Tuesday, 19 February 2013

So it happened.

So it happened. The thing I was most worried about. The thing that is such a cliché that I had hoped to avoid it. I got the guilt. 

The mum guilt. 

The mum going back to work guilt.

It didn't happen straight away. In fact for the first few weeks it was fine. I've started a new job. I'm working more hours than I was originally looking for but I'm loving being back to work so much that I don't mind. My boyfriend is able to watch Ava most of the time so I can happily head off to work and enjoy spending 8 or 9 hours concentrating on things a little more challenging than Mr Tumble or wiping houmous off the walls. I miss her of course but I'm enjoying being back to work way more than I expected.

The truth is, I thought I would be a wreck. Wailing down the phone to my other half every 15 minutes and staring longingly at photos of Ava during my lunch break.

But then it happened. Childcare started to get a bit tricky and we had to rely on some family to help us out. Which is fine. Great, even. I love her getting to spend time with her aunts, grandparents and cousins. But one morning as I dropped her off at 6 am in the freezing dark, all sleepy eyed and still in her baby grow, she wouldn't let go. She did let go and she went to her aunty but when I started to leave she cried. It wasn't fitful screaming but she didn't want me to go. So I did what any other mother would do in that situation and ran out the door full speed before she set me off as well. 

But I cried too. All the way to work.

Pulling up in the car park I desperately tried to fix my make up and make it appear as though I had not been upset. I was feeling all the emotions you read about. All the things other mums tell you. Guilt at leaving her. Worry that she would pine for me all day and then hold it against me when I did see her. And fear that they would see my tear stained face and worry that I was not serious enough about my job. That I was too focused on being a mum. That I still had baby brain or was too emotional. In fact I am genuinely none of these things - I'm back in the hotel trade and I'm good at it. I've taken a big step down and am only working part-time now on reception. But management in the catering industry and a baby girl who is only in nursery 2 days a week just don't work. And as much as I miss full-time employment where I am a little higher on the pecking order - I am also enjoying the lack of responsibility and getting to spend as much time as possible with A before she heads off into the big bad world of school five days a week. 

But I'm also scared. Scared of being out of the game too long.

I had been in work ten minutes when I got a text telling me my girl was fast asleep cuddling into her aunty. That she had cried for all of 2 minutes (traitor). I received subsequent texts throughout the course of the day showing little pictures of her having a ball. Just like she had at her grandmas a few days later and at her other auntys the following week. 

I'm a mixed bag of emotions right now. On the one hand the desire to stay at home and just keep popping them out is really strong, although not really that financially viable at the moment. But I've also got the work bug back. So much so that I've even looked at some full time management jobs. The problem is if I go back to work full time then Ava will spend more time in childcare in a week than she will with me. And I just can't handle that yet. I'm not ready. I'm not sure she's ready.

And the truth is I feel like men kind of do get to have it all. Even though I am sure there are lots of men who would disagree with me, I am jealous of my boyfriend. He gets to have a career and be a dad. I have to choose between the two. And it's frustrating as hell.

So yeah, it happened.

I've become one of those woman who likes to think she is a feminist but probably isn't. 

Just another statistic.

Moaning about being a woman.


Unknown said...

Never feel guilty for being a working mum. You give Ava so much love and attention when you are with her, that there's no way she's lacking in that department. Plus she has the opportunity to build bonds with other relatives, which is fantastic. And, when she's old enough, she will likely have a strong work ethic and the belief that women are able to excel in the workplace, because you managed to be both a wonderful mother and a working girl too.


Dawn Young said...

I know you are right, but that's lovely to hear. Thank you x x x