Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Working with kids (and animals)

We have all been a bit under the weather for the past two weeks. I spent a couple of days in bed with the flu, and it has taken me a while to recover. There aren't many occasions as a mother that you get to lie around in bed all day, and if I hadn't felt quite so unwell I might have actually enjoyed my days of leisure. The rain poured down and the wind whipped the red and gold leaves of the Liquid Amber tree into a frenzy outside my window.

And then the rabbit got sick. Storm lay listless in his hutch, his eyes oozing.  He has myxomatosis, but one of the less virulent strains which he may yet survive. Having yet another body to nurse felt like more than I could muster energy for. I called the vet and started drip feeding him electrolytes, keeping him warm in a washing basket lined with straw by the fire.

When the vet came to visit this morning she had her six-week old son tucked under one arm. I bounced him on my knee while she injected Storm with antibiotics. We sat on the rug and breastfed our boys while discussing the treatment plan for our Storm bunny. And it was just so inspiring to see somebody combining new motherhood and work with such grace and ease.

I have been reporting for the local newspaper for a month now. I do my interviews over the telephone if I can. But I have always preferred to talk in person, especially if it is for a colour piece requiring a bit more human emotion. For my first face-to-face interview I felt it was very important that Quinn be asleep. So I put him in the pram and went for a walk around the river in the sunshine before pushing my sleeping boy up to the hospital and parking the pram in a quiet corner. He woke towards the end of the interview and sat on my lap eating chocolate biscuits from the tea tray while I finished up my questions.

My co-reporter has since accompanied me to a building site where he sat on a pile of packaging, ripping up pieces of polystyrene. He tipped toys all over the floor while charming the nannas at the Country Women's Association. And he comes in quite handy as a photographic prop too. It is the sitting down and writing of the stories that Quinn rails against. So my times for writing are limited to when he is asleep, or Grant is home. We are having fun as a mother and son reporting team - it sure beats hanging out the washing.

But that was all pushed to one side when the kids and then I fell sick - as it must. Stories remain un-researched and unwritten. And that is the reality of working while also caring for a home and family full time. I don't have any sick benefits, but then I am not really doing it for the money either. And having the freedom to say 'sorry, but I can't manage it this week', well that is worth its weight in gold. Now please excuse me while I go and syringe some more gastrolyte into our rabbit.


  1. Thinking of you and sending you and your family lots of love! I too am balancing motherhood and work again but thankfully our bunny is not sick! x o

  2. wow i relate to much of this post...all except the bunny bit!

    1. But I am sure that there must be many bunnies out there who can... We do seem to have very similar paths in life right now.

  3. it sucks when everyone is sick... even the bunny, poor thing. We've been sick too, such a hoot.
    Hope that you are feeling better, and can keep juggling work and motherhood. Sounds like you make a great team with your little fella.


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