8 days in and I am still grappling with a new and strange virus that I have picked up from one of the little darlings at some toddler group. I am an adult and have therefore made it through the minefield of childhood bugs and diseases already so it is beyond my comprehension to understand why my body seems to delight in letting in any foreign invader in the form of a new cough or cold. I feel like I have sampled EVERY possible combination of toddler travelling illness this winter and I am getting really quite crabby about it. My immune system is evidently crap and I feel like I have been run over by a truck, it has then run over me several times more and said truck has now parked on me. Eugh.
I did manage to drag myself into work today though and it is always a pleasure to see my lovely work colleagues. It now feels odd to go back into work though with my one outfit that I now own reserved for me going into the office. In November 2013 after being back from maternity leave for 11 months I handed in my notice. For those 11 months I felt useless, like I was spreading myself far too thin and like I was constantly chasing my own tail. The house was a constant mess, I couldn’t concentrate on work when I was there (I went back 2.5 days per week) as I was too busy wondering what my baby was up to and I found I no longer held the drive that I once held for my job pre-Jack. As a PA to one of the senior staff at the local University I found I excelled at organising my bosses working life, I would wake up at 2am and run through the list of jobs that needed doing and the items that I needed to chase up. But post-Jack, I found, in the nicest possible way, that I no longer cared. I have far too many things to organise in my own home life and a never ending to do list that I felt I was drowning in.
One cold morning in November I realised I had had enough. Rather than failing at being superwoman I took my first step and admitted : I am NOT superwoman and I am not going to try. I cannot tell you what a relief it was to admit that and how liberating it was to remove the impossible targets from my wellbeing.
The reactions from people were quite extreme but then generally when there are children involved, people feel that they own you and every decision you make is up for debate whether you like it or not. I tried explaining the choice to some of my academic work colleagues but after several attempts of explaining that I wanted to spend more time with my son, to do the house and that yes money would be tight to several confused and quizzical faces I knew that my decision would flummox and befuddle many. They simply could not understand the concept and I was assured that putting Jack into full time childcare would not harm him. No it wouldn’t harm him but I chose to have Jack so that I could raise him, I don’t want any one else to do it.
I also got several friends who were bitterly jealous, they either cannot entertain the option of giving up work or will not because they choose not to give up elements of their life. I got tired of one friend telling me she couldn’t possibly consider giving up work because they were so strapped financially, fair enough, in the same breath though she got through telling me about what she considered to be essential home necessities. Having her hair cut, coloured and styled every 6 weeks was an essential for £150 per go. No dear. Gas and electricity are essential, your foils are not.
Not everyone is in the same boat but largely I believe people have a CHOICE, I CHOOSE not to go on holidays abroad, I CHOOSE not to wear designer clothes, I choose this because my choice to be with Jack is greater. That doesn’t make me a better person, a foolish person or a rich person. It means I am a person and I have chosen and have to live with the consequences.
It is such a shame that there are mothers who look down on those who go to work or those who make comment on the stay at home mummy. ALL mummies have their place in society, I don’t think any of them have got the balance right for them but they are doing the best that they can. Lets support each others choices ladies, we all have to make sacrifices whatever our choice so lets vive le difference and not crush it xx