I went back to work when Alice was 7 months old. True my hours are greatly reduced but it is still work none the less. Almost all the other mums I speak to are dreading going back to work and leaving their little ones. They will miss spending every minute of every 24 hours waiting on their baby surrendering completely to the role of mum.
This is not me.
I used to feel embarrassed and guilty about this but these feelings seemed to have disappeared since my first day back at work. Throughout my maternity leave I had periods of absolute dread regarding work and other times where I was counting down the days to getting back on the ward.
I trained for three years to become a mental health nurse, I worked hard for four years to be the best nurse I can. I get strange looks when I say I enjoy work. Why wouldn’t I want to go back? Being a nurse makes me feel great and I didn’t realise just how important it was to me until I had Alice.
Being a nurse is the one thing I feel 100% good and confident about. Not once have I questioned whether or not I am a good nurse because I know I work hard to be better nurse every day and do the best I can for my patients. I feel like I live and breathe being a nurse. My first day back although busy and shit in some ways was also the easiest day I’ve had in seven months. It all came back so easily, I just slipped back into it like I had only been there yesterday. It felt so good to be back, kind of like taking off tight jeans after a huge meal ha!
Sometimes I don't have much confidence in myself as a mum but I have 100% confidence in knowing Alice and that I will do what is best for her. I don’t feel qualified enough to be a mum and I do sometimes wonder how I would do if there was a motherhood test.
Being 100% honest with myself right now I sometimes ask myself if I am actually up for the job of motherhood.
In the darkest time which is usually at night especially if I haven’t slept I think and tell myself over and over that I am no good as a mum and Alice deserves a real mum. I have no idea what the hell a real mum is but I ‘know’ in those moments that it’s not me. I cannot accurately describe the guilt I feel in those moments. It’s as if something is slowly crushing my chest and the life inside it. I look at my daughter sleeping and I am overwhelmed with love and devotion for her however, I am also equally overwhelmed with guilt and feelings of selfishness. I sometimes feel annoyed with myself because I remember all those nights I cried and almost physically ached I was so desperate for a baby and now I’m here I feel like I should give up. I don’t want to give up, I want to feel strong and confident about being a mum like I do about being a nurse but the feeling just isn’t there sometimes.
In some ways I feel extremely confident but it’s almost like it only permeates so many layers of myself before turning to sand underneath. The ‘nurse part’ of me is different; it feels like this is rooted into my very core and nothing can move it. I wish I knew how to plant roots for my ‘mum part’.
Being a mum forces you to look into yourself and take a long look at everything you are or you think you are. I have looked inside and I have not liked what I have seen. There were times I worried that becoming a mum meant sacrificing the one thing I felt really good about in me which is being a nurse. Being back at work has given me part of myself back and that's OK. I enjoy my job, I am confident in what I do and I hope I can have the same confidence in being a mum some day.
I have so much respect for stay at home mums, their job is bloody tough!!!I am by no means saying that going back to work is the right thing or staying at home is the right thing. I think that everyone should make the choice that is right for their family. I am very lucky that I only work 2 days a week and the other 5 I get to spendf with Alice. I get the best of both worlds!
Feeling good about being a working mum is nothing to feel ashamed about. I think about how I feel about my mum and how much respect and love I have for her. She worked full time, took care of the house and raised me. I don’t know she did it she deserves a medal in my opinion, especially with having the handicap that is my dad for over a decade.
My mum told me that once when I was little, primary school age, I wasn’t very well, I was apparently sat in her en suite toilet and she was pleading with me to go to the childminder because she had to go to work. I went to the childminder and she felt guilty all day, in fact she still feels guilty to this day and that memory is printed on her mind always.
I have no memory of this at all. I would have been old enough to remember but I don’t because it wasn’t awful, I don’t resent my mum and I don’t feel there is anything to forgive because she didn’t do anything wrong. In my mum’s eyes what she did made her a bad mum or was something a bad mum would do but in my eyes she is a bloody super hero and she has never done wrong. We have had our differences and difficulties yes, but she has never been anything less than awesome in my eyes.
practice runs where you can start over if you fuck up. You get one shot and that is all. You make a commitment to love, care for, protect and guide a tiny being you have never met for the rest of their life and yours. I still feel that in many ways it is like becoming a God for a tiny human, maybe not as glamorous though as I can’t remember the last time God had to wipe up shit.