes. Did I learn? Not on your nelly.

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