I ventured back into the workplace a couple of weeks ago after a thirteen month hiatus. I didn’t want to go back to work. I wasn’t excited about the prospect in the slightest. But why aren’t new mothers allowed to say I don’t want a career anymore? There is a pressure to return, I know I felt it!
What’s wrong with you? Everyone has to go back at some point. Why wouldn’t you want your freedom back? Sure won’t it be great for you to have adult conversation again? It’ll be great to have money coming in again. The baby can’t be clung off you the whole time Aisling. Won’t it be great just to be yourself again?
That’s the thing; I’m never going to be myself again. Who would have thought it? I want to be a SAHM as they are known on the many mommy blogger sites. If you had asked me a year and a half ago if I would enjoy being a stay at home mam I probably would have gasped at the thoughts of it. I believed I would want to regain my financial independence, talk to adults in my field, make decisions and bring about changes in a new role. I never understood that being a mother was literally the most important job position you could ever hold.
But the reality is that the majority of mothers with a mortgage or rent and bills to pay have to go back to work. Not to mention the cost of a tiny dependent who, despite your best efforts, during the first year of his life hasn’t learned how to do anything remotely useful enough to earn money and pay his way.
But fear not, I have found that there are a number of benefits to extracting their claw like hands from your jacket in the mornings as you watch the beads of salty tears run from their puffy eyes.
- You look fabulous in office attire
Yep, I said it. I look fucking marvelous for three days a week. Hair done, make up on and back in my extensive work wardrobe that had taken a back seat to harem pants and nursing tops. The owner of the coffee shop we frequent didn’t even recognise me. He said “without the baby”, but I know that he really meant not looking like a beggar. My regular homeless chic look returns on Thursday to Sunday of course.
- There is nothing more magical in your life than finishing a cup of tea
I can’t overstate this – caffeine is a miracle substance that you just don’t get to fully appreciate with a one year old hanging off your leg, while you try to teach him the concept of HOT and that this is ‘mammy’s milk’. Then he gets confused because ‘mammy’s milk’ is often also red in colour and comes in a wine glass. These days I drink pots of tea, not just cups. I drink them alone. I cherish every last, golden drop of deliciousness.
- Work = REST
I now go to work for a rest. It’s not that my new role isn’t busy or challenging, it’s just that it’s not as challenging as keeping a one year old entertained for eight hours. In fact I am quietly confident that a day spent as an Alaskan crab fisherman or a diplomat to a country embroiled in a national scandal or even spent as Bruce Willis in Armageddon saving the world from impending doom would be less stressful than a day with Toby. Therefore work = REST. Don’t overstep the mark now and confuse it with work = SLEEP or you might get fired. You were warned.
- You are fucking fantastic at your job
How did the professional world cope without you? That’s what I want to know. I’m assuming that the hotel industry in Ireland suffered a tremendous blow while I was absent due to the lack of my awesomeness in its realm. Now that I’m back in business you had better be ready for all my fabulous ideas and enthusiasm coming at you like a freight train. Towards the end of my pregnancy I struggled with my place in the corporate world and felt quite side-lined in my role. Returning to work has made me realise that my skill set is broad and I’ve a lot to offer. It’s great to get that confidence back.
- Having a legitimate excuse for your complete lack of homemaker abilities (and wine drinking)
He didn’t marry me for my baking skills, that’s for sure. However when the discussion came up about me returning to work my husband said very seriously, and in no way intended it as a joke, that maybe I should go back to work full time and him stay at home. Why? Because it’s not like I clean the house ever and he has to come home and cook for us all anyway so wouldn’t it make more sense? A valid point, but he wasn’t getting off that easy. These days I can come home, legitimately and with less judgement, crack open a bottle of wine and let the dishes pile up all around me. I’ve been at work all day sure!
There you have it. Baby will be fine. You will be fine. Tea is your friend. Wine is your best friend.