I used to think women who were housewives and mothers had not reached their full potential. I assumed that they had put their real life 'on hold' while they 'got over' the kids and housewife stage. I mean how hard could it be to spend all day at home with a baby that sits in their rocker and coos?
So when I discovered I was pregnant, I imagined all the time I'd have to read, to play the piano, to tame my garden. I'd take the baby swimming once a week, we'd take walks in the park, and sit in coffee shops with her quietly in her pram while I read the paper and drank my coffee. After a while I'd go back to work while she went to nursery and my life controlling businesses around the world would resume.
How wrong, no, how naive I was. Being a Mother is the hardest job in the world, and the most important. A child requires 100% of your mental capacity and as much love and attention as you have. There's no 'you' time anymore, all your waking hours you are a Mum. So you are 'at work' 24/7 and it's critical you do your best. You're helping a young person become a fully functional part of society. It's up to Mums to remind children to say thank you, to look before crossing the road, to first show a child how to hold cutlery.
Managing a house with a little one doing their best to undo everything you just did behind you is exhausting. The challenge of keeping yourself, your little one and your other half clean and fed takes a huge amount of time. And leaving the house? Making sure you have everything you need is a logistical task that a term at Sandhurst would half prepare you for.
I'm glad I trained as a professional project manager - I'm used to planning, managing multiple small tasks at once, and presenting a professional face to 'sponsors' while knowing it's all a sham because underneath the surface things are not quite finished.
How women without this training cope I don't know, but my hat is definitely off to them. I've managed multimillion pound programmes of work all around the world, and I can tell you now, being a Mother and a Housewife is MUCH harder.