I’m jumping well ahead from pregnancy in my blogging adventure, but this is something that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about recently and I’m sure many of my fellow mummy friends are in the same boat. The old ‘going back to work’ dilemma.
While on maternity leave I decided not to go back to my old job in London, as the cost of commuting and nursery fees didn’t add up and, to be honest, I didn’t want to commute to London with a baby back in Kent. For those of you who do a similar commute, you know what Southeastern trains are like, even on a good day.
At the moment I’m officially unemployed, but it just feels like I’m still on maternity leave (except I’m not getting any money coming in each month and I’m still going out for coffee a lot). I recently had a job interview and it felt fantastic. Mainly to be out of the house alone, with hair done and make-up on, wearing clean clothes that didn’t have baby sick on them. Oh and wearing a nice necklace that I didn’t have to worry about being grabbed and chewed. I was a bit nervous about the interview, but when you have a demanding eight-month-old child you don’t have time to spend sitting around worrying (or preparing for that matter); its more of a seat-of-your-pants, blag-it type situation.
When I got home, my Mum had enjoyed a lovely morning with a well-behaved baby and I was excited to see her (the J that is, not my Mum – no offence Mum). Being greeted by a big smile when you open the front door is always a treat. After I’d given Mum the low-down on how I thought the interview went, she and I got chatting about childcare and how I felt about potentially going back to work.
To be honest, I swing from never wanting to leave the J’s side to being ready to have some adult time away from her. Then there’s the whole childcare issue and whether to go down the nursery or childminder route (we can’t afford a nanny). I hate the idea of leaving her with strangers who don’t know her little quirks or how to comfort her when she’s upset. Sometimes I feel like the J is too young to be left without me. She’s eight months old, but she still seems like such a fragile little thing and my maternal instinct to protect her is so strong. When I first got pregnant I couldn’t wait to finish work. I’ll be a lady of leisure, I thought. Never in a million years did I think I would get fed up of being at home. But then I didn’t know what it’s like being at home with a baby. I think I had visions of chilling out on the sofa all day, watching reruns of Friends and drinking cups of tea. Ha ha ha, how wrong I was.
It turns out, I find being at home all day quite boring. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking after the J, but it can be monotonous. I try to fill my weeks with fun activities (some for her, some for me). We do a baby sensory class once a week and I go out for coffee and cake with my mummy friends on a regular basis. We also like to walk around Sainsbury’s and look at the baby clothes (this is probably the highlight of my week). We go to the park and for walks, but there comes a point where I don’t want to talk about baby stuff any more (ironic seeing as I am spending my free evenings writing about baby stuff). I need something more. So it turns out I do want to go back to work.
I suppose I always had visions of the J going off to pre-school or nursery when she’s two years old and is a boisterous toddler who loves playing with other children. At the moment she is so little and mostly wants cuddles from her Mummy. Am I being selfish by wanting to go back to work so soon? I feel really torn and that there’s no right answer.
I’ve been offered some freelance work for a magazine at the end of October and Grump is on half term, so he can look after the J for the week. I think this will be a really good test to see how I fare away from her, but then I won’t be too worried as she will be having lots of fun with her Daddy. I’m also hoping that he will get a better understanding of how difficult it is being at home with a baby all day and will cut me some slack when he comes home from work and the house looks like a small nuclear device has detonated and blasted toys, sicky muslins and random socks all over the place.
I don’t think I’m cut out for life as a full-time stay-at-home mum, but am I cut out for life as a part-time working mummy? Only time will tell.
P.S. Why do my hands look so weird in this photograph?