I think I’m classed as a millennial woman. A mid thirties, career minded woman with children in the mix who is trying to figure out how to have it all – if “have it all” really exists. I am the type of woman who has a partner, a mortgage and ideas in her head to climb all sorts of ladders. A woman whose ideas about herself, her life, her future, changed almost without her knowing but those ladders were still there. I was twenty one leaving college with a Bachelors Degree in the Arts. I jumped feet first into my career as a Librarian and continued with postgraduate studies in the evenings. I loved it. It was a plan, a path, an ideal I was working towards. And here I am twelve years later, abandoning that career I worked so hard for. It wasn’t always the plan to stay at home, but life has changed my options, and more importantly, my perspective.
I’m sure I’ve written about my career before but after over 200 posts on this blog (yoswers! I sure do like to write!) and a teething baby warbling at me, I haven’t the energy to search back and see how much I’ve told you all. If I repeat myself in this post, I do apologise!
Straight out of college, on my 21st birthday, I got a temporary six week job as a library assistant for the Irish Nursing Board. Those six weeks turned into three years. One house move and a marriage later, I left that first full time job and spent the next ten years in the Rotunda Hospital. The job I have just resigned from. The job that moulded me, the colleagues I grew up with. And the place both of our babies where born.
Working in the Rotunda was like a family. With over 800 staff, you never felt anonymous or alone. You couldn’t walk through the hospital without stopping to talk to someone and say a hundred hellos as you went. There is a familiarity amongst the staff and a hidden something that tells you that you belong and are a part of something greater.
It being a maternity hospital had its advantages. Newborn baby cries, happy families and excited brothers and sisters were more often than not what greeted you. But the hardship, worry, stress and fear of newborn loss, of postnatal depression and infertility is all very real. No matter, the dedicated and hardworking staff have made the Rotunda a hospital to be very proud of, a place I am honoured to have had the privilege to work in and make a difference.
I loved my job and I like to think I was good at my job and that hopefully I will be missed. But, everyone is replaceable and I know that whoever takes on my role will have a challenging but rewarding time in the Rotunda. I learnt so much in my ten years there. My job was incredibly varied and it was impossible to know exactly what was on the agenda on any given day. I was always on hand to help, guide, teach and encourage our staff in their research, their studies, their role in the hospital. I taught our young midwives how to research their papers. I supported our social workers as they took on the arduous task of working and studying for their online master of social work. I helped medical students year after year and watched them come back as SHO’S, Registrars and find their feet as young doctors. I was involved in hospital exhibitions and restoration projects. And I was there for a decade, celebrating milestones in our hospitals long history.
And now it’s all in my past and my heart pangs a little.
It’s quite an emotional rollercoaster leaving a job that meant a lot to you for a future that is uncertain, possibly rocky but a future I get to carve from my own hands. I know freelancing is not going to be easy, that my income may be sporadic as my time to write is dependent on two smallies giving me the chance to click at the keyboard. And although the idea of being a stay at home mum was never in my mind as I worked my way through the corridors of the Rotunda, it’s where I am now and so far, despite some minor anxiety building since I handed in my notice, it’s a decision I don’t think I’ll regret.
I know I’ve said it before, and I suppose by repeating it I’m attempting to justify my decision to myself, but the long commute, the full working day, the lack of a Flexible schedule meant changes had to be made. But of course, not to sit on my laurels, and again to justify it to myself, I’m determined in changing my career, changing focus and giving myself something more.
My education has not been wasted. My experience has not been for nothing. My years learning and growing and developing skills have not been pointless. Every day in college, every assignment completed, every day in the office, and every time I started up my computer and opened the doors of that library has made me the person I am today. My job, my career, has given me skills, knowledge and experience that will help me be a better writer, a sophisticated editor and a daring Momma Bear.
Even though I’m excited about this new change, I know that being at home may make me feel isolated. There will be a day that I miss my old career, the people, the museum like building where the Rotunda will stand for only a short while more until it moves to more modern and characterless buildings. But in a short time, the hospital I once knew will be gone and quite possibly the person that it once knew will be gone too. I am afterall in a major transition.
Being a stay at home mum was never on my agenda but I couldn’t think of any other way to live now. My time has been freed up to give our children the attention and focus they need. I have the drive to put myself forward and grab a new career, giving myself the most flexible arrangement I can think of. Home.
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