But that was the old me. The me before I became a Mum. The me before I took a year off work to concentrate on being the best Mum I could be and the me before I had something fun to live day-to-day for, rather than just working and living for the weekend.
Since then things have changed! Maybe it’s because we’re renovating a house, because I’ve started writing this blog, because we’re trying to create a new tiny human or simply because I am now a parent to a crazy little tinker who makes my heart burst with happiness she’s so fun to be around. Whatever it is, I have finally come to the point where I can happily admit… I’ve taken too much on and life has well and truly got me by the balls, metaphorically speaking.
A few weeks ago, I upped my hours at work and I think that’s what’s done me in! I’d heard the term ‘working mum‘ before but hadn’t actually given it much thought. I mean it’s a Mum who goes to work right? No wrong, very wrong!! Being a ‘working mum’ is someone who is continually knackered for one thing – I’m discovering that! But popping that to one side for a second, a working mum is also someone who has to make sacrifices on a daily basis, like ‘Do I have a tidy house this week, or should I go out and have fun with the children?’ Do I call that friend I’ve been wanting to speak to all month, or do I do the ironing? Do I have a chilled out Sunday with friends or an organised week where there’s petrol in the car, food in the cupboards and the meals are planned? There just aren’t enough hours in the universe to do everything and upping my hours to almost full time has completely knocked me off my feet!
I’ve never really been one to let things get on top of me, and I don’t really know why I’m finding this so hard, but I’m struggling and I’m miserable and it’s not a good place to be! The most ridiculous thing is that I absolutely loved being back at work when I first started. (you can read my interview with Organised Jo here). I loved the adult conversation, the hot cups of tea and the fact I was using my brain again. But that was when I was only working three days a week, since then my annual leave has run out so I’m working the 33 hours I agreed to back in April when I was negotiating my return to work.
I was pregnant then so my plan was to work full-time and sneak off again around Christmas time. I had initially asked for part-time, but my request was refused. Looking on the bright side, I consoled myself with the fact that because I was pregnant, I would only have to work full-time for a few months and then I’d hit maternity leave again. The extra pay would certainly be beneficial to the bank balance, and the loss of a few days with Ettie would be a small sacrifice to pay if I was to be rewarded with another year on full-time maternity benefits…. The problem is, we lost the baby and my plan has backfired massively!
Pre-baby I loved my job, I stayed late if I needed to and even worked weekends if it was required. I was a hard-working, conscientious and valued employee, but since being back, I just can’t seem to get my brain into gear. I spend my days faffing about on the internet, or flicking through photos of Ettie on my phone, and if I do get my teeth into something, I feel guilty because I’ve dared to think about something else, rather than being Ettie’s Mum.
I’ve always been someone who puts in 110% at everything I do, the problem is at the moment I can’t put 10% into anything – not work, having a tidy house or being a mum. There just isn’t enough time! On the one hand I know I’m being ridiculous, not everyone has the luxury of working part-time. Some of my most respected Mum friends work full-time and they are brilliant! Yes they don’t like it, but they aren’t being all moaning Myrtle about it like me! I know I need to snap out of it, but then when I do things like pick Ettie up from nursery, forget to ask if she’s had a nap, drag her round the park so we can have some ‘fun’ and then realise mid-way that she is completely shattered and just wants to go to sleep, I feel shit! If I’d have been at home with her I would have known that she was tired and let her rest, and so the mum guilt starts all over!
I’m not silly and realise the stress probably does have something to do with the fact that this wasn’t my plan. By now I should be winding down the hours, getting ready to begin maternity leave all over again, but instead my workload is increasing! Ettie’s getting funnier and more independent by the day and so the morning goodbyes are getting harder and all the while my bloody period just keeps on coming! I can sense my Mam reading this in a panic, getting on the phone to Stu to check that I’m ok (I’m fine Mum!) I always am. The only comparison I can think of is that returning to work is a little like a break up. No one has died and it certainly isn’t the end of the world, but it is a change and a big change at that so it is going to take some getting used to. I’m sure I will… and that’s probably when I’ll get pregnant again! Life is good at throwing little tricks at us like that!
So my question to all your lovely Mums is, did this happen to you? Am I just being a moaning myrtle or is this some surge of left over hormone you get 12+ months after having a baby Answers on a postcard – or in the comments box below will do xx