With less than two weeks until I return to work I suppose the “good mummy” thing to say and feel would be “I’m dreading it, I can’t bear the thought of leaving my boys” and up until about two months ago that was how I felt, but after almost 14 months of maternity leave (I’ve been extremely lucky) the truth is I can’t wait.On Thursday I did a keep in touch day, it was a normal day in the office I had a couple of meetings and caught up on what had been going on, ate soup at my desk and chatted to colleagues, but when I left and drove the 40 minutes to collect the boys from nursery something had changed. I felt alive, like a part of me had been missing all these months without me even realising it. I was a proud mother to three beautiful boys, a wife to the man I love and a woman, a woman who kicked ass at what she did, a woman who listened to radio four and shouted at the politicians like she knew what the hell she was on about, a woman who loved to be challenged and pushed, I was …Danielle. I was on such a high I felt like bloody Beyonce, the independent woman, the feminist, mother and career woman, I mean really I’m a marketing manager in Shropshire but that’s what those few hours did for me.
I realised that the reason I had spent the last three months feeling like I was shit at being a mummy to three, like I “couldn’t cope” was because I needed more, I needed to be me as well. My career had always been such a big part of my identity, it gave me so much pride and confidence and I needed that back. There is no greater joy than raising your children, watching them grow and develop and being there to witness that but it’s ok to need something else too. I take my hat off and bow down to women who can stay at home, I admire you and I freely admit I couldn’t do it.
So why is it that this feels instinctively like something I need to defend? The answer unfortunately is us, its women. We’ve all heard the conversations and read status’s with comments like “my children are my world, my priority so I want to spend all my time with them” or “I work to set an example and provide a ‘better’ life for my children” and you know what they’re all total bullshit.
These comments are made by mum’s who feel they have to justify their decisions and it all comes from our lack of unity as women. We turn on one another to make ourselves feel better and to cover our own insecurities, hell I’ve done it myself in the past when putting my son in nursery made me feel like a bad mum, I probably even used the role model line. Well enough’s enough, it doesn’t matter what you choose to do or have to do, let’s not forget working is a financial necessity not a choice for most women in 2016. Whether you work full time, part time, a few hours, or not at all we are all doing an amazing job. If you are happy your children are happy end of, that doesn’t change if they are at home all day or spend 8-6 in nursery, we are all doing our best for our children and we need to stop making one another feel like we have to defend our positions.
Being a mum is hard work and women turning it into a competition isn’t making it any easier so I’m standing proud, I’m the unapologetic working mother, I love being a mummy and I love my career and guess what it is possible to do both and to do them both well. Let’s all support one another and maybe then when the defensive comments have no place and the insecurities have nowhere to stem from we will all be able to say what we actually feel and make the decisions that best suit us with pride.
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