I thought that after publishing my first post I should give myself a bit more of an introduction and explain what led me to start writing this blog. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “What on earth are you complaining about? You have a healthy daughter and you’re going back to a job you love.” I realise I’m lucky in loads of ways but it still doesn’t stop me feeling torn about going back to work.
I basically travelled and partied my way through my twenties. My life revolved around going to gigs and festivals and planning city breaks and trips to SE Asia. Aside from our home, Glastonbury is my favourite place on earth; Anthony even asked me to marry him there! Then in my early thirties I was lucky enough to find a great job doing something I really like (I work in communications/public relations). I thrived on the pressure of the job, meeting deadlines, working trips to Leeds, Liverpool, London – no problem! Training courses to further my professional development – bring it on! To keep on top of the latest trends in comms and social media I spent many a lazy Sunday morning (usually hung over) in bed scouring the internet for information; iPad in one hand, vat of coffee in the other. I barely had a maternal bone in my body and all I had to worry about was myself.
So when I fell pregnant I naively thought the baby would fit into my lifestyle. We would strap the baby onto our backs and still travel and go to festivals and everything would carry on as normal. I couldn’t understand or relate to parents who seemed to be all consumed by their children, didn’t go out any more and constantly moaned about being tired. We were definitely not going to be those people. I even went to Glasto preggers but when our baby girl arrived, the reality hit. Just getting out of the house was an ordeal. It’s a whole new world when you have to go out with a pram, nappy bag and breast feed in public. And the feeding! She fed every two bloody hours until we weaned her at six months. I couldn’t fill her up. Lo and behold I was constantly knackered (actually I still am because the little monkey STILL hasn’t slept through the night – nope not once!) Even more bizarrely to me my maternal instinct took over and I found I couldn’t just leave her to flit off to a concert in Manchester. There wasn’t a fibre in my body that would let me do it. What was happening to me? My brain was turning to mush. I was too tired to read or think beyond the next feed. During the tough times I actually mourned for my former life, the old me, instead of a life of baby poo, tears (mostly mine) and breast milk.
It took me a little while to become comfortable in my new mum skin. I found being at home with her isolating and, well let’s face it at times, boring. I never really said it out loud because that would make me the worst mum in the world, right? But time has given me the perspective to know that what I have, this precious darling girl, is so much better than the lifestyle I had before and that I would do it all again in a heart beat. And the truth is this phase is short, it will not last forever. She will sleep eventually, she won’t need my breast milk anymore and I will miss it. We will get to travel and go to festivals again and in future we will have our little mate with us and will be creating wonderful family memories – perfect. (I would, at this juncture, like to illustrate the mama extraordinaire I have become and point out that the other half is currently at a music festival while I stay at home with a poorly baba – I deserve a medal for best friggin’ fiancée in the world don’t you think?)
Last night I sat feeding her in the dark at daft o’clock in the morning, crying out of sheer love, tiredness and not wanting to leave her. She looked so small and vulnerable. Thoughts were racing through my brain. Guilt is creeping in. Am I a crap mum for wanting to go back to work? Have I done enough? Have I made the most of our time together? We did the baby massage, baby groups, baby sign and google healthy baby led weaning recipes but should I have worried less about that and spent more time just me and her? Should I have attempted more day trips or gone on holiday? Well no because the romantic notion of being able to take your baby anywhere isn’t true for us owing to her ridiculous feeding schedule and the fact that to this day she screams if she’s in her car seat for more than 20 minutes. On the other hand have I spent too much time with her? When I go to work will she wonder where I am and be miserable? Arghhhh! All these thoughts! Why do we do this to ourselves?
I slowly feel like I’m rediscovering pieces of the old me. Not least because I’m starting to wear normal underwear again instead of those horrid nursing bras! We’ve booked tickets to go and see Fatboy Slim for later this year so she better be off the bloody boob by then – mama wants to dance and drink and swear I’m never doing it again the next day. I want to write this blog and I want to go to work (I don’t know who I think is going to pay for all these frivolities if I don’t!) I want to be me but I also want to come home at the end of the day and be a mummy to Willow because that’s the best and most rewarding job in the world and I can and bloody well will do both!
Gosh I’ve rattled on a bit but it helps so much to write these things down. Thanks for staying with me and do let me know if you’re going through the same thing. Perhaps we can muddle through together?
Speak to you soon!