Am I doing the right thing?
Am I doing the right thing? Is money really that important? Am I selfish for wanting some time to myself? Is it too soon? Is my daughter missing out by not having her mum around all day?
I'm nervous as I stand outside my five year old sons classroom ready to drop him off and meet the new childminder who will be looking after my 3 month old baby girl. Today I return to work. My first full day back and I'm nervous. Several of the mothers over hear my conversation with the teacher where I inform her that I shall no longer be collecting after school but someone new will and in that moment I feel it, the judgemental looks and near on snarls of the mothers that stay at home burn into the back of my head. They clearly do not agree with the working parent. But are they right?
And here we are back at that age old argument - should mothers stay at home with their children instead of working?
My daughter is 3 months old today. I adore her. She is the sunshine in my day and easily one of THE LOVES OF MY LIFE, but as a young, independent, career driven woman - am I selfish in my need to return to work? For the communication with people that have more to say than the occasional coo? For the need of time to think and focus on something else other than the next nappy change? For the excitement of doing my job and being bloody good at it?
I don't think so......... My husband, the man who fully encourages me on any decision or path I wish to take in life agrees, he wants me to grow and have pride in my position, but why do I feel like I need to hide the fact that I work as soon as I walk in the front school gates?
I do speak to some of the other mothers who stay at home all day. Their husbands like to be the bread winners. They want to provide for the family which is great in its own rights, but because my husband encourages me to work does that mean he provides less? I don't think so.
Some of them scream at me (not literally). Their inner beings curious to adventure and change outside of their day to day family home routine, but too scared to make that change mostly because they are so used to their life how it is and that a large amount of their confidence has diminished.
It takes a huge amount of guts to return to work after a child. You feel cut off from the world, like everyone else has carried on moving but you haven't, as if you having nothing of interest to speak about, conscious not to bamboozle your colleagues with stories of your perfect children.
If we as a country made it easier for mums returning to work would there be a change of view on what is right and what is wrong? If we ran courses for mums on confidence building and learning of key skills would that help? If companies offered return to work programmes for the mums who want to come back into employment but need to have a gradual smooth transition, would that see a rise in employment? If we were entitled to a number of free childcare hours from birth instead of having to wait until they are 3, would that help?
I'm fortunate I work for my family business - they are considerate to my needs as long as I don't take advantage but is this the case elsewhere?
After spending all day yesterday pining for my blue eyed babies I now know today, the end of my second day, that yes I have done the right thing. I am able to come to work, feel pride for the hard work I've put in day to day in the office, a sense of achievement when I get my wage slip at the end of month and at the end of the day, when I arrive at my childminders and see through the window my son happily playing Transformers with two of the other children and my daughter smiling away at her own reflection I can know they are safe, happy and not losing out on anything in life.