It’s been two months since I changed the dynamic of our family. Well, 68 days to be precise, since I returned to office work and I’m just about coming up for air!
Sixty eight days later and I’m just – only just – getting into my stride.
Maybe naively, but I thought the close proximity to home would make it easier. Not easy, just easier. I’m so lucky I can drop the children off at school before whizzing down to the office, so still having that all important connection with the school gate & teachers. But there are days when I have to literally drop-and-go at the line as I have a 9am in the diary. Of course, that’s the day Little Mister wants an extra hug at the gate or has forgotten his lunchbox in the car!
But he always gets his extra hug, even if it means I have to forgo my parking space which are all gone by 9.05am. They always come first.
The mental agility that goes with being a working mummy is also something I’d underestimated. My journey time from school gate to work is six minutes. I’m super lucky and would never moan about it; but it does mean I have just six minutes to prepare for grown up conversations. Literally, my brain switches from Pokemon cards to marketing strategies in minutes. Have I ever forgotten important information because my head was trying to remember the transformation techniques of a Power Rangers Dyno Charger? Well, I couldn’t possibly say… *smiles*
Now that both of my children are at school I am pleased I’ve returned to work as I have. But I do miss many of the things I had when at home. The freedom to sort out the shopping out of weekend hours; being able to take part in the school fete without taking precious holiday allocation; and most importantly being at the school gate at the end of each day.
This is the really hard part.
This is the part that rips my heart in two. Especially when my son said one evening “Mummy. I liked it better when you picked us up from school.”
The guilt. And this is just sixty eight days in.
I know this is an age-old dilemma. Having the freedom without financial support; or having a financial cushion whilst relinquishing some of those freedoms.
And it’s not a question I’m going to answer now.
But I know that this guilt is diluted with the wonderful help of our child-carer nanny. She’s become my most important partner; the one who I rely on to make my children smile when I’m not there. The person I rely one, full stop!
Our working partnership has slotted beautifully into place *touches wood.* As she has sole care of the Little Shires she may be slightly more expensive but it allows the children to still enjoy their after-school clubs, have playdates and enjoy their downtime in their own home.
Taking the activities away from the Little Shires would’ve turned their world around even more than I did when I went back to work. At times I think going back to work is a selfish move. So I couldn’t take their after-school clubs away from them, too. That really would have tipped their lives upside down and squeezed our weekends even tighter.
I know there’s no substitute for mummy, but at the weekend Little Mister said “I like Nanny H. On Monday I’m going to give her a hug.”
Knowing that he feels like this 68 days in is wonderful. It *partially* shifts the gold bar of guilt that’s sitting heavily on my shoulders
Mademoiselle says she cooks dinner “so good you just want to photography it” (you can tell she’s a blogger’s daughter!). And for someone who sees food as fuel, this is a real compliment.
Knowing this makes my going to work that bit easier.
It doesn’t take away the mummy guilt but it does help redress the balance.
I am enjoying my work; the challenge of juggling presentations at work whilst designing Pinterest outfits for school Viking day is demanding a high level of mental dexterity, but it’s one that I needed. It may not be fashionable to say but after six years at home it’s true.
I'm Tracey, nice to meet you. Mummyshire was 'born' three years ago after we moved from London to the Oxford countryside. Here I chart our journey adjusting to our new lives, the challenges of being in the countryside & surviving parenthood.