I never planned on being a stay at home mum. Then life happened and here I am just over two and half years later and I’ve still not gone back to work.
I know I am lucky that my husband has a job where this is financially viable for us to do.
I know I am luckier still that I am out in Dubai as a stay at home mum, where it is the “normal” to stay at home so both myself, and the toddler, have a great social network.
I am the mum that looks at you jealously when you drop your baby at nursery dressed in your office attire.
I am the mum that sits in the coffee shop eyeing you drinking hot coffee while my toddler throws himself on the floor in the quest for more chocolate cake.
I am the mum that feels like I’ve done a 60 hour week before Tuesday even rolls around.
I am the mum that quietly despairs when I realise my husband has to work late past bedtime because of deadline pressures.
I am, in a word, jealous.
And I know that the grass is always greener whichever way you look at things. That working mummies would probably give anything to be in my shoes. And even more, those who are struggling to have children would do whatever it took to be me.
So I don’t complain. (Much.)
But this wasn’t in my original plan.
My last day in the office was 24th August 2012 and my original plan was to return to work on the 9th July 2013. Then on the 11th April we emigrated instead and I began my journey to stay at home motherhood.
Now, please, don’t get me wrong when the 9th July 2013 rolled round and I was with my lovely 9 month old baby all I could think was how grateful I was that I WASN’T working. How little he was. How lucky I was to have that time.
And I am lucky. Lucky to mould this little boy into the person he is today.
We, as a family, are lucky that we aren’t juggling nursery holidays and closures, along with childhood sicknesses, against 2 full time jobs with limited time off. That if he is sick and needs picking up from nursery I am there to do that no questions asked. That my husband can continue to advance in his career without worrying that he has taken above average compassionate days off this year that could be questioned. That we are able to use my husbands annual leave to enjoy family holidays (have I mentioned we love to travel?!)
I am lucky that I haven’t missed any of his firsts, first steps, first words, first tantrum…
That I get to witness every single day how amazing he is and how he changes.
That I get to see his personality unfold and spot similarities to me or the husband in him at my leisure.
There are so many positives around being stay at home mum I feel like a bad person if I look at the negatives. But as with any situation there is good and bad.
I miss being financially independent. Earning my own money. In our house, all money has always been our money, but it’s a lot more fun buying presents for the husband when I know at the end of the day he hasn’t financially provided all the cash for it. Plus when I use the bank card to buy said present he gets a text message saying where the card has been used, which kind of spoils the surprise.
I miss using my brain to solve complex problems. It’s not quite the same thinking up craft and cooking projects, which never go the way you expect them too.
I miss progressing in my career and achieving something outside of motherhood.
And I miss adult conversation, about things that aren’t just baby related.
My Ideal World
In an ideal world I would love to work 3 days a week. Using my mind for something other than reciting “Baa Baa Black Sheep” for the 79th million time that day but still getting those 2 days where it can be just mummy and toddler time (and bump too) so I can still do my cooking and crafting projects with him, despite sounding a bit exasperated above I do aspire to be a Pinterest mum.
I think at the end of the day, we are all the same. The grass is always a little bit greener, even more so when you are on your 12th tantrum of the day and it’s not even lunchtime yet, or when your boss drops another load of work on your desk and you realise that you will miss bathtime again.
We just need to realise that we are all just doing the best we can.
And these little people, no matter what, love us for being us. And to them, we are the best mummy in the world.
So while being stay at home mum wasn’t my original plan I will continue to embrace it, I probably still will be jealous, but overall, to this little man, and his new baby brother.