I recently read a really fab blog post about encouraging more comments and debate on your site (if that was you please let me know and I’ll link, but I’ve forgotten where I read it!). I hope this will be the post that does this. I have been wanting to write this post for a while. I am going to say the things the things you’re not meant to say, I am going to have an opinion. I am going to just tell it how it is…
I have recently been spending a lot of time wondering ‘can you have it all?’ When I became a mum, right from the moment I looked into his eyes instantly I knew from then on nothing would be more important to me than him. He is the centre of everything, I cannot and will never be able to explain the love I feel for him. I enjoyed my maternity leave immensly and as you may recall from my early entries (thanks for sticking with me if you can!), I embraced it whole heartedly. Buggy fit, playgroup, soft play, netmums, breastfeeding, I did it all, and I loved spending every moment sussing out my new little dude as well as also getting to know the new me, the ‘mummy me’. But as I resurfaced from the intense baby bubble that accompanies having a new born, I felt a pull to the wider world. I am young, I am ambitious and I am incredibly lucky to have a job that I feel passionate about. At around 5 months, I felt the flutter of wanting to get back into the game.
At around this time we also took a massive lifestyle upgrade moving into a new area and a bigger place (not that I’ve mentioned that before hey?!) it’s a pricer new lifestyle that needed funding so I eased myself back into work taking advantage of the fact that I can freelance in my job and embracing a few new opportunities. As time went on it was time to commit to working life, get into a routine and make a firm decision. Rather than taking the rather tempting option of returning to my lovely job part time, I decided to put an additional layer of pressure on myself, take a risk at a temperamental time, and work for myself. God it’s a pain being me sometimes!
But the goal was to keep the ball in my court and have as much flexibility as I could hold on to. At times I feel like I’ve really cracked the balance, and in these moments it feels fab. But here’s the thing…Every day I carry around an extra handbag; a metaphorical one that is. It’s a handbag that’s full of guilt, shame and anxiety. I feel guilty that I’m not at home with my little boy. I feel shame because I’m as ambitious, if not more, than I ever was before I became a mummy. And I worry. I worry all the time that I’ll miss something, or that something will happen and I won’t be there. And that is one bloody heavy handbag to be carrying around every day. Especially for a woman who insists on taking a full sized can of hairspray with her everywhere she goes – Emma, it’s 2011, there’s a reason travel size exists!
I have been ashamed to voice that I don’t think I would want to be a full time mummy. And it is here that I get to the main point of this blog (sorry it took while, I have had a glass of wine, bear with me just a little longer. And then comment! For the love of god please comment!). When you come out with statements like the above or act in any way positively and enthusiastically to having a career, it is interpreted in a number of ways – either you don’t want to spend time with your children, you want to ‘get away from them’ or, and I feel sick even writing this, that you ‘don’t care’ as much as stay at home mums. This is so far from the truth. I adore my days with Phoenix. From Friday to Monday night I am mummy 101, we go swimming, I chase him up and down the hall way until I have carpet burns on my knees (yes that is how I get them!) we go out, we make friends, we go to playgroup, I cuddle up and nap with him (any excuse) and for these four days I completely indulge in being Phoenix’s mummy. Going to work switches the focus, it reminds me that I have another side to me, it makes me look forward to getting back to being with Phoenix, it gives me confidence, and yes, shoot me down and tie me up with my non existent apron strings, I do enjoy it.
Sooooooo I’m putting it out there… I’m saying it’s ok. It’s ok, if you want to stay at home full time with your little ones; it’s a brave and admirable move. It’s ok if you want to go back to work; it’s a brave and admirable move. It’s ok to just to what feels right for you. It’s a tough decision and when you make it it’s an even tougher transition whichever direction you decide to take. Take your time, talk to as many people as you can, explore every available option and do what’s right for you and your family.
By setting up this blog and interacting with other mummies on Twitter I have been inspired by discovering so many ‘mumtrepreneurs’. Women who have pursued new career directions, working for themselves, and who have turned their new mummy status into a strength in their career, rather than a hindrance. I salute these women, I bloody love these women.
And breathe. It’s out, I’ve written it. Please comment, I would love to get some chatter going on this subject. I was going to open this post referencing that hideous woman Kate from the Apprentice who made some ridiculous comments recently in the press about stay at home mums. But I decided I’d just be selfish and write my own post instead. The less attention that insect gets the better; it’s people like her making comments like that that make all these kinds of decisions even harder. Silly cow. And yes I have just ended this epic post by an immature muttering of calling someone a silly cow. See I told you I was a professional!