It’s always a little awkward whenever someone asks me when my maternity leave ends because, errr…I don’t know. My job disappeared when the company I worked for went into administration the day after I found out I was pregnant. I remember on the one hand thinking ‘shit’ but on the other I was still absolutely buzzing knowing that we were pregnant at long last.
So, for the next few months I battled the worst morning sickness and promptly forgot all about the job dilemma and the fact that no one will want to hire a thirty something year old pregnant lady. I never planned to be a ‘Stay At Home Mum’ but for now…that’s what I’m doing. My long term plan was to pick up freelance writing jobs when I could, but honestly, my hands are so full with Ava that I just have the energy to focus one day at a time.
But then…a friend connected me with some work and suddenly I had an actual paying writing gig to do. I thought I could fit it around Ava’s bedtime or naps and that it would be straightforward.
I was wrong, so very, very wrong.
We were hit by teething and then a sleep regression and then nap times suddenly became 20-30 minutes long, max. I hated being that person being chased for work, but there you go, I was now that person. My window for writing shrank, we moved house and my baby girl is still unsettled and resisting sleep.
By some miracle, she napped for an hour and half and I was able to finish an outstanding piece and email it over. And that is when it hit, that this work from home/working mum gig is hard- really, really hard. Being a mum is hard, full stop, so on the one hand why not just throw an extra spanner into the works and on the other why do I even bother.
I want to work so I can still feel like ‘me’. I’m a mum, but that’s not my entire identity. There is more to me than nap schedules, and baby weaning and CBeebies. I hesitated before writing this, because I recognise what a privileged position I’m in to be able to stay at home with Ava but with that also comes the pressure that I can’t and shouldn’t feel like I’m having a hard time. You can never switch off. My brain is so fried at the end of the day, especially having battled putting Ava to bed, that I’m not even sure what it is I’m trying to say anymore.
Whether you do it from home, or commute everyday- working and mumming is so bloody hard.
There. I think that’s what I’m emphasising. Pass the gin.