“So what do you do?”
It’s a question I get asked a LOT. As a Mum who is at school drop off and pick up day in day out I guess it’s fairly easy to tell I either have an incredibly flexible job or I am one of those fairly rare creatures who are either envied or just plain disliked – the (take a deep breath) Stay At Home Mum.
There. I said it. Out loud and everything. And the reactions to this particular job role vary enormously.
“So you just sit around watching Jeremy Kyle every day then?” (Face palm)
“Busy life then love?” (Always accompanied by sniggering)
“God I wish I could do that…”
“You’re so lucky, I’d love to have all day to myself”
“Oh I’d hate that, not having any interaction with, you know, people”
“Lady of leisure then?”
And my God, there are many more. The truth? Well obviously it varies for everyone. But for me, no, I don’t sit around on my arse all day every day watching Phil and Holly and Loose Women, I actually couldn’t think of anything worse, despite my utter love of Phillip Schofield, you utter fox.
When I first had my son I decided against going back to work after my maternity leave, he was a long awaited IVF baby and to be completely honest all I wanted to do was spend time with him. But after about a year I found the endless stream of baby groups, washing, ironing and not speaking to another adult human being about anything other than nappies, nap time and the latest must have pureed slush or finger food frankly draining. So I decided to go back to work. Part time, going to back to my roots in the travel industry AND working from home. Job done I thought, perfect!
I worked around my family, taking shifts when my son was napping or in bed for the evening and for a good few months it worked. IT WORKED! I thought I’d found the answer to everything and felt like I’d got it made, I could put a load of washing in, go and do a few hours of selling holidays to people, chatting to real life adults AND still do the Mum stuff that I loved (just a few less of the soul destroying baby groups thank God…)
But after a while it got a bit, well, stale. I was in the same place 24/7 and really wasn’t getting the same buzz as I used to have working face to face in an agency. I started feeling low, the anxious thoughts started kicking in and I made the decision to quit and go back to being “just a Mum”.
And then the constant see-saw of Mum guilt and self doubt began. Guilt that I wasn’t “contributing to society” despite working flat out for the previous 17 years. Guilt and worry of other people’s “perceptions” of my choice. Guilt of my son growing up not seeing Mummy as a positive career model. But then on the other side of the see-saw absolute joy that I am there for the nativity plays, assemblies, the cake sales, the getting to know other Mums on the playground, many of whom have become really good friends in the past couple of years of becoming part of the “school Mum” set.
So, in the past year I have made a conscious decision. To stop giving a rats arse to what people think, to focus on what’s really important. Which right now is embracing my “Mum-ness” of living in skinny jeans, (TopShop Jamie jeans FYI) drinking way too much coffee, (Nespresso, I freakin’ love you) and having a little old bash at throwing my thoughts into this. An actual blog. Eeek, I read so many of these (mostly when the TV is being commandeered by a small boy and husband, which is pretty much most of the time) and have often wondered “could I have a go at that??” “Would anyone even read it??” Well here’s my time to find out. This blog will mostly be my often entirely unconnected, random and some may say completely ridiculous thoughts about all sorts of stuff. Let the blogging begin……..