It’s been a little quiet in my blog land. I’ve been learning to juggle work with my expectations of myself as a mother. Out there in the wider blog land, there are countless mothers commenting on their experiences returning to work. Most of them reluctantly returning to work, wishing they could stay home with their bubs. This idea appeals to me, in the same way that having twins appealed to me before I had a baby. I thought twins would be great – one pregnancy with an instant family as a result (I only want two children)… Now, after having a child, I realise that I would not cope with twins… In the same way I would not cope with being a full time stay-at-home mother. I admire those who are though!
Unlike most mums in the wider blog world, I looked forward to going back to work. Seems a little silly. I’ve left my Little Miss with my mum, while I’ve gone back to work, educating other people’s children.
But work is about me. I have my identity as a mum and I adore being a mum. But I also need more. When I am left with Little Miss for days on end, she drives me nuts. Well not her exactly, but the monotony and 3-4hr rotation of her life. Perhaps, if I am to be really honest, the way that EVERYTHING revolves around her frustrates me. At work, the far majority of my day revolves around other people – the children in my class mainly, but I still have a little space for me. I get to go to the toilet in peace at least! My chances of drinking my coffee while it’s still hot, is greater than at home with Little Miss. I also have choice over what we do, or at least how I teach it. There is freedom for me to be creative and have meaningful interactions and conversations. I have meaningful interactions with my daughter – but obviously not the same as those with older children or adults. With my daughter, especially while she was very young, there wasn’t a lot for me to choose as the choices are determined by her. When she wakes up, she ‘s awake and generally needs attention sometime soon (although I must admit, she is able to amuse herself in her cot for 20-40mins after she wakes in the morning). Day time naps don’t allow for sleeping for 10 more minutes or have a snooze button option. When she needs to be fed, there’s a 5-10minute window before the tantrums began – don’t get between Little Miss and her bottle! To her credit, she functions like clock work so it isn’t like any of these things ever take you by surprise. But it would been nice to have a little more flexibility, for me to feel like I have a little more choice in when things happen. And the guilt. My goodness the guilt is never ending. My short experience as a stay at home mum was like living in a fish bowl of reasons to be guilty. I was surrounded by washing that wasn’t done, food that should’ve been cooked before it had expired, a dog that needed walking, a baby who constantly needed me, boxes that needed to be unpacked from moving, exercise I should be doing to fit into my pre-baby clothes – my goodness the list only ever grew no matter how much I tried to complete it. Going back to work was escaping all of those jobs. I realise those jobs don’t disappear, but I somehow manage to get the same amount done, even though I’m working. The difference is, now all those jobs happen after 7pm – when Little Miss goes to bed.
I realise the guilt is of my own construction. Indeed there are books examining the socially constructed world of guilt mums have made for themselves. However when I’m working, I also have a ‘legitimate’ excuse not to get around to these jobs… not so easy to justify when you’re staying at home with a bub that sleeps.