Everyone tells you that being a parent is the hardest job in the world – though often only after its too late and you are up the duff or in the first few weeks of a newborn when you find yourself in a heap on the floor in a mess of snot & tissues trying to remember what it was like to not feel tired – before you decide to have a baby its all, having a baby is such a wonderful experience, you’d love it, having children will complete you…etc etc.
(This is when I ask myself “why am I doing it again?)
But, to be fair, even if they did tell you, you wouldn’t be able to imagine – its tough in ways that can’t be explained and in ways you can never imagine.
For some, its a natural experience – they were ‘born to be mummies/daddies’ and they breeze through parenthood effortlessly producing well turned out, well mannered, well adjusted individuals and share stories and photos of baking, craft work, fun days out that don’t cost a penny but everyone enjoys. Its so hard for us ‘other’ parents who don’t find parenthood such a natural experience to not compare ourselves to them wishing longingly that we were a supermum like them!
For some of us ‘other’ mums, we realise that being a Stay at Home Mum just isn’t for us! But when you come to that realisation that, actually, you’d rather be working than bringing up your children, you question whether you are a failure? Have I failed at the most important job of them all – when so many others can manage it so effortlessly, why have I struggled, why can’t I cope?
Recently, I have realised that I’m not alone! Recently, my twitter timeline has been full of other parents coming to the realisation and confiding in others that, actually, they’re not sure being a SAHM is all they hoped it would be. They are coming to accept that perhaps it is harder work than they ever knew and they need a break…by returning to work (whether it be part or full time – whatever works for them). After all, there are places and people out there that are full of people that ARE trained to look after children all day – they have college years and certificates to show for it so can clearly do a better job than I can and, after all, they ENJOY doing it! That is their job! They chose to do it! OK, so I know I chose to be a parent too but I also chose a career for myself – I also chose my other life which I actually loved very much and never had any intention of giving up!
My friend recently asked me to review an article she had written about being a mum AND maintaining their individual status. It was reading through this article that it dawned on me exactly why I had become so low.
I look at myself now, struggling to drag myself out of bed every morning, scraping my hair back on a Thursday or Friday to take Callum to nursery. I may put on make-up once or twice a week and often when I intend to add a bit of colour to my face to stop me looking tired and drawn, it quickly slips my mind. All my friends are either members of m family or are other mums like me who I only see with their children. I love them to pieces and wouldn’t do without my mummy friends, don’t get me wrong, but occasionally I want to remember who I am aside from being mum. So when it comes to a childfree Thursday when I do not need to clean or study (that’s my joy on a Friday) what do I do? I have no idea! I mope! I’ve no where to go, no one to see who isn’t a mum – no non-mum conversations to have. I’ve no job to go to and no life outside of being a mother. I’ve lost me!
This is not who I wanted to be!
Working gives me the independence I’ve always craved since a 16 year old girl. I moved out of home at 17 because I so desperately craved my independence. Working gives me a life that is my own – not my husband’s, not my son’s, not my family’s – mine! It gives me my own friends. I enjoy being me! I enjoy putting on make-up, wearing a pair of heels and attempting to look good, for me!
Where did all that go?
When I realise who I am now and everything I am not but want to be, the tears start to fall! Its time to admit it, I am NOT a SAHM! Its time I went back to work! Everyone keeps saying, but you’re pregnant now, you may as well wait until after the baby – and then you’ll be raising 2 so you may as well wait a couple of years. NOOOOOOOOOOO! Please! Someone! Tell me this doesn’t have to be the case. I want to work now, pregnant or not! When I’ve had my second child, I want to go back to work! I will look after my newborn baby and will enjoy my time raising him or her for the beginning of his or her life but as soon as I feel ready I want to go back to work! Scrub want…I NEED to go back to work!
I accept it! I’m taking me back! I’m getting my life back! I’m going back to work!
And does that make me a failure? No! I don’t think it does – it makes me a better person for realising what my strengths & weaknesses are and what makes me happy. At the end of the day, we are also always told “Happy Mum, Happy Child” and I know that I can be a better mum, a happier mum and offer Callum & my unborn child a lot more if I go back to work. But this time, I admit, I’m going to try to get the balance right – I’m going to try to do both. I want to work part-time so I can see if I can be a mum and be me!
Time to open a new chapter! Wish me luck!
Erm…..can someone give me a job please…..?
Oh, and going back to the first paragraph, I have to admit, those people who said “having a baby is such a wonderful experience, you’d love it, having children will complete you” were actually right – I may not be good at being a SAHM but I wouldn’t take back having children for the world. You can’t explain the love you feel for your child and the unconditional love they have for you. It is the most wonderful experience I can imagine!