There has been a revolution in our house! First came the rebellion however. It was Momma Bear versus the toys and Momma Bear was losing fast. It was Christmas 2017. Santa had arrived with a sack plentiful of battery warranted toys and everything seemed to break at once. The cordless screwdriver had been misplaced and Momma’s usual “everything in its place” attitude had dispersed since Little Bean arrived. Her tool box aka the wicker basket was a cumbersome mess containing more yarn than tools. What was she to do?
Today I enrolled Little Miss in primary school for next September. Big school. And my heart skipped a beat. If I thought it was bad her starting Montessori, then I’m going to be a mess when she joins the líne with her little friends. Her school uniform perfectly straight and ironed in those first few weeks, socks pulled up to the knee, shoes polished and oversized bag on her back. A right of passage. Growing up.
Little Bean is an animal, a hungry animal. I started weaning her just before six months because, dear god, I couldn’t handle the stares and shouts at whatever was on my plate anymore. No matter what I was eating, she wanted. When Little Miss was a baby I was an un-adventurous, time poor Momma Bear whose commute meant there were very little home cooked dinners for her. It didn’t kill her! She ate and ate and happily moved on to our dinners when life settled down. Little Bean’ s appetite has outweighed her sisters from the very beginning. She’s an animal… did I say that already?
This week I handed in my resignation. Dun dun duuuuunn! My intitial reaction last night, after a very anti-climactic day of talking to my boss and sorting things out with HR, was “Oh dear god, what the fricking F have I done?” Followed by mild panic and anxiety as it was all finally oh so very, very real. I was due back to my post as a Medical Librarian in May but now I will officially not be going back to work after maternity leave. I am leaving behind a twelve year career to start something brand new. It’s the big decision, the big change, the new me I was talking about last week. So, why did I take the massive step to quit and what am I doing now?
I almost called this The Isolation of Motherhood as I’m in the thick of being a Stay at Home Mum on maternity leave but I’ve gotten to know so many Stay at Home Dads the last year through blogging and friends, so I’m being politically correct with my title. I wrote a post last year about the loneliness of parenthood which was about how your relationship can change when kids come along. I didn’t think I’d write about how lonely being a Stay at Home parent would be because I’ve read so much about it, I swore I wouldn’t let the isolation get to me. But it does. And I do wonder if dads feel the same.
I’ll be honest I’m glad to see the back of 2017. In a year when I should have been ecstatic at the fact that our baby was born without any issues, I was a mess. There’s no nicer way to say it really. I struggled for months with postnatal anxiety and I’m still not over the final hurdle. There are days that are tough but I’m managing a million times better than I was a few months ago. Even so, I’m starting this year with a particular mindframe that is going to keep me balanced and in control. I’m finding the positive again and I’m living to my full potential. Or at least trying.
Don’t hate me but yes I’m already thinking about Summer Holidays. For the first time in my life, I have already booked a family holiday for the Summer. No, we’re not going to Spain or Disneyland, although they were options that soared out of our price range even with the sales. Instead we’re taking the kids on their very first family holiday to a self catering house on a rural organic farm in Wexford. The beach, the quiet, the sunsets, the reminder of the magic of family holidays when I was a kid. I genuinely can’t wait for this staycation.
The root of work life balance is supposed to be happiness. Where are you happier? How can you be happier juggling two separate scenarios- work life and home life but for many, the root travels deeper on a very basic and monetary plane – money. Is it there? How can you get it? And how can you spend less of it? When making decisions about how you are able to balance a career and a family, the basis of it all often comes down to how you will survive – on one income, on two, on cut salaries or by getting creative. Finding your worth and appreciating what you are worth to your employer is the first step to earning a wage you deserve. But are you brave enough to chase your worth? A question I constantly ask myself.
With the new year just days away, I can’t help but start to consider the ideal that is “work life balance” as a parent. There is no doubt that it is not easy being a parent and working a full time job. Being constantly pulled in each and every direction becomes tiresome and we end up constantly questioning why there aren’t more hours in the day, because damn we need them! The thoughts of returning to work have played on my mind since Little Bean was born and I’m wondering is there an answer to the perfect work life balance.
I had no intention of writing a post over the holidays let alone on Christmas Day but when the day goes awry, all things are open to change. Our kids are four years old and seven months old. They have no expectations for Christmas day. I, on the other hand, do, and when those plans become incredibly skewed I can’t help but feel deflated, disappointed and as though my Christmas has been stolen from me. As I write, it’s still Christmas Day but I’m wishing it was over already. It’s been one hell of a washout with one thing or another but I’ve learnt some very important lessons today.