When I looked at how my life as a mum would be, working was not in the picture. I wanted as much time at home with the kids as possible, especially when they were babies. I started my maternity leave thinking I would not go back for at least a year, maybe longer if possible, it only took me a few short months to realise that this was a dream and not a reality.
I went back to work when Leo was five months old, albeit in between feeds and only three hours a week, but I was still leaving the house to make money, therefore working. For a long time I would not admit that I was a working mum. I would ignore the fact that I would go off to work each Monday afternoon, feeling almost ashamed that I had to go back so soon. In all honesty I don’t know what else I was expecting. I married a uni student, I was the breadwinner before Leo, so of course I would have to return to work sooner rather than later.
When Leo was nine months, and no longer feeding every hour of every day, I went back on a more regular basis. Two and a half days a week and only then did I consider myself a working mum.
Yes I work. Yes I have a child. Yes that means I leave him with someone else while I go off to work. No that does not mean that I do not love my son. No it certainly does not mean that I don’t love being a mum.
I love being a mum and I am a good mum, just because I work should not mean that I have to justify this to anyone. Stupidly enough, I have found myself justifying my decision to people. Making excuses and explaining to sometimes complete strangers why I need to be at work. First of all, no one knows our situation, and how is it any of anyone else’s business? And secondly, what if I actually like working? What if a part of going back to work was for me, my sanity, and not my family? Staying home every day can be hard, children are exhausting and sometimes a day at work is actually easier than a day at home. Sometimes you feel like you want to talk in full sentences, use your brain for something other than how are you going to distract the baby and cook the dinner at the same time. Sometimes working is like a holiday, you can put on clothes that aren’t track suit pants, and know that said clothes will not get covered in god knows what by 9.30am.
I have now been a working mum for ten months. It took me about six of those months to realise that working is not something to be ashamed of. I have not failed as a mum because I went back to work. I am doing what any good mum would do, providing for her family when they need her. And until the day comes where we win tattslotto and I can live the dream of being a stay at home mum, I will hold my head high, proud to be a working mum.