Its a strange feeling, when you decide not to return to work after maternity leave. Whatever your reasons may be, it doesn’t change the fact your are walking away from a chapter in life. You are starting anew and afresh but you are definitely leaving something behind. You may be happy to walk away from your former life, to shut the door and never look back. Or you may, like me, be a little skeptical. Wonder what the future may hold, miss the feelings associated with pursuing a career and on the really bad days you may even feel like ‘this is your lot in life’.
My daily responsibilities now consist of, ensuring bums are clean, tummies are fed and clothes are washed. I am OK with it and I, along with my partner choose to do this, kind of. Truth be told though, it doesn’t always feel like a great responsibility. I mean it is, I am in charge of not one but two lives. They are completely and utterly dependant on me for more or less everything, it doesn’t get much more ‘hard core’ than that. I wouldn’t change this, not for the world, I am lucky to be able to spend this time with my children. I adore them and I adore having this time with them. That however doesn’t change the fact that, deep down, I want more. Maybe not right now, but somewhere, somehow and at sometime I want more.
As a child, I knew I wanted to have children, at some point. I had them earlier than I thought I would but as it happens it was right. Despite knowing I wanted children I also knew I wanted a career. I wanted the responsibility, the pride and the feeling that comes with working for something, achieving it and being successful at what you do. I also, shamelessly, really like nice things or just things, for me and for those close to me and I like being able to buy them myself, with my money that I have earned. Rightly or wrongly I like to be financially independent. As a child I wanted to be a judge, or a teacher, but I am sure 98% of little girls want to be a teacher at some point. I ended up legally qualified and practicing law. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be but neither was it all bad. I saw a future in it, I worked toward one and on good days, it was really good.
I have walked away from this now. Possibly indefinitely. I am not sure it is more of this that I want. But I do want to be needed for something other than playing kitchens. For something other than putting dinner on the table or fresh sheets on the bed. I want to be respected for all I have achieved outside of my house. I want people to say ‘fair play, she worked hard and she did well’. I want to be able to provide and not just be provided for.
Yet with that comes a tornado of guilt. I am not saying it is wrong or bad, by any stretch of the imagination, to be provided for or for your ‘more’ to be at home and doing all that comes with it. That is, to my mind one of the hardest jobs and for reasons I still cannot quite fathom attracts the least praise. I am and will be for goodness knows how long. I am not setting out to offend or upset. Most importantly however it is the guilt toward my family. They come first. They are the very top of the queue at this very moment time and I almost feel ashamed to want to change that. To want more. Should my children and being their mother not be enough? Does it make me a bad person to want more? I know it shouldn’t and it doesn’t, not really, yet I can’t help but feel it.
I don’t know if I will get more, I don’t even know what that ‘more’ is right now. I don’t have a career path to speak of now and I wouldn’t know which path to take were I to have a choice. I don’t even know if ‘more’ is in the shape of a job or career. It is not my time now, a phrase that has stuck with me and I have adopted from Just Saying Mum, who is finding her time again. It may not be my time, for quite some time, but that is OK too. Equally it may be sooner than I think. I don’t know. What I do know, is that it will come again. It may not be how I first envisioned but the baby fog has cleared and I do believe if I want more, I can, when the time is right, we all can. Being a mum doesn’t stop that, if anything it liberates it. It can allow you to re-asses, to re prioritise, to start a new dream because it fits your life now. It can allow you to take the scary step of leaving your safe full time employment to pursue a dream because circumstances have changed. I am learning, to not resent the change, to embrace it. It is a positive and you can make a positive outcome of it. So here is to wanting more.