Today marks 4 years since we found out I was pregnant with Toby, and also 18 months since Martha was born. Today I’m off work because Martha is ill, and today I’m feeling incredibly sad.
I love blogging, I love indulging my passion for writing, recording our little family’s life, working with great brands, the friends I’ve made. Blogging has given me an outlet, opportunities, experiences; it’s led to a full time job I’d never have gotten had I not blogged. And yet, here I am with my darling girl asleep on me, wondering if at any point in my 3 years and 4 months of parenthood, I have actually been a good mum.
Hindsight is a glorious thing isn’t it? Everyone tells you to cherish your babies because they grow up so quickly, and you so often truly believe that you are doing. Then they become toddlers, pre-schoolers, and now all I can see is what I’ve missed because of trying so hard to make my blog, my freelance work, my shop, and now my job, work.
Toby goes to school next year and I spent the first year of his life struggling with his reflux and high needs personality, most of his second year having a tough pregnancy, his third year with a newborn and PND, now he’s in his fourth year and I’m working full time. When was I just Toby’s mummy? The answer, I fear, is never.
And Martha? In her 18 short months I’ve had the haze of PND, I’ve blogged, I’ve tried to work without her being in childcare, I’ve opened a shop, and now full time work. Never just being her mummy.
It’s such a double-edged sword because I truly believe that blogging helped me a lot through the toughest days of parenthood, and most certainly the work I’ve done this past few years has built a decent CV where previously my experience was in no way related to the writing and creating that I love so much. I love working; adult company, actual lunch breaks, a hot drink whenever I fancy one. But the commute, the kids being in nursery from 7:45am until 6pm, it’s tough. I was fine with it all until today. Until my baby girl needed me so much and in not going to work, not having clients to please, not meeting deadlines, I have been able to be whatever she’s needed, perhaps for the first time in her life.
It’s silly isn’t it? I’ve been very open about how the stay-at-home mum life doesn’t suit me, and since starting work in June I’ve not felt the guilt that so many articles would suggest I should feel, about having a full time job. I think it’s because I chose to get my job, as opposed to circumstances or finances dictating it. I’ve never looked at friends who went back to work when their mini people were babies or toddlers and thought badly of them – I firmly believe that the best thing to do is what’s best for your family.
What’s best for my family is me not sinking into depression because I’m not the mum I thought I’d be. What’s best for my family is me doing a job that fulfils my need to work, while enjoying parenthood on the times I’m at home.
My sadness today is entirely irrational. Yes, I could have never taken on blog work, freelance clients, opened Apples & Pips. But would I have been okay with that? I doubt it. And when I had have decided to return to work, my CV would have been nothing to shout about.
I look back upon the last 3 years and in truth, there are plenty of wonderful memories. We’ve had – and continue to have – great times. I guess that with Martha cuddled into me asleep and contented, there’s still a part of me mourning the natural earth mother I spent so many years dreaming I would be.
Can anyone else relate to this? A complete love for your children, trying to balance with a need to work. A wish to give them more love than they can ever understand, but a desire to have an identity that isn’t exclusively defined by parenthood?