SAHM or working mum? Can I work it out?

November 7, 2011 in Latest, Mums tips

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A perfect family?

In this frank post, Leah weighs up being a full time mum with her desire to return to work part time.

Before the twins I had two careers: Public Relations consultant and fitness instructor. I’ve recently thought about starting work again.

As much as I love spending time with the kids, I’ve begun to feel like I’m losing a real sense of myself. Days feel like they are drifting into one and I sometimes find myself so frustrated. It’s like I’m existing in another world that is tiny compared to the real one. It’s a world where I exist alongside those that are either collecting their pension or that don’t leave the house until Jeremy Kyle has finished. Needless to say it can be depressing.

It’s not that I’m not happy, maybe just still a little unfulfilled, is that wrong?

I admit, I’m in a fortunate position in that my boyfriend’s salary is ok and I don’t HAVE to work. “Oh look at her lady muck, complaining,” you may be saying, but I’m completely reliant on Rick, we don’t have any spare money and I have no money of my own, so in turn no independence.

I feel bad for Rick, even though we made this decision because we thought it was the right one. Everything he earns goes towards the house, us and the kids, I can’t remember the time he’s bought anything just for himself. At the same time, if I want anything now I have to ask Rick or I ashamedly have to admit (at the age of 33) my dad. I feel like a poor (as in no money) WAG.

I’ve never earned a great amount of money anyway, but that’s not necessarily the real issue, it’s more a case of just wanting to feel useful again and having a day where I think that I’ve accomplished something other than managing to get me and the kids out the door on time, or enticing my son to actually eat anything other than crisps and rice cakes!

By no means am I diminishing my role as a mother, but once you get into a routine there is not much to accomplish other than a pile of washing and getting through the day without too many tears and tantrums. Now, this may also sound completely silly and self-centred, but my kids are too young to acknowledge the effort it takes to be a mother and nor should they, but I can’t help feel a little deflated when after I’ve changed x number of nappies, read umpteen books (many times), cleaned up food, faces and fingers, daddy or a visiting grandparent will walk in and I am but a distant memory.

I now know what my mum must’ve felt like when I was a child (a particularly precocious one too). It sort of upsets me in a way because, not having my mum here now (she died 14 years ago) makes me wish that I could be a child again. I would not have said many of the things I spitefully said, nor had quite so many tantrums!

Whilst I think about returning to work, all be it part time, there is a part of me that feels extremely guilty and questions how much I could really possibly love my children. I have spoken to a few friends who have returned to work full time and they have felt that guilt and experienced a great sense of failure to fulfil the role of an ideal mother.

But who decides what that is? Why do we put such great pressure on ourselves to be so perfect? It seems to be something that we as women do most of our lives, be it about our looks, friendships, careers or relationships.