Harriet, our Hero
Guest post by Julie Mentor (my wife and mother of The Kid and Boy2.0):
It’s been a big week in the Mentor house. Every day at the close of play school my boys have been met with Harriet’s warm smile. They have put their chubby, soft hands in hers and they’ve skipped to her waiting cab. As Liam, my eldest, describes it: “Harriet’s car is the biggest and the strongest, Mom. I think Harriet’s car could beat Lightning McQueen!” (thankfully I know that theory will never be put to the test.)
After two years of constant diary juggling, lunch-time racing, anxiety and reliance on kind-hearted family and friends to assist me with lifting my boys home from school, I signed my two very precious and very little boys as clients of Cool Kids Cabs. Whilst the service is brand new in Cape Town, I am fortunate to be well acquainted with this incredible brand and their success to date in Gauteng.
Cool (Kids) Cabs owner Tiffini Wissing-Hein on Afternoon Express:
Full disclosure: The owner and brainchild of this thriving enterprise is one of my dearest friends and all-time favourite humans.
If you are fortunate to know Tiffini Wissing-Hein, you know how passionate she is about her business. You know she works insane hours to ensure that every client receives a premium service. You would know how she feels about the phenomenal women she hires and equips to be the gold standard in the private transportation industry.
I know the business model, I know the impeccable safety standards Cool Kids Cabs follows. I know the impressive statistics – 5 million KM on the road injury free! I know how strict and well-trained the drivers are on correct car seat installation and use. I know all the impressive technological features that make this a one-of-its-kind service. I know. I know. I know. And yet, I felt that lump settle into my throat as I kissed my boys goodbye on the morning of their first ride.
No matter what I knew to be true, these two precious, rambunctious little giggle monsters are my children. My babies whom I fiercely want to protect with every fiber of my being. It’s always hard entrusting them into the care of someone else, even when you’re confident you’ve made the very best choice.
I’ll ditch the drama and suspense here. The lifts went off without a hitch. I was expecting some tears and resistance – there were none from either of my boys. In fact, after day one, Liam informed me that Harriet is his number one choice for a ride home (pfft, mama be damned). After I realised the boys were totally fine, if not happier being chauffeured in a clean car sans the cracker crumbs and highly strung mommy, I flipped the narrative to ME!
Yes, me! Mama/ employee/ running-on-caffeine-and-grace Julie. As much as I’m grateful for the flexibility in my job that has allowed me to collect my boys during my work day, it’s not always the golden mothering moment I hope it will be.
There have been many occasions when I’ve anxiously watched the clock as a meeting has creeped dangerously close to the end of school time and I’ve had to fly out the door whilst simultaneously messaging a late apology to the teacher. I frequently found myself exhausted from changing gears between employee and mom and then employee again – each mode requiring a different emotional energy.
There were countless times I had to pry a crying, tired toddler from my leg whilst trying to explain why mommy has another meeting but will be home as soon to build duplo. Feeling the guilt, feeling the burden, feeling the challenge of being a mother who also needed to work. Yes, it was all in my lunch hour but boy was I smashed by the disjointed rhythm to my day.
This week. This gloriously productive week. Not having to interrupt my working day with the school run has meant that I’ve had more time and emotional reserves to get my work done. Instead of doing the mad-dash at 12:30, I would glance at my phone to see the confirmation of collection SMS. Two seconds for reassurance, another two when the next SMS told me that the boys had arrived home safely. Huge sighs of relief and head back down to the grind.
This week has made me realise that it wasn’t just the hour spent on the road with my boys, or the time spent juggling the lifting schedule. It was the emotional rollercoaster adding to my mental load that had such a big impact on my working week. After getting more done in my day with far less stress, I have loved coming home to my family in the evening. There is no rushing. I get to savour snuggles, talk with them as I cook and chase them around our home. Whilst my boys may think they’re now riding in the next Nascar champion, I think the biggest winner is me!
Now all that’s left to do is find a fairy to cook wholesome dinners and pour me wine and I’ll be acing this working-mom thing ;)