Being a mum is the hardest thing I have ever done.
It’s true. I’ve worked in various job roles since leaving school and none of them ever came close!
Most people think stay at home mums are lazy. “Get a real job, lying on the couch all day isn’t hard work” – FYI if you’ve ever tried to lie on the couch and relax all day with a three year old, you’ll know that it is in fact, very hard work!
I never ever planned to be a stay at home mum. It’s never been my cup of tea. I sometimes hate the fact that I hardly entertain an adult conversation and my day revolves around playing the same game for 3 hours, or a trip to the park, and lets face it it just isn’t the same once you’re too big to play on the slide and roundabout yourself. I wouldn’t say looking at snails and spiders is the most interesting way to spend my days either. Painting is all fun and games until you’ve got a toddler covered in paint who refuses to stand still as you rummage to find the wipes before destruction begins and the white walls are covered in splodges of brown and grey – the two colours you always seem to end up with once all of the paint has been aggressively mixed together by the little Taz-manian devil.
‘The taz-manian devil in action’
I envisioned my days to be so different as a working mum. I’d wake up, get ready into my sassy work outfit, stroll in the sun to work as I drink my Starbucks and spend my day laughing and having mature conversations. I’d pick up my little cherub (who always gets star of the week) and we would come home, have a lovely meal as a family and start the bedtime routine, before relaxing on the couch with Ryan having a cocktail and a chat about our days.
Being a mum is hard – full stop – I don’t care who disagrees. When I was a working mum it was entirely different to the dream scenario I expected. I would wake up at a ridiculous time in the morning to get ready, endure the ‘planking’ of the toddler that doesn’t want to get ready, i’d have to feed Joshua porridge or toast on the bus because we didn’t have time beforehand, read books on the bus to keep him entertained (when I should have been processing my brain for the day ahead and thinking about the customers I need to contact and the emails I need to reply to) and then with a quick rush to nursery and saying goodbye, a rush to work, that meant I usually arrived at work at 08:59am all flustered and sweating like a 40 year old starting her menopause.
I would spend my day juggling work and panicking about doctors appointments, trying to work out when I’m going to fit in the weekly shop that I never had time for or when I’m going to get chance to hoover behind the couch, and when I’m going to actually take that wash out of the machine that I keep re-washing and forgetting about (sometimes I don’t forget, I just can’t be bothered). After work I would rush back to nursery get Joshua, hoisting my bag full of snacks and entertainment for the Journey home and spend the next two hours waiting for/travelling home on the bus. We would get home, Joshua would be cranky so i’d usually have to whip him up something quick for tea, rush the bedtime routine, come downstairs, cook something for Ryan and I, wash the pots and put in a wash that i’ll later ‘forget’ to take out of the machine. We’d lay lifeless and full on the couch for an hour watching something tedious on TV, shower and bed. Repeating daily. I hated it. It was so hard trying to juggle everything without a car, part time hours or even a second to breathe and think about anything other than the above routine.
I had to suddenly come out of work at the beginning of this year when I got way too stressed to deal with all of it, along with the many complications of childcare fees (WHO WANTS TO WORK FULL-TIME AND FOR EVERY £100 THEY EARN £70 GOES ON NURSERY FEES!?) For a while, I felt so guilty that I had left behind being a working mum and doing a proper job like most people. I felt like without working and paying tax I was giving nothing to the world – and poor Ryan had to continue working and missing out on the wondrous things that I would go on to experience as Joshua grows, without thinking about how stressed he might sometimes be being the breadwinner.
After a few weeks of getting through the mum guilt, I must say I’ve had the best few months with Joshua, and a lot of it was because I ignored the ideology that I was a failure for doing so. We took trips to the cinemas together, museums, play areas and parks (usually I take picnic to the park to cure the boredom of watching without being able to join in). Ive watched him grow and his personality alter each day as he slowly turns into the mature little boy that he’s growing up to be. I won’t pretend I haven’t had days when I’ve hated it. Days that it’s been raining, and Joshua doesn’t want to draw a picture or play a game and Peppa fucking pig is on Nick Jr all day (WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO US NICK JR). Its a struggle. Constantly trying to find something new and exciting to keep them entertained, whilst trying to stick to the budget of a sole income also! Constantly wondering if you’re doing the right thing. Wondering if they should know what a hexagon is by now or be able to count to 20. Wondering if he should be able to write his name. (he can’t do either of those yet by the way).
Its hard to find an in-between. When i was working I didnt have a single second to think, and being a stay at home mum i’ve had time to think about EVERYTHING. I even panic about Joshua being okay at high school?!!!!
I’ve loved having a few months to think everything through. After years of questioning who I want to be and what I want out of life, I’m finally in a place where I am comfortable with who I am as a mother, a fiancee, and a 21 year old woman (woman? girl? lady? none of those words sound appropriate!) – I finally have a life plan in place, and I’m excited to spend the next 3 months enjoying and organising everything before I start a new adventure as Joshua starts school. I CANT BELIEVE HE’S GOING TO SCHOOL!
I’m so ready to do something with my life again. I’m ready to get back working and endure the balance of the morning rush and menopause disasters in order to get to work and have those mature conversations that I sometimes crave.
If you’re a stay at home mum I SALUTE YOU – do what is best for you! Get rid of the guilt and the feeling of failure (if you feel that way) and appreciate the time with your babies. Laugh and worry about the paint splodges on the walls later, because there will come a time in life that you’ll treasure them. And if you have a day on the sofa doing nothing – DO NOT FEEL RUBBISH ABOUT IT, ITS NOT A CRIME AND IF ANYTHING, PEOPLE ARE JUST JEALOUS THAT THEY CANT DO THE SAME THING! Keep your head up, and do not feel bad for any choices you make – you’re a parent, but you’re also human!
If you’re a working mum I SALUTE YOU, I know its hard juggling everything but it’ll be worth it for your babies. Do not ever feel guilty for leaving them to go to nursery/school because I promise you once the tears stop, they love it (I used to work in a nursery, i’ve witnessed it first hand) I know it gets crazy busy, but as hard as it is to keep everything going and not having a second to think, its not all sunshine and rainbows giving up either!
Like I said, I love being a mum and its my favourite thing in the entire world, but it’s the hardest thing I have ever done.
PS – I know I always end up getting a little bit preachy towards the end of my posts, sorry! I don’t know what comes over me. One minute I’m watching peppa pig and the next I think I’m at a motivational speaker conference
PPS – I do hope my posts might interest/help dads too – I just don’t refer to them much because I tend to talk about personal experience and I do not have that of a dad.
much love xo