I have been a stay at home mum for almost 8 months now and have absolutely loved it. So much so that I could happily continue in this role forever more. However, since that is not going to be the case in a couple of months I wanted to write about it now while I had the chance.
Having read Why Parenthood is Nothing Like I Imagined by The Unmumsy Mum this morning I felt inspired to write this post today (even though I have a long list of posts that I either need to finish or actually write). I tried really hard not to have an image of motherhood prior to J’s birth. It was a bit of a journey to get to his arrival and I couldn’t allow myself to jinx it by imagining all the wonderment that being a mother was finally going to bring. My sister passed away shortly before she was born and I was really scared that this would happen to J, so I protected myself as much as I could by banishing all exciting and wonderful daydreams before they could really take root.
However, once J was here things weren’t quite as straight forward as I may have imagined if I had let myself – the immense lack of sleep, inability to breastfeed and awfulness of silent reflux (you can read more about that here) meant that having a newborn was tough. To be honest, at the time I didn’t really notice, I was so wrapped up in the love for my little miracle that I didn’t realise that many newborns slept happily in their pram while their mums drank coffee and discussed the pros and cons of breast feeding, or slings, or soothers. Other than the constant worrying about J and his reflux and eating issues the only thing that really got in the way of my bubble of happiness was the thought of returning to work.
To me returning to work was a necessity that I was absolutely dreading. I was a teacher and there are many aspects of that role that I loved, but it is also an extremely stressful career choice, especially with the way the education system is at the moment. I knew that I personally couldn’t be a great teacher and a great mum (Other people can of course, but I have never been good at multi-tasking). I had worked all hours under the sun pre-pregnancy and I was stressed and exhausted from it. I now had my bundle of joy and I didn’t want to give that up for anything. I loved spending time with J, even if it was at 3am and I hadn’t slept all night, even if I was covered in vomit for the 8th time that day. I was sick at the thought of having to let my baby be looked after by anyone else; of missing out on the wonderful moments like the first time he walked, or ate, or talked. The first time he clapped, or kissed, or jumped. This dread really put a damper on my maternity leave and I felt the weight of returning to work on my shoulders the whole time.
My husband got a new job during my maternity leave which meant we could afford for me to take another year off work to be with J. The final straw was when we were referred back to the hospital for his inability to eat without being sick and I handed in my notice. Suddenly I was to be a SAHM. I had to go back to work for 4 weeks, but then I was free to be at home with J. I was over the moon! I imagined me putting him to bed and then baking a dairy and egg free cake for us to eat the next day; I imagined batch baking lots of healthy and nutrious meals; I imagined J walking nicely down the road holding my hand; I imagined driving to Wales to stay with one of my closest friends and her little boy just 6 weeks older than J.
To be honest, I’m not really sure why I imagined any of these things. I should have known better. J was not eating anything when I became a SAHM. He was still waking at least 4 times a night. I can’t cook (even pizza I have to get my hubby to check if it is cooked!) or bake, although thanks to Mrs O’s egg and dairy free packet cakes I am suddenly a much improved baker! J hated the car and would scream on any journey over 5 minutes and would refuse to hold hands when walking anywhere as he could do it by himself thank you very much! Really where did I get these imaginings from??!!
As it has happened though, I am happier with my life than I have been in years. I have been lucky to be in a very happy relationship, have a good career and a lovely house, but there was something missing and that was my J. Now my life is much fuller and as a result I am much happier. People always comment on how happy J is. My mum says it is because I am also smiling and laughing with him. I don’t know if that is true but I’d like to think that my happiness means that he is happy too.