It’s been 3 weeks now since I started my new role, as a social media manager for a telecoms company. It really is the perfect job, as being 2 days a week working from home/the cafe (def maxing out that Starbucks loyalty card), means it fits in around the children which is what I really wanted when it came to returning to the working world. Freddie already goes to preschool 2 1/2 days per week, and my Mum has been an angel and has agreed to look after S for 2 full days, until she too starts preschool in the New Year. I can take them there, and be the one picking them up. It also enables me to fit in some blog work that I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up as time has gone on, rather than trying to squeeze this in during the evenings.
Already the change in our home life, and also to how I feel has been remarkable. Let me explain… Having been largely a stay-at-home mum for nearly 4 years, bar starting up my vintage homeware business earlier this year, I had got very much into my own routine, and used to being with the smalls 24/7. I was convinced that I was doing the very best for my children by being with them, and hopefully in many ways I have. We go out and about, read together, do crafts/cooking/playing, and for the most part, I have really enjoyed it, and felt privileged to have had so much time with them during their formative years. But have I always genuinely enjoyed it? Or have I been running on some sort of ‘perfect parent’ autopilot for some of the time, there, but not always present or ‘switched on’?
The last year or so, deep down, I’ve known I’ve wanted more, and this in turn has not always made me the best parent. I have often felt distracted, as I’ve veered back and forth between thinking of going back to work (on a bad day), and wanting to be there still for them at all times (on a good day). I have been snappy on occasion, unfairly resenting the slog of looking after 2 toddlers, when I should have been feeling grateful for having them both. Or my mind has been elsewhere (or buried in my laptop), thinking of roles I would like to do, blog posts and articles I would like to write. The flame that has been lit inside me, the urge to write, and create (sorry if that sounds MASSIVELY pretentious!), manifested itself in spending most evenings doing just that, largely at the expense of ‘downtime’ and spending time with Adam. I totally adore my blog, it’s my third baby and has given me a new lease of life, and I want to make the most of the my new-found writing bug and the paid opportunities that have started to come my way. In turn, I have felt stressed trying to juggle everything, frustrated, and that’s when the guilt comes, when I feel guilty for not enjoying my children more. There has been no clear line between work, family, and play, and this is what I’d been badly missing.
Since I’ve had these 2 days for working, using my brain in a different way, enjoying working for a company again, plus having time to write for myself, I truly feel like a NEW WOMAN. The days when it’s just the children and me are SO much better. Bar a few usual household chores (and I feel it’s still important for them to play by themselves!), my time is focused purely on them, and I’m sure they are noticing the change in me too. I’m no longer stressed out trying to do something else, or distracted, and I’ve spent more time having fun with them. I’m more relaxed, and we’ve just been talking or hanging out more. In turn their behaviour is better, less whinging at me to do stuff, and they seem so happy to have a more fun Mummy around. Adam and I have our evenings back, and have enjoyed our time together more (and I now have much more to talk about!), plus I actually have some ‘free time’ now. It’s heaven. I really, really wish I’d done it sooner, but you do what you think is best for your family at the time, right?
I always thought being a stay-at-home mum was the best option for small children, if you are able to do it, but I now know that it doesn’t always equal a better parent at all, no sirree! How naive was I? I now get why so many Mums (and Dads) actively choose to go to work, and are all the better for it. I know I certainly am, and I can testify that being at home 24/7 really is the hardest job in the world. Parents who do it for years are superheroes as far as I’m concerned!
I am starting to feel so much more balanced already, and I feel so lucky that I have the opportunity to have the best of both worlds, as not everyone can, even if they want to.
So here’s to a fresh start and a new chapter! Oh, and doing what’s right for YOU, not what you feel you SHOULD be doing- there’s a place in the world as a parent for all of us, it might just take a little while to find your happy place 🙂
photo- me and F when he was a smaller F!