W is for Working Mum: My Struggles
Working full-time after becoming a mum is much harder than I thought. I actually didn’t think it would be hard. I grew up in an environment where my mum worked; so, working and being a mum wasn’t an issue for me. However, the nature of my mum’s working environment was such that she could see us often when we were little. She worked for my dad and she had help; so she was able to take us to work for a period of time after her maternity leave.
I wish I could take Precious Sparkle to work, but I can’t. I have to leave him every morning during the week to help other children on their life’s journey.
I don’t remember the date but I remember the first time he bid me goodbye; oh, how my heart rose and sank at the same time! I was at once delighted to hear him say another word, but also sad that he knew I was leaving him and that he could verbally acknowledge it in a way that I understood. 🙁 I find it intriguing that he still says, ‘bye’, or ‘bye bye’ on days he can’t see me leave, and just before I get to the front door. ‘How does he know I’m leaving the house’, I’ve wondered at those times.
He has grown increasingly alright with me leaving in the morning and we’ve learnt to manage it better to soothe away any sadness. I suppose it’s partly my fault when he gets upset about it. I have a tendency to linger at my goodbyes to him. I find it so hard to tear myself away from his side, and to stop holding his hands and looking at his cute little face. I sometimes feel my heart breaking as I walk away from him to leave the house; what a heart-sink moment!
Unlike before, bringing marking and planning tasks home to do in the evenings and on weekends are not guaranteed options of making progress with my school work. It’s hard to do much when Precious Sparkle is awake; and you know, I’m glad this is the case. I’m glad for him to have a lot of my attention. He is only going to be at this stage for so long, and sharing it all with him is so enriching; what a privilege!
This of course means that I play ‘catch-up’ more than ever before; and I’m constantly looking for pockets of time to get things done. Not as much gets done as I would like :-(. The middle of the nights are also not free from interruptions; mummy’s milk is called upon quite a bit, sometimes more than mummy would choose. 🙂 And of course there is sleep; yeah … sleep … it has to happen sometime … it needs to happy much longer than it currently does.
New words and actions without me
I enjoy hearing him say new words and do new things, but I feel so disappointed when I find out that he has been saying or doing some of them for a few days. It makes me feel like crying sometimes. I want to be there at the start of all his new words and actions BUT I can’t. I can’t be there for him at ALL the moments I consider to be important in his development, and I’m learning to come to terms with this.
I am learning to stop feeling denied of what seemed like my right as his mum. I’m learning to really cherish ALL our moments together, even more so now that I’m not in most of his moments during the week. I’m learning to accept that this is our lives at this point and that it’s best to make the most of what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t. I remind myself that the time I have outside of work should not be wasted on wishing I was there, but rather invested in being FULLY there.
I’m very fortunate that I work really close to home, and I’m able to leave work at lunch times to breastfeed Precious Sparkle. On the days his afternoon naps run over, I’m of the view that it’s better not to wake a sleeping baby; I instead go home earlier after school finishes.
His attempt to run into my arms with loud giggles when I arrive home at lunch and after work helps a lot; they are massive heart-rise moments. They make my leaving home feel that much better. Seriously, I’ve never known anyone so happy to see me over and over again. It amazes and amuses me, and I can’t get over it. It makes me feel so important and so very special; and it makes our ‘reunion’ full of so much joy.
I don’t feel any guilt for working; the bills have to be paid and working is a good thing. When the time comes, I want Precious Sparkle to know the value of work and I intend to cultivate a very good work ethic in him as the opportunity arises.
Nonetheless, I must say that I work because I have to work; there isn’t much I can do about it. Perhaps my dream of becoming a pro-blogger will come true someday, and I can then run my business from home 🙂 . If I didn’t have to work, I might still work part-time in my teaching job anyway. I enjoy teaching though there’s also much I don’t like about it. I’ll confront the ‘want to work’ issue if and when it happens.
I continue to work through my working mum struggles.
Do you struggle as a working mum / dad? If not, do you struggle with juggling work with other important things in your life?
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