The grass is never really greener on the other side.
Being a stay at home mum evokes images of the domestic goddess, the home maker and the super mum, but here are my confessions from the inside:
1. You get that sinking feeling every time someone asks: "have you gone back to work yet?" or "so what do you do?"
There was once a time where a working mother (especially in their child's first year) was unheard of, but now it seems everyone does it. Some out of necessity and others for their sanity, which isn't to say it's wrong – but that today, being a mother doesn't 'feel' enough and that's hard.
I think that feeling of motherhood isn't a proper job has mostly come from the pressures placed on us by social media and other mothers who seemingly "have it all". Why shouldn't you have a job, your own business and be teaching your one year old French, all at the same time? What do you mean you're just a mum??
It's such a small word, but that word "just" can sometimes make you feel like you should be doing more.
2. Sometimes I would really like to go to work.
Those days where you're shattered, on your fourth cup of tea and you've exhausted every toy in the play box. You go to make lunch, only to realise it has just gone 9am.
Those are the days when working suddenly seems appealing to me. To get up and actually get dressed instead of (maybe) changing into some fresh PJs, to sit on a busy train and drink a coffee that I haven't made myself, for adult chat and peaceful toilet breaks...
And its okay to feel that way. They say the grass is always greener on the other side and one day when I'm back at work, I'm sure I'll complain about the busy commute and the stuffy clothing (who doesn't love yoga pants?), so for now I'll enjoy my duvet days and not having to brush my hair. I might even take more notice when my husband says, "you're so lucky to be home with him every day".
3. I nap a lot more than I'd like to admit.
When your baby is born, everyone says "sleep when the baby does" and without a doubt, it is one of the most annoying pieces of advice anyone can give a new, on-edge, wired mother – it just doesn't happen.
Flash forward a year and I find it hard not to sleep – not only when he is, but any time I'm not standing up. Something has changed in my genetic makeup that means I'm only programmed to want more and more sleep like a greedy sleep monster, anytime I can get it – especially when I'm often up at 5am with an energetic toddler.
So I think that's why mothers, old and new, continually push this line of sleeping when the baby sleeps, because they will always be our babies. Therefore, curling up in bed for an hour at 2pm is always acceptable, no matter how old your child may be.
4. These are the best days of my life.
There are days when it's tough and long and it seems relentless, especially on a Friday afternoon when you're counting down the minutes until your gin and tonic!
But most of the time, it's carefree, cosy and every single day is totally different. As I watch my little boy grow and learn and play, I realise how hard it must be to go to work and leave your child in the hands of others, but as mothers we all make sacrifices that we know will ultimately benefit our children.
So whether you're reading this from home dying to go out, or you're on the way to work, wishing you were home, remember that the grass is never really greener on the other side and it is possible to have the best of both worlds if we use our time wisely.
Leave the washing up and read a book. Leave the hoovering and play a game. It's hard to do, but sometimes we all need to slow down and actually stop to appreciate the opportunities in front of us.
Most importantly, remember that no matter what we do, one day our children will thank us and we will know we've done okay.
What confessions do you have as a stay at home mum?
When my daughter started daycare, I spent a lot of time trying to find the right fit for her and our family. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. Over and over again though, the answer to my question would come back the same, "she'll be fine."
"When your baby is born, everyone says "sleep when the baby does" and without a doubt, it is one of the most annoying pieces of advice anyone can give a new, on-edge, wired mother – it just doesn't happen."
Yep, that resounds! Like when you're so wired because you're overtired and your brain just won't switch off because... well, reasons. Or you're holding your eyelids up with matchsticks and you just put your pants in the fridge for the third time today but you can't sleep because the washing won't do itself... or you look at the clock and you have the same debate with yourself that you have every two hours or so: "is it worth tormenting myself by getting to sleep just to wake up again five minutes later?"
You really struck a chord there. It's good advice on the surface, but us stay-at-home Mummies forget by week 2 what sleep feels like.
I agree; there are times when the idea of a predictable day at work is so appealing.
You mean a time will come when I'll get to sleep?
Fatigue-speak aside, this is a wise article; there are pros and cons on both sides, and at the end of the day it's about doing what's right for our own family. As much as I'd love consistent sleep (any sleep!), I wouldn't want to miss this time with Little C.