Before I go into this whole working mum subject, I really ought to do a little disclaimer about the whole working mum vs stay at home mum thing. I get a bit fed up with these labels because, technically we are all bloody working mums. Stay at home is a completely innocuous title really, isn’t it? It conjures up visions of lady’s that lunch, sipping Mai Tais at some sort of pompous club whilst a Nanny takes care of the offspring. I think we all know that, for the majority of us, that is certainly not what stay at home motherhood is.
I’m not a stay at home mum. Not only because we can’t afford for me to be, but also because I haven’t got what it takes to be a stay at home mum. I would go mad. Strike that… As the sertraline nestled in the medicine cabinet beside my contraceptive pill dictates, I did go mad last year. Loop the friggin loop (bonus points for naming the movie that quote is from. Hint: it’s about another Stay at home mum who talks to her kitchen wall… see, madness!).
I missed work. A lot. I missed adult conversation. I’d well up at the fact that I faced another lonely day, tackling two young baby boys and a never ending pile of washing along to the theme tune of Mr Tumble. I only work part time, so those lonesome days still happen. But I actually find myself looking forward to work! It’s like a bloody holiday to be honest.
It’s taken some time to adjust to being back at work. Mainly because it is so different. For example, holding adult conversation for the whole day challenged me a bit at first, as I’d find myself struggling to grasp the words I was trying to say! I could really feel my brain getting a work out, as it was forced to help me converse as opposed to just thinking things in my head like I had been doing at home. Just standing up for the best part of 9 hours took me by surprise as well. Slightly different to being sat on the sofa or in a park for long periods of time. Or just ambling around the aisles of Aldi or Asda looking at special offers to save pennies.
I have gone from being at home with the boys, where the biggest decision of the day was which soft play we were going to go to or what I was going to make for dinner, to suddenly being back in a salon environment, styling people’s hair, getting to know a new team of people and how the new work place setting I’m now in actually ‘works’. And it’s actually been ok. The hardest bit has been juggling everything I used to fit into a whole week at home within just a few days at home instead. I’m trying to be organised with things like meal plans and calendars. I’ve relied on my trusty stationary collection to make notes and there are more than just a few post it notes dotted about the place!
As my maternity leave was coming to a close late last year, I was dreading the idea of returning to work. It all seemed so daunting and I am not the biggest fan of change if it is a big one that hits me square in the face. I like the changes that gently enter your life and only become apparent when you look back. But, this has been really good. Not just for me, but also for us as a family. I have regained some independence back. PB has been spending more time at home and the boys love having us both around to play and have adventures with.
I have started to think more about ‘me’. Bought some new clothes and makeup with the pennies I have earned. Just earning pennies is a breath of fresh air! And, although I can still be caught in a tatty top and faded jeans with a mum bun/bare face combo going on, there have been days where I have made eye contact with myself in the mirror and finally felt good about my appearance. I even have under wired bras again! I have my motivation back. That fire in my belly is roaring, whereas stay at home motherhood had dulled it to a slight ember for a time.
It’s ok to say…
And it took me a lot to admit to myself that this is how I thrive. I love my children and my family life. I love watching them grow and explore their way through new things every day. But, I need to work too. I need to be challenged…. by something other than multitasking my way through a food shop in Aldi with a one seated trolley, one baby carrier and a week’s worth of meals! To be back in the thick of the hair and beauty industry gives me a real zest for life. Conversation and creativity is back on my agenda again. And, oh, how I have missed it!
It’s ok to say that motherhood isn’t enough. That I want something more than that. It isn’t how everyone feels, but I don’t profess to being everyone. I’m just me. Me, Being Mummy. But I was someone else before my children. And it is nice to see her again.