I have been working crazy shifts. Working though the night and working till 11pm with the odd 7am shift thrown in. It works around the children and childcare and I am lucky to be able to swap shifts when i need to but I am tired. Worn out. Shattered. Eyes drooping, squinting at the TV as if I was drunk, fighting the urge to go to bed at 8.30pm, unable to conduct a sensible conversation exhausted.
I’m propped up on the sofa, intermittently nodding off, desperately trying to make conversation with my husband. I realise that I made an active choice to go back to work nearly full time (32 hours) Some mothers arrange to return part time or on flexi-time arrangements, others don’t return at all. Then there are those who desperately try to figure out how to avoid it, but simply have to go back full time.
It’s true that I am completely exhausted.It’s also true that the house has fallen into complete disarray: as I type, I am wedged between half-dried clothes, a basket of clean but un-ironed clothes and an ironing board which is staring at me as if to say ‘stop putting me up in the living room and pretending that means you’ve done something when you haven’t actually ironed anything for over a week!’ The washing is piled up and the bathroom needs a good deep clean but I am of the mind set it can wait another day, life is to short.
Juggling childcare and work is hard and don’t get me started on the cost of childcare. If I actually sat down and worked out how much I pay out in nursery and fuel I would give it all in tomorrow but then when would I become me again? When would I stop being mummy and more importantly when would I ever get a hot drink again!
Going back to work was like switching on a light in the cupboard you’d forgotten was there. It might flicker and stutter a bit at first, but once it’s working you remember just how bright the bulb is and just how bloody, wonderfully useful that under stairs cupboard is and why the hell you ever stopped using it in the first place!
One of the wonderful things about being a parent is that it totally refocuses your priorities. It’s not all about work anymore. Until they grow wings and leave the nest work has to come second and for someone that worked hard and was totally career focused previously it is at times hard but I would of course never change it.
I’m not saying being a working mum is for everyone. It’s very difficult and at times I do feel like I am juggling far to many balls but I know it will get easier. Whatever way you choose to go working mum or not as long as we as parents support each other and the children are happy thats all that really matters.