My mum was at home with my brothers and I until we were at school and then she gradually returned to work, starting at weekends and little by little working more hours. If I’m honest I always had in my mind that I would like to do the same, but I also thought I would never be lucky enough to be able to afford to do so. I’ve always worked but I have never found the one job or career that I have loved enough to stick with it. I’ve had jobs, I’ve done well and started working my way up the ladder but I was never going to be on a huge salary. I’ve also never loved a job so much that I would be desperate to get back to it after a break.
Pregnancy wasn’t the easiest time for me (maybe I’ll delve into that subject in a future blog) and I found working in a stressful job during my pregnancy very hard and I was desperate for my maternity leave to start. At the time I remember thinking that I could never cope with doing that job and working those hours whilst also having a little person to take care of. To any full time mums out there, hats off to you, I don’t know how you manage it and you must have a lot more stamina than me!
Before I go any further I just want to say that I have never felt more judged in my life than since becoming pregnant and then a mummy. Everyone has an opinion about everything and this topic, whether to work full time, part time or to stay at home with your little one, is a very very difficult one to discuss without offending or upsetting someone. So before I go on to explain my reasons I just want to say that they are my reasons alone and not what I think everyone else should do. Some parents have to work for financial reasons, others because they love their job so much that it is part of who they are and so to give up work would be to give up part of themselves. I make no judgements about how anyone chooses to live and to raise their children – as far as I can tell we are all just doing the best that we can in the only ways we know how.
There! I feel better for getting that off my chest!
Anyway, without going into too much detail, my husband is very hard working and very clever and his business is booming. We’re not loaded by any stretch but we are able to manage on his income alone and this has allowed me more freedom of choice than I ever dreamed I would have.
Initially, because I was struggling in my job and unhappy in general with the company I worked for, I was a dead cert that I would stay at home. But, I was wary that I may change my mind and didn’t want to burn any bridges at work so I said ‘I don’t know.’ A lot. Because I had a very good relationship with my manager and we have become friends I did make sure she knew that I wasn’t planning on coming back full time, so at least she had the opportunity to do some forward planning. But I think saying ‘I don’t know’ all the time gradually led to me genuinely not knowing what I wanted anymore! You know if you say something enough it might become true, well I think that’s what happened.
I adore my little monkey with all my heart but I have found being a mummy very challenging at times and a total life change. We went from colic to teething at 3 months (the first ones popped out at 4 months and had 8 teeth by 5 months old) and listening to him screaming in pain from one thing then the other was very difficult. We had troubles in getting him to sleep (another subject for a future blog perhaps) and, well, to cut a long story short, there have been times where I was at my wits end and genuinely thought that there was no way I could be looking after him at home all of the time with no break.
So I have been backwards and forwards and changed my mind what feels like hundreds of times. I have taken opinions and advice from my lovely friends and relatives, some of whom think going back to work part time is absolutely the right thing to do, others who can’t see why I would want to go back to work if I don’t have to. And I can see it from both sides, from feeling guilty about maybe wanting to go back to work and leaving monkey to be looked after by someone else, to knowing I need some kind of outlet, a means of escape from mummy mode.
We got as far as putting in a flexible working request to my old employer and we went to look around a very lovely nursery. It was a lovely place and all of the kiddies there seemed very happy, but for the main I just came out of it with more ideas for things monkey and I could do together. We have talked about how it would do him good to socialise with more little children and to help his independence by being away from me for a few hours, a couple of mornings a week.
Whilst my rational brain knew this was all very sensible I found myself to be very upset during all of this and no matter how hard I tried to believe it was the right thing for both of us to do, I eventually realised I couldn’t do it.
The bottom line, I am not ready.
Yes it is hard sometimes and yes I need some me time (luckily my hubby and both sets of grandparents are very willing to help out when needed) but despite that I don’t want to be parted from my monkey on that regular a basis. Maybe it’s the wrong decision, and maybe it’s selfish of me, but I handed in my notice to my job so they know I won’t be returning and I feel much happier in general having finally made a decision.
But that’s not the end of the story – I know I have to find a way to make this work for both of us. I do have a creative side, and I am looking for crafty things that I can do for me, but also looking for things monkey and I can do together. He is an inquisitive little man and I need to find new ways of entertaining him and helping him learn. While I will occasionally talk about the monkey and parenting, the majority of this blog is going to be about the crafty ways I keep myself occupied and the ways I come up with to entertain him.