I used to think the stay at home mum option was the easy/lazy choice… My mother didn’t work until I was around 8 years old and even then she just did some part time work, which meant she was still around for the school run.
My sister got pregnant at 19 and decided to quit work and be a stay-at-home single mother. I honestly thought she spent most of her days in bed!
Now of course I know that motherhood isn’t one long nap or even one long playtime. Babies are exhausting and they require a lot of looking after. Yes, you might get a chance to nap when they nap… But they might only nap indoors in your arms for 6 months (thanks Audrey), so you can’t nap… Or they might prefer afternoon buggy naps (again, Audrey!), so you need to pace around when you’d rather have your feet up with a cuppa.
It’s all challenging and rewarding, up and down… I salute you if you devote your time to raising your children full-time. There’s a lot of walking in parks, but it’s not a walk in the park.
Despite motherhood not being quite the meander down easy-street I imagined, I still dreaded going back to work. I thought it would be such a shock to my system and I worried I would struggle with someone else looking after Audrey. As it turns out, it was a blessed relief! Work turned out to be easier than looking after my own child!
Since drafting this post a few weeks ago, where I basically just wanted to ramble on about the beauty of work/baby balance; I have lost my job.
I did know it was likely to happen (the company was clearly in trouble), but it was still a shock – we were all out of jobs so quickly. When a company goes into administration it can bring everything to a pretty abrupt end.
And so… a job-hunting I must go. This is where I realise that having a baby complicates things on that front. Can I get a quick-fix temp job in a shop? Not really… Unless they can give me 3 days a week that guarantee I can get across town for nursery pick up by 6. And will the wage justify the child care?
I started to contemplate full-time work (since there are 100s more full-time jobs than part-time ones) and realised how much I do value my time with Audrey. It’s not about an ‘easy’ day or even about me having the control, it’s about our relationship and the fact that; time together = bonding.
Right now I’m riding high as Audrey’s number 1. She reaches for me when someone else is holding her, she moans when she thinks I’m leaving her and gazes at me with such love… What if her keyworker at nursery became that number 1?!
And so I shall continue my quest for part-time work, to keep that work/baby balance, but in the meantime I can work extra hard to maintain my place at the top of Audrey’s tree…