Michaela Merz

Loneliness of a working mum

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81599_web_R_by_moschnifoto_pixelio.deWhen the job of the hermit in the Tamina canyon was advertised, seven people come forward despite the rather low salary. I can understand it. I am almost never alone respectively the few minutes of being alone have to be planned meticulously and strictly implemented. Independent of what we are doing today, the experience is shared with another person but maybe also with several million other people. At 6am in the morning there is a short queue in front of the Oerlikon indoor swimming pool. In the lanes there is every now and then a crowding out and mediating when swimming is only possible if one manages to blend out the surroundings. In the forest when jogging, one is hardly ever alone in Zurich as soon as it is daylight and in the evening the forest is almost as crowded as the city. One does not even have to talk about public transport and cantinas and restaurants are at lunch time not suitable for discussions because of the level of noise. Shopping groceries in the late afternoon / early evening reminds of an anthill and only thanks to the self-service cashiers long queues can be avoided. Of course, when going out, be it to the theatre, a concert or a reading, people are just part of it. The same as with a parent-teacher conference or at the swimming training of the offspring.

On top of that a working mum has countless trips with the offspring to all kinds of possible and impossible children’s birthday parties, competitions, friends and dentist appointments. At the end of the day when one would think that the offspring is going to bed and oneself gets half an hour to call the mother, aunt or the godfather to arrange something for Saturday. But what usually happens is that in the evening I just manage to tell the good night story and within minutes fall asleep myself. Very often even before the school-aged offspring.

Travelling in New York, London, and Hong Kong I am astonished about the masses and think that in certain cities being alone outside one’s own home is hardly possible. And if one has family it is hardly possible despite one’s own home.

Most likely not everyone has the need to be alone. I have several friends who feel unwell when nobody is around them. I need it to think, dream, develop visions and to critically question myself and my doings.

Now my youngest one came with a list. His spidery letters and grammatical errors show that he is at the beginning of his writing curriculum. It is a shopping list. He needs boards, nails, glass, plastic, a ladder and paint. What that is going to be, I want to know. “A tree-house”, he says; he needs a house where he can withdraw and is not disturbed. In his room someone is entering all the time and wants from him that he brings out the compost, empties the dish-washer, and does his homework. He needs a bit of undisturbed time for himself.

Understood, I thought. The need for being alone has nothing to do with being a working mum but probably with the personality and one’s own interests.

Long live the tree-houses where one can enjoy being alone for some minutes or hours.

Bildquelle: moschnifoto / pixelio.de

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