Everyone tells you how hard the first few months of being a mum will be. You know there will be sleepless nights, sore boobs, not knowing what the hell is going on and you survive in a haze of sleep deprivation.
At some point without you even realising it starts to get a bit easier, you get a few more hours sleep, you learn to interpret the cries and you can manage a full cup of tea whilst your little monkey is happily bouncing around in a jumperoo.
Then that day arrives, the return to work and the goalposts change all over again. If you thought being a mum was tough before, throwing a job into the mix raises the stakes. As your maternity leave approaches you start to form a romantic image of how returning to work will be. You can have lunch in peace, go to the toilet on your own and wear clothes that are not covered in baby sick or mushed up biscuits! Within a week you remember why you were desperate for your maternity leave to start, so you could get the hell out of the place for a few months.
The reality of being a working mum isn’t romantic, it’s bloody hard. Trying to get everyone up and dressed and out the house for 7:45am is a challenge in itself and your child will do a poo as soon as you are ready to leave. Admit it, we’ve all pretended we hadn’t noticed and handed the problem over to nursery!
The day to day juggling act is exhausting and when they’re ill or you have to miss Mother’s Day at nursery, the guilt kicks in. Yesterday I had a full on melt-down because I’d forgotten Little O was having a photoshoot and had dressed him in a pretty dull Asda jumper rather than one of the many gorgeous outfits he has in his wardrobe. In the grand scheme of things I know it’s not that important but I was so annoyed with myself for spending the morning worrying about a meeting at work instead of focusing on my little man. I cried all the way to work!
Yesterday I spent some time chatting with other working mums at school and the general consensus was that we think we’re doing a crap job all round. Crap mums, crap wives, crap colleagues. My best friend was so upset because she’d forgotten to pack her daughters spelling book the day before. Hearing her daughter tell her how she had sat at school and cried broke her heart!
But do you know what, we’re not crap! We all have our moments when we forget something because our head is fit to bursting, but who doesn’t? Is O going to be scarred for life because I forgot his best clothes, is he ‘eck! It’s time for me to be a bit kinder to myself and for other working mums to do the same. We’re doing an amazing job and we need to tell each other that.
My son does not suffer from me working. If anything he gains the experience of spending time with others. Both sets of grandparents cherish the days they spend looking after O and he adores nursery. Last week he was learning how to play Lacrosse in his P.E. lesson! Of course, the selfish part of me wants to be with him all the time, but I am in no doubt that he is very well looked after when I’m not with him and I love seeing the close relationship he has with our parents and how much the nursery girls love him too.
Being a mum is hard work, whether you’re a SAHM or a working one, but we all try to do the best for our families, so for that reason alone we are not crap. If you don’t believe me take a look at your child’s face as you enter a room, they don’t think you’re crap. They think you’re fantastic, and that’s because you are!