I should have gone back to work last month. When you start daydreaming about being at work more than you do soft play you know you’ve got a problem. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved every minute of my maternity leave. Actually that would be a lie because there have been some moments when I’ve been close to tears because I’m so bored and exhausted I don’t know what to do with myself. No, what I mean is that I’ve loved all 12 months of it. Because let’s be real, being a stay at home mum is no walk in the park. Having experienced life as a working mum and life as a stay at home mum I can safely say that going to work, being in an office environment is a breeze in comparison. Between the CEO and the three year old, its my three year old that scares and frustrates me more. Real talk.
When the money runs out maternity leave isn’t so much fun..
But back to my point, being that after 12 months of maternity leave, I am SO ready to go back to work. Because lets face it, when the money runs out maternity leave isn’t so much fun. Most of the time I feel like I am just waiting for next month so that I can go back to work and that’s not how I want to feel about my maternity leave at all. Once you get to this stage it’s so bittersweet, because you know how much you will look back at this time and berate yourself for not making more of it, for not soaking up every single minute of freedom from work. Yet at the same time you are itching to get out of your mum run uniform and put on something that makes you feel more than just a mum. To have adult conversations that aren’t just with your significant other who nods like they are listening to the latest hilarious or disgusting thing the baby did when you know they aren’t really. To walk around without a child clinging to your leg like a wet limpet (this actually happens on a surprisingly regular basis) and yes, to drink a whole cup of hot tea (the ultimate stay at home mum goal).
I feel the worst mum guilt ever for choosing to go back to work..
Dont get me wrong, I am going to miss our two little ones more than anything, and yes, I feel the worst mum guilt ever for choosing to go back to work over staying at home with them. Especially following my recent redundancy, a potential opportunity to do something different or become a stay at home mum. I even had the opportunity to take a new role that offered me amazing flexibility, the kind that you wish for as a working parent. But, and I realise this is where I might start to sound a little like I’ve lost the plot, I chose to turn it down. For another amazing opportunity I was offered, one that has the potential to be amazing for my career, but doesn’t offer me such amazing flexibility. I must be mad, I thought as I actually declined the opportunity that on paper makes the most sense for our family. But for once I chose me. I realise that I may end up eating my words if it doesn’t work out, but I’d much rather have tried and failed than regret not taking the opportunity and never knowing if it could have worked.
Mum’s shouldnt be the ones to make all the career sacrifices and compromises
Because I think I’ve earned this opportunity and I think I deserve it, no less than my husband would. Because let’s be honest, if this was my husband, or in fact any other man in this situation it wouldn’t even be something to discuss, not really. I find it ridiculous that women have to think twice about the career opportunities they say yes and no to once they have a family in a way that I don’t think men have to. Of course I am generalising, but this is the experience and reality of myself and of people I know, and to be honest I don’t think its fair. I dont blame dads, I blame society.
Why are women the only ones having the awkward difficult conversations that no one wants to have, why aren’t men having them too?
Yes, in the main mums may be the main care givers during maternity leave but that doesn’t mean that they have to be the ones to make all the career sacrifices and compromises. When a woman prepares to return to work after maternity leave its the woman who typically asks for flexibility and adjustments with her employer, not men. Whilst they may share pick ups and drop offs as my husband does, I don’t see men speaking to their employers about flexibility in the same way. Why are women the only ones having the awkward difficult conversations that no one wants to have, why aren’t men having them too? Yes I know again I am generalising, but I think we are only going to really solve the flexible working debate once we have both men and women working flexibly to some degree and having THOSE conversations too.
So that was a very long way of me saying that I am looking forward to going back to work, and that although it isn’t quite the flexible, part time arrangement that I had been dreaming of for most of my maternity leave, I am up for the challenge and excited about the new chapter ahead. I know that if it all goes wrong I’ll only have myself to blame, but at least I’ll know I tried to have it all.
Can we have it all? Am I the only one that feels like this? Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!