When I went on maternity leave with my daughter I had every intention of returning to work part time after I’d spent a good nine to twelve months off with my baby. Having spent those first few months together, practically just my daughter and I alone every day, the idea of going back to work just didn’t appeal to me at all and quite honestly started to get me really down. I decided to forget all about it for a couple more months and told work that I’d be taking the full twelve months leave I was entitled to. As I spent more and more time with my daughter, watching her grow into the beautiful little character she was becoming, work became even further from my mind.
After having a good conversation with my partner and working out our finances, both if I returned part time and if I didn’t return at all, it turned out that after travel and childcare costs, working at that time just wouldn’t be worth it. The thought of working to pay for childcare, someone else spending all of that time with my child and the thought that I might miss important milestones in her life, just didn’t sit well with me at all. So the decision was made and although we would probably struggle financially some months, I handed my notice in to terminate my working contract altogether.
Now, I don’t think in any way at all deciding to be a full time, stay at home mother is an easy option. I’ve seen a lot of people spout their opinions on social media that being a stay at home parent is ‘lazy’ and how people just do it for benefits. I understand that sometimes this can be the case but not always and it’s unfair to be judged like that. We weren’t entitled to any benefits at all because my partner had a wage which was ‘adequate’ in the eyes of the benefit system, to cover the three of us. Lazy though? Really? Whenever anyone has the audacity to ask me “What do you do all day?!” I like to answer by simply sticking two fingers up in their face. They’ve clearly not spent an hour with a toddler in full tantrum mode, never mind a day! Some days are harder than others and when I think of my old job sometimes I’d prefer to be back there in the office talking to angry customers than feeling the wrath of my toddler in said full tantrum mode!
By the time my daughter was sixteen months old I began toying with the idea of looking for part time work to enable me to have a few hours out of the house child free, having something for myself and to help contribute to the household income to take a little pressure off my partner. Typically, when I had decided to go for it and apply, I found out that I was pregnant again with baby number two, our son, and work was once again the last thing on my mind as I focussed on raising my daughter, preparing her for being a big sister and enjoying my pregnancy!
Now my son is six months old and my partner has the flexibility to work from home, it made sense to start looking again, especially to get some pennies in for, dare I say it, Christmas! On a usual weekly trip to our local supermarket a couple of weeks ago I noticed a sign advertising numerous part time opportunities and I decided to go for it! Being called for an interview was a bit of a shock if I’m honest, even though I’d applied I wasn’t expecting to be asked in, but the interview itself was a bit of a breeze. I’ve never been so relaxed for a job interview and the hour of adult conversation without my kids being involved was amazing and I actually enjoyed it- even though I was being interviewed for a job! I walked home afterwards and didn’t get very far before I received a phone call offering me the job- hurrah indeed!
I haven’t started yet and have a few more days before training but I’m excited, which kind of makes me feel a bit bad. It’s not that I’m looking forward to having the time away from my kids- okay well maybe a little- but the feeling of having something for me, being able to do four 4 hour shifts each week where I’m known as Vanessa and not Mama is quite appealing to me. I’m sure my kids won’t mind too much when it comes to the bit of extra money I’ll have to spend on them anyway!
Mother Hermit xx
This post first appeared on www.meetothermums.com