Anyone who knows me or my blog will know the painstaking decision, or lack of, that was whether to return to work or not. I did not. I will not go over the reasons why, as I have already. Suffice to say it wasn’t an easy decision to make or necessarily the one I would have wanted to make, circumstance however prevailed.
In fact I haven’t been into the office and performed a single task in a paid employee capacity since the 1st August 2014, that day my Maternity leave started with my first child. I had back to back maternity, as two babies in 11 months will do that to you. My youngest is now two and it has been just over a year since I confirmed that I would not be returning to my role as a lawyer. Instead spending the days as a stay at home mum.
It is a label that took me a long time to give myself. I don’t know why. It is quite silly really, it just didn’t feel like me. I also still struggle to say to people ‘I don’t work’. It still doesn’t quite seem right somehow. That said I am accepting it and it is starting to roll of the tongue a little easier.
I do miss the work place, or perhaps I miss the structure. I think I respond well to routine and having days that I literally do not know how to fill with two toddlers is difficult at times. I miss adult interaction, obviously. Some days can pass and my only conversation is with my two year olds. Until Mr Tammy comes home at whatever time that may be.
Sometimes he walks out the door leaving me with two small ones literally crying at my ankles or screaming for something and I can’t help but feel that pang of jealously at his freedom. Yet I suspect he feels the same toward me at times.
Sometimes I am just bored. Bored of singing nursery rhymes or playing with playdoh. Sometimes I am bored of the park or peppa pig.
Being a stay at home parent isn’t for everyone and I whole heartedly think that is OK. I wondered if it was for me for a long time.
That said I would often be bored at my desk glaring out the window, longing to be outside. I would often want to be anywhere other than the office and the thought that I could actually be home with my two peace destroyers, I imagine, would be pretty appealing.
I used to resent the bind that was the office, that I was dictated to as to where I had to be when I had to be there.
Not returning to work has brought us a freedom. We are able to leave the country at the drop of a hat, which we do. Especially before the children start school next September. We are able to visit my family in Bristol during the week. Do pretty much anything during the reasonable serenity of the week days.
There is no battle between Mr Tammy and I as to who has to leave work early, who has to pick up the kids, drop them off, who’s job has to compromise to work around the children. We have not had the power struggle over who’s job may be more important or feel as though we are letting employees down should we have a poorly child at home.
Over and above all, what the decision has allowed is for me to give my children my time. I haven’t had to face that pang of guilt when dropping them off daily to go to the office. I haven’t had to feel like I am compromising my role as parent or employee. I haven’t had to spend hours on end, daily, away from from them. That is special to me.
Yes I find it hard at times. I find the constant demands difficult, and yes I can be bored. I worry that I am not stimulating enough for them, that we don’t do enough, that I am not enough as their sole source of entertainment and activity each and every and sometimes that can be consuming. I know deep down however that I do my best.
I am learning to let go of the ‘what if’ and the challenges that come with this role. I am not just talking about my children, there are a whole host of considerations that come into play when you don’t return to work – finances for a start, careers, pensions. The sacrifices that come with this decision run deep. Deeper than I allowed for.
For our family this was the best decision to be made and I can seek comfort in that. Moreover I am learning to love my new role. To truly treasure this time (perhaps not every minute, but you get the idea) I have with my babies for I know and finally accept that it won’t come again. I finally appreciate that I am lucky to be able to do this and that so many people would give their right arm to be in my position.
Yes there I things I miss and days can be tough but actually life as a stay at home parent has some amazing perks with it to. Ones that I would be stupid to overlook and not be grateful for. It has taken some adjusting to, mentally and physically but actually it turns out that I am cut out to be a stay at home mum and, really, I don’t think there is anywhere else I would rather be. Not yet anyway.