Working Mother Guilt

I returned to work when my daughter was 9 months old. I had 10 months Maternity Leave, needing to finish work early because of Pelvic Girdle Pain (sometimes referred to as SPD). I was later diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome which explained some of the difficulties I was having physically, but more about that in a later post.

When I went back, I was desperately sad that I would be spending far less time with my daughter but I knew I needed to return to work and having agreed to go back part time on three days a week, I felt I was doing the minimum. I was reassured knowing that I still had 4 days with her – I was fixated on the fact that she was with me over 50% of the time so it was fine.

At first, it went really well. Adrenaline saw me through the first couple of months and I felt like I was Super-Woman! I was being really efficient at work and then I was being fun-mommy on my days off and (sort of) keeping on top of the house. I felt brilliant! Then my spark went out. Good lord, I was tired.

I was working long hours Tuesday-Thursday to try to fit in 5 days worth of work into the 3 days I was in the office. I realised I had to do that as it is very difficult to work from home with a toddler who wants to press all the keys on the laptop and draw over all of your files! My husband works in retail so often works weekends so I was finding that I was doing 3 or 4 days of solo parenting after 3 exhausting days at work. Something had to change.

After a great deal of time deliberating, I decided I had to go up to 4 days. My work was suffering and I was so tired and stretched that I was getting super grumpy with Hubby and I didn’t have the energy to have exciting adventures with my daughter. It seemed daft to be doing all that extra work and not being paid for it too.

The first Monday was so tough. I sobbed in the shower. I sobbed when getting dressed. I sobbed into my cheerios. I felt so guilty. I felt like I chose Mondays for ME. I wasn’t strong enough to make 3 days work. I wasn’t strong enough to manage 3 days at work, 4 days with my daughter. I was choosing work over her.

The rational side of my brain said don’t be ridiculous. A happy mother is a happy child. However, the emotional side of my brain kept arguing back and making me doubt myself. I’ll keep fighting it. This is best for all of us. It’s best for all of us. It’s best for all of us. If I keep saying it, the rational part will win over the emotional part, right?

I honestly have so much respect for single parents! In fact, I just have respect for ALL parents. We are all just doing the best we can and no doubt will continue to feel guilty about everything!

My aim is to ensure that I keep to normal office hours on the 4 days I am in work so that I can make the most of the couple of hours in the evening before my daughter’s bedtime and for our 3 days together to be fun. Fingers crossed I make this work.

How are you balancing things?

My beautiful baby & fur-baby

My beautiful baby & fur-baby

Clare Signature

Conception Journey – A Perfect Time To Start?

Our journey started in February 2011, when during a meal out, Bobby and I once again got on to the subject of children. We had just been at a wedding fair, and were talking through all of the ideas and plans for the wedding, as well as possible dates. All this discussion of our future inevitably led to us talking about the possibility of starting a family. Of course we’d discussed wanting children in our lives a number of times since we’d got together, and knew it was what we both wanted and hoped for, but it honestly had never felt like the right time to start trying for a baby.
Over lunch, we came to the conclusion that we had been putting our future and our plans on hold, waiting for everything to be right before starting a family. We realised that day there is no perfect time to start, if we waited for all conditions to be right, we could very well be waiting a long time, and that is not what we wanted!
I suppose in the back of my mind, I was concerned about my age, I was 32 at the time and I didn’t want to leave it any longer to start a family either. My mum was 31 when she had me, and I am the youngest, so in my mind I’d always thought I’d never leave it any later than that. But you never know what life is gonna throw at you along the way, and with a failed relationship behind me, I was already 28 before I met Bobby.
We talked it over and asked ourselves some questions – were we mad to invest in a wedding and start trying for a family at the same time? What was the worse that could happen? What could be the best that could happen? The wedding was still at least another 18 months away, did we really want to wait that long before even trying for a family? No!
I always wanted to be married before I started a family, but in all seriousness, as I’d gotten older I’d very much accepted that it might not be that way for me. At the very least we were engaged and planning the wedding, so what if I got pregnant in amongst all that? Maybe we’d have to change the date, or pay a bit extra or change certain things, or lose a deposit or two, but would that matter if we wanted a family? Of course, the answer was no, it wouldn’t matter, and should we try for a baby and be successful along the way, then we would just work it out in terms of the wedding.
The other consideration was our living arrangements. We had been in rented accommodation since we got back from travelling, and we didn’t have a deposit for a house. Could we afford a baby? Could we cope lugging the pushchair up the stairs every time we wanted to go out? Was the apartment big enough? These had all been things that had made us delay in starting, but it became very clear to the both of us that no matter how much of a struggle things might become, we would be realising a dream of ours and we would, and more importantly could, make it work no matter what. Plenty of other people in worse circumstances than us were parents, and they coped fine.
Having a family had always been one of the most important things to me in life, and I know it became that way for Bobby too.  As the conversation progressed, I could see the excitement growing between us. We were grinning from ear to ear, I could see Bobby’s eyes shining with happiness, and I knew whole heartedly this was the right decision to make. What an adventure! And we started trying that very day.
To be continued…
Suzy xx

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Team Blossom – January 2015

Clare and I had a lovely get together yesterday, not only for a good catch up and for me to see my beautiful Goddaughter, but for us to have a catch up on how we’re doing with the blog, and where we want to go next with it.
We sat down with lots of wonderful ideas for upcoming features and series of posts, as well as talking about our other interactions on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. We talked about our goals and achievements so far, and touched briefly on where we want to be in the short and medium term.
For now, we’ve set some challenges for the next month or so and we’ll be meeting up again at the end of February to have a fuller session on all these things.
Why are we doing this? It’s been a steep learning curve since we started this blog, and now we’ve had some months and posts behind us it’s important for us to review what we’ve done to see what works and what doesn’t, what has come easy to us and what had been challenging, so we can work out what direction we want to go in next!
2015 is going to be an exciting year for Team Blossom and the blog, and we hope you enjoy our journey on the way!
Lots of love
Suzy & Clare xx

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