So it’s been MONTHS since I have not been at my office job. Okay, before you freak out, let me explain.
Last October – yes, almost 5 months ago – I chose to leave my office job to pursue other opportunities. When I left, I wasn’t in a rush to find something else. I’m getting to be a woman of a certain age and I decided to take the time to find somewhere to settle into, possibly a place to retire from!
Ah, to have lofty ideals! Bah!
Anyway, with Christmas approaching, I made the conscious decision to take a break, enjoy my son, declutter my house and try to find the career to put my sights on. Besides, no one would be hiring in November anyway, right?
Christmas was incredible. I had Kidlet with me. We decorated the tree. We did Christmasy things. I celebrated my birthday more than once. New Year’s too was fun! So that was all well and good. I was happy, free to do what I wanted to do and for the first time in a long time, my mind was clear. Then the fuss of New Year’s passed and Kidlet went back to school.
The thing is (and I see it so clearly now) I seemed to have overlooked one little thing in this whole scheme….I am not cut out to be a Stay-At-Home Mom (SAHM)! I’ve had A LOT of time to think about this. I’ve not been an office worker for almost five months now and while the first half of those five months was great, the second half has not been so great.
My mother was a primary school teacher, and to top it off, we attended her school, so I know just how hard it is to work full-time outside the home AND raise a family. I was never one of those children who wished their mum didn’t have a full-time job since we were together ALL THE TIME. She finished work when we finished school, she was home when we were on vacation and she was home on the weekends too. You would think that it was too much, but it actually wasn’t. When she was home, she was definitely Mummy and when she was at work she was Mrs. Hunte. Make no mistake about that. Parenting was done at home.
Kidlet has asked me more than once when I’m going back to work. At first I was kinda offended, but then I realized that to him, I am a Working Mother. He’s been in childcare since he was 1 and has never known me to pick him up from school or to be one of the mothers standing outside the classroom window when the bell rang. Mornings were not lazy time, rolling out of bed at 7.15 to leisurely watch cartoons while having a hot breakfast. No. His reality – and mine, as a matter of fact – is being dragged out of bed at 6.30, sit and have a bowl of cereal while maybe watching half of a cartoon then into the shower, get dressed and try to be out door by 7.45 so I could make the train. It’s who we are. It’s who he knows us to be.
I do understand why it happened, though. You always think the grass is greener on the other side, right? While at work, I longed to be able to attend class concerts and all the other things mentioned in notices I sadly filed away instead of writing their messages into my dayplanner.
Now I see that while it has been wonderful sleeping in and being able to see him relaxed and not rushed when leaving the house, it’s not really who I am. I need the adrenaline. I need the pressure. I need the confinement and structure that a paid job gives me. I need to have a larger purpose and discuss things other than the Lego movie and if we could arrange a play date to see someone’s new puppy. I know raising a child is the best job I can have. I don’t discount that. I just think that I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting it in the very limited time I’ve had. Stretching it out for whole days on end is too much for me. Conversely, I’m sure if career SAHMs had to do their parenting in 3 hours a day after a full day at the office and 2 hours of commuting, they would not enjoy it either.
So here I am, struggling to return to myself – Working Mother. It’s who I am. Kidlet likes me being at home, but the fact that he’s clearly waiting for me to go back to work, I know he knows it’s who I am too!