Working mum abandons city life for a frolick in the hills

This is my current daydream.  Giving it all up for a frolick in the hills.

Now I may have been watching too much Sound of Music.  As Beaver’s film/musical education has progressed to Mary Poppins it’s fair to say that Julie Andrews is well and truly ingrained in my subconscious.

But doesn’t frolicking over the hills seem like a lovely way to spend your days?  My lovely Australian friend is doing it.  She’s given up the sirens for silence and left London for a self-sustained life in Australia (you can find her blog here, if you’re after some inspiration).

So, there are people brave enough.

Right now, our current pace of life means there is not enough frolicking in our world.  There is lots of b*****king but I don’t think that’s quite the same thing.

Since Beaver started school, our home-work-life balance has taken a whole new hit.  On my work days, my blood pressure starts to rise at about 6.46 AM and it comes down somewhere around 9.59 PM.

There are so many more variables involved.  Getting out of the house is driven by precision.  And Beaver’s mood.  If she’s grumpy, I’m in trouble.  And my 8 minute turnaround for drop-off means I’ll probably have to leave a screaming child at the school gates, with someone else’s parent.

Pick up is equally hairy.  Once I’ve remembered where Beaver and Godivy actually are.

Last night, it was almost 8.30 PM by the time I’d picked the girls up from their various locations, bathed them, milked them and read to them.

Daddy Pig and I ate dinner at 9.30 PM.  Because rather than have a fridge filled with ready-meals, I had decided on Sunday (when presumably I was existing in some parallel, relaxed universe) that THIS is the week I will cook a proper meal EVERY evening.

This decision has proved to be a) unrealistic b) a burden and c) plain stupid.

But the lack of said ready-meals means that if we want to eat, I do indeed have to cook.  I have literally held myself to ransom with a wooden spoon.  Last night, as I stood mixing raw meat with my bare hands, I wished the fridge was full of chicken kievs.  Who wants to be chopping mint and coriander and making meatballs from scratch at 9.00 PM on a Tuesday evening?  Not me.  Lesson learned.

I’m beginning to think that something has got to give.  And it’s not just the home cooking.  Whilst this lifestyle is obviously sustainable (millions of us do it), it is not particularly fulfilling.  Or balanced.

A working mum with two kids at nursery was just about doable.  A working mum with one at nursery and one at school is a completely different matter.  The logistics are exhausting and the mental labour involved is just bonkers.

I’m not alone.  A recent US study found that working mums spend 29 hours a week thinking about and planning all the details of family life.  If you work part-time, that’s probably more time than you actually spend at work.  Crazy?  Yes I think so too.

So what to do?

The answer is not simple and it’s not the same for everyone.    It depends on why you work.  And what systems you have in place to make it work.

But if the effort is beginning to outweigh the value it’s probably time to have a rethink.

And head for the hills.

Whatever your ‘hill’ may be.




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    13 thoughts on “Working mum abandons city life for a frolick in the hills

    1. Anna

      I’m exhausted just reading your life! It is crazy how much time we are thinking thinking planning planning. The logistics are crazy but what can you do?
      Before I had kids I wondered why mums were all about the routine. Now I know why, it’s the only way we know where we are supposed to be one hour to the next!
      Sounds like your doing great though, it can only get easier with time. Surely!!?? X

    2. Jo

      Hey, having two children myself (exactly the same ages as yours) I feel your pain/dilema (whatever you want to call it!) I gave up work four weeks ago after twice returning to work from mat leave – and I finally gave in to the mounting pressure of being a working mum. I would call it more a ‘jump out of a plane’ than ‘heading into the hills’! That is how it felt for me. Who knows what will become of me – now that I have cut all ties to the working world (although I still job hunt nearly every day – I am not sure what is wrong with me!) – it very much feels like an unknown. My days are much more crazy – no more lunch breaks in Eat, or shopping on Oxford Street, but, my evenings are no way near as manic and that is great! Good luck x

      1. Amy RansomAmy Ransom Post author

        Good for you, Jo. The unknown is good, I think. Taking a risk and finding a better way to live. I’m in awe and salute your courage. I’d give up Eat and Oxford Street for 7.00 PM bedtime! Let me know how you get on x

    3. Angela

      Oh Amy! Sounds exhausting. But at least you have a washing machine. And a dishwasher. I currently am living without either and I keep wondering (as I washup at 10pm) when did I sign up to this life of domesticity? I was always meant to have a career and be taking over the world by now?! I am currently in dispute with John Lewis as they refused to connect the new washing machine (so it is sitting in the garage, all wrapped up in plastic, mocking me as I tredge to the launderette). Never mind! I did laugh when I read that you “milked” Beaver and Godivy! 🙂 can’t wait to see u soon xxx

    4. Daisy White

      Love your blog Amy – cracks me up every time! And how do I manage to be a working mum? Badly, which is why I am still typing work emails on the laptop in the kitchen at 1920, screeching at my youngest as he slides down the bannnisters (again) and burning dinner with the other hand (again)…

    5. Nell Heshram

      It sounds as though a holiday is in order! Have you considered trying to convince your office to relocate to the Highlands? No? Ah well. Either way, I take my hat off to you. I stay at home with the kids full-time, and I have NEVER managed to cook a proper meal every evening..

    6. Mummy Whisperer

      It was my first week ‘going to work’ in 10yrs this week at my new Salon/Spa.
      I lost childcare for willow on monday, strike for max on wednesday, and now willow has a sore throat – argh!
      There are loads of clever bloggers who do the slow cooker thing – maybe that would help you? I cook from scratch, but never more than 3 ingredients, and only super speedy on Mon & tues with after school clubs – one day with wraps, scrambled egg, or something like that is fine for the kids (we eat with them – you are brave to cook again!).

      1. Amy RansomAmy Ransom Post author

        Congratulations Lisa! How is it going? Aside from the untimely childcare dilemmas… the slow cooker is a good idea, you’re right. Mediocre Mum lives on hers doesn’t she. Thanks, I’ll give that a try. I only managed two out of the four menu plans this week!

    7. Jennifer

      Oh darling you make me laugh! You would laugh at me too if you could see my frolicking that goes on now I am a country girl working in the city. Getting the kids out the door in time for the train is like wrenching a bone out of a Rottweilers jaws, messy, dangerous and bloody scary. I am now ticking one of my bucket list items off of running a marathon the only problem is that it’s not all at once just three times a week, twice a day and two and from the station in heels! The juggling of my self sufficient life and trying to earn some $$ comes at a cost and with some questions. Unfortunately, I can’t sell that much jam to live off the profits, I have to check my hands for ground in dirt from the vege patch before meetings and when I do make money it doesn’t go on Vivienne Westwood shoes anymore, it goes on buying either another cow or an electric fence! So before you girls go and throw in the city life for the country escape here are a couple of things to think about
      1) you can get a decent delivery or take away on your way home when you’re running late
      2) a ready meal doesn’t mean someone else has shot it for you
      3) part of your pre work planning doesn’t involve lighting a fire for your heating before you go to work
      4) bringing home the bacon doesn’t actually mean the pig as well
      5) it’s very, very, very quiet in the country, that is until the weekend and every thing resembling a man finds a power tool or lawnmower (ride on of course) and you can smell the testosterone and 2 stroke mix until midday Tuesday.
      There is always room here for a farm stay to pick some fruit and rustle some sheep, as long as you get my kids up and ready for me to get to work xxx


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