Yesterday morning I received an email. I recognised the name from a distant, before children, memory and I was hesitant to open it, as I knew the conflict I would feel.
The email was from a recruiter that I used to be in touch with. In my old life, I worked my way up the recruitment career path and then stepped sideways into HR and ended up managing a resourcing team for a Legal organisation. When I left there to go on maternity leave I knew I wouldn’t go back. The final months were absolutely awful; I was subjected to discrimination and multiple highly stressful situations. My boss was spineless and just a terrible manager and even now I shudder at how stressed and highly-strung I was when I was working.
I didn’t intend not to go back to work; in fact I assumed I would need to after six months, as Jack – my husband – is self employed and we never imagined he would earn enough money to support us all.
I kind of stumbled on being a stay at home mum.
My mum bought me a book when I had just had Sydney called “What every parent needs to know’. I honestly sobbed through every page of that book. It put things in perspective for me but it was a perspective I already had inside me. I felt like I had just needed to read the book to be able to articulate my thoughts. It said that a child’s emotional development and understanding, their ability to build trust, to understand relationships and develop confidence – all happens before the age of four.
It is a hard, hard read and a hard hitting, no holds barred book. It challenged everything I felt about parenting, working, myself and my own priorities and I have never forgotten even a page of it.
I am so, so lucky that Jack’s business started to grow and that by time Sydney was a year old, that he was able to support us all – without my income, something we never, ever thought would be possible. Every single day I am thankful to him for everything he does for us. Because he works so hard, I am able to be the Mum I always wanted to be and the Mum he wants me to be as well. I am not stressed out and irritable, withdrawn or aggressive like I was when I was working. I wouldn’t be able to be “work me” and a mum, I know myself too well, and I know I can only be full on dedicated and engaged with one thing at a time. That for me is my daughters and every single ounce of my energy and passion and goes into them and nothing else, as I know I will never get these years or this time back.
Sometimes I still the nagging feeling that I sometimes get, which prompts me to think about what might happen next. What will I do when the girls are at school? Will I go back to working in HR? Will something else present itself to me? Is it really that I am too much of a control freak to go back to work; to let someone else look after my girls?
As they get older and more independent and as I change as they do, I know my feelings are going to change. But, for now, things are perfect.