Signing the contract for my new job actually left me doubting myself more than ever. Was I doing the right thing? How would he cope at nursery? Would he be okay? Would I be okay? Could I figure out a way to stay home? Should I figure out a way to stay at home? Deep down I knew he was ready, I knew we could do with the money, yet I couldn’t help but feel coated in a sticky layer of guilt.
Actually, perhaps it wasn’t the stickiest of layers, because if I’m being honest, I mean really honest, part of me was looking forward to the break. Especially during his brat attack melt downs, and if you’ve ever been around to experience one of these, I can only apologise. Being a stay at home mum is
TOUGH, (of course I mean amazing….) and undoubtedly the most challenging , (I mean incredible) job in the world. Okay, no pretending, I’m meant to be an honest mummy blogger after all. Yes, some days its bloody tough, and beyond challenging, and on those days I do think fondly of life before the child.*
*I think It’s important to clarify, whilst I may dream, I never wish. Ever.
Being a SAHM can really test you as a human, especially when you have a toddler who can A.) reduce you to tears, and B.) drive you to drink before noon. On top of that, time is a constant battle, you rarely feel accomplished and worst of all, you can’t even go to the loo without your child hanging out by your knee’s. Then, when your offspring behaves like Satan has spawned him, you’ve had no adult conversation, the house looks like a war zone and you’re running on minimal sleep, going back to work seems more like a treat. If you’re reading this and you’re a new, even new-ish mum, this may not resonate with you AT ALL, but all I can say is, enjoy this bit, it’s the calm before the storm. Unless of course it’s just me that has the kid with the “big personality”, as others like to put it. #JEALOUS.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mum; because clearly the above paragraphs paint this picture so well!? But, I’ve never been more grateful for anything in my whole life, and we really have had lots of amazing days making fabulous memories, and on those days I’ve wondered how on earth anyone can leave this life and go back to a 9 – 5 job. BUT…when your child throws their dinner on the floor, or screams in your face because you’ve dared to take a dirty nappy out their hand, it acts as a pretty instant reminder. Please see below pic if you’re more of a visual person.
I was absolutely dreading my first day. New job, new people, let’s face it, it’s just not a fun situation. And when you’ve been out of work for 18 months, not only has ones mojo gotten lost, its emigrated and left no forwarding address. I got up extra early to apply actual make up instead of slopping on some BB cream, and I had to blow the cobwebs off my GHD’s, as I’m not sure a snazzy company in Windsor would have appreciated the mum bun? It has since made an appearance or two, so the attempted ‘yummy mummy’ image didn’t last long. I got all my handbags out from my ‘life before kids box’, and they were all either the size of a house, or as small as a mouse. The mummy me couldn’t help but question how the pre mummy me filled, or fitted anything in either type. Oh how it was to be so impractical. *sigh*. I distinctly remember that feeling of needing to carry everything in my daily bag, you know, just in case I went out after work, or just in case I did something fun and spontaneous. I’m not sure I even know what the latter word means anymore. Queue violins. My once overflowing handbag used to be my life, but now my life comes in the form of a maniac toddler and his changing bag, of which I am granted the smallest of spaces. It all felt pretty alien compared to the chaos, and sometimes comfort of toddler world, and at least here my boss was only 2 foot tall and could be bribed with shortbread biscuits. Here’s us on the morning of the start of our new lives:
Dropping Virràe off at nursery was harder than I thought. He turned into this meek little boy and my heart was being pulled in every direction by what felt like a gazillion strings. He clung to me like a baby Koala and cried when I tried to hand him over. I sobbed as he was taken away to be distracted, and the nursery girls rallied around with tissues to mop up the mascara sliding down my freshly bronzed cheeks and causing carnage. I slipped away feeling like the world’s worst mum and burst into tears outside the nursery door. I felt like I’d made the biggest mistake in the world. Another mum stopped to make sure I was okay and promised me that things would be different in a few weeks. I thought she was offering me a cuddle, and just as I was about to lean in, desperately, I realised she was moving me out the way so others could pass. AWKWARD. Could my first day have started off any better?!
I got to work and I felt like a total fraud. I saw all these proper grown ups, doing actual work, and I wondered how on earth I would ever fit it. I still had ‘wind the bobbin up’ spinning round in my head, and every part of me was struggling to get out of mummy mode. I wanted to ring the nursery every 5 minutes but was trying desperately to take in all this information about the place I would be spending the majority of my week. When I did get a chance to call, I found out that Virràe was reluctant to eat, or sleep and that there had been a good few tears. This made me want to run right out of work, get my boy and take him home. Obviously I resisted this temptation and continued to put on a brave face at work. I sat at my desk feeling really out of my depth. I just wanted to have a good cry and for someone to give me a cuddle, or, offer me a big glass of wine. Suffice to say, neither happened and I felt like absolute sh**.
Over the course of the weeks that followed, things got better in every way. Thanks to the incredible staff at his nursery, Virràe very quickly settled into his new life there. Almost overnight, he was eating like a dream and sleeping like his father (out cold with the ability to snooze through a hurricane.) Suddenly my irrational mummy fears of him starving to death and becoming an insomniac, vanished. Amongst other things, he began learning new words and playing with toys properly, (instead of just destroying things) although he does still do this. To be honest, it was just nice to drop off and pick up a smiley happy little man and not be consumed by guilt and doubt about the choices I had made to try to give my family a better life. One day I snuck into his room at nursery and he hadn’t noticed me. His mummy radar was obviously on the blink, because usually he can sniff me out at any distance. I stood back and watched him running around, he was in his element. When he finally realised I was there, I was greeted by the biggest grin, he ran over to me and pointed back to where he was playing looking as proud as punch. In that moment it all clicked into place, I had done the right thing.
Going back to work was tough, I hated knowing that time with my boy was so limited. And whilst limited it remains, it has also become precious. I cherish more moments than I did three months ago. I have more patience when Damien joins us at meal times. I leave my phone in my bag and concentrate on whats in front of me; hence I have become worse at responding to messages, (sorry about that!), and I’ve stopped caring as much about the constant chaos within my house. For the short time that Virràe and I have together, I try to make as much of it about us. Going back to work has given me an injection of confidence in being more than just Virràe’s mum. One day, I’ll feel proud to tell him that I went back to work because I had to, because my family needed me to. But now I can safely say that I’m also doing it because I want to.
I found a quote that sums up this phase of my life:
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she turned into a butterfly…”
Blonde Mummy. X