GLUM MUMS | Why I know being a working mum is (hopefully) right for me

12:07

I start back at work today and I'm mostly excited but it's really hit me how different life will be.

On Friday Lucy had her second settling in session at nursery which she took to really well. She didn't even cry when I left! So I'm both relieved and slightly upset about that.

Leaving Lucy at nursery is going to be tough, but I still know I'm doing the right thing by going back to work. It's partly about me - I just don't feel I'm cut out to be a stay-at-home mum, much as I respect those who are (or have been - my own mum was). But now I've been a mum for a year, going back to work is also about Lucy.

So here's my perspective. You'll notice that I precede most of these points with 'I need' which may come across as selfish but it would be foolish and unhelpful to deny that mums have needs too.

And admittedly some of the below are pertinent mostly to my own situation so bear with me. Feel free to comment if you disagree!

I need some mental stimulation
I've been working since I left school and been doing marketing of various kinds for over 10 years. And since the novelty of being able to watch daytime TV wore off fairly early on in my maternity leave, it's been really hard for me to keep myself challenged mentally (not mentally challenged!).

I promised myself that I would stay abreast of the latest online marketing developments and even learn some new things while off work, but I'm ashamed to say that I've barely done much at all. The daily business of being a mum has kind of worn me down. I can barely decide what to make Lucy for lunch or dinner most days.  But doing this blog with the girls has re-motivated me and made me realise that going back to work is definitely best for my brain.

I need some sleep
As I mentioned in a previous post, Lucy used to be a pretty good sleeper. But even back then she only slept through the night maybe 4 out of 7 nights a week and I still had to get up at 7am 6 days a week. For the last 2 months she's woken several times every night and frankly I'm exhausted. I'm on edge a lot and get teary at small silly things like I used to when the preggers hormones were raging in me. And I'm not the best mum when I'm tired as I've started to lose my temper more often, quickly followed up by a large dose of guilt!

Hubby does help out on weekends but ultimately most days a week it's me that hasn't had more than two or three hours of sleep in a row for what seems like an eternity. How other mums manage to do this from birth and still function is amazing to me.

Going back to work will allow me to get back at least half my sleep (and half my sanity) as we'll now have to share the shifts equally. Maybe my ginormous eye bags will get smaller too.

I need to get back the equality in my relationship
This is completely my own issue (not down to my husband) but being at home for a year and not earning money has knocked my confidence a bit and made me feel less of an equal in the relationship. When your 'job' is essentially cleaning the house and looking after a child it's easy to feel unappreciated or that what you're doing is trivial when it's really not. It's sad I often find I'm trying to justify - to myself - what I haven't done during the day.

I also haven't been able to contribute financially to any big costs this year such as holidays or the house move which has been hard as I'm used to paying for things roughly equally.

All these things tend to put me on the defensive quite a lot which is no good for a harmonious marriage! Poor hubby - I think we'll both be glad to get back to the norm!

Nursery gives Lucy what I can't
I might be alone in this, but as Lucy has grown more alert and physically capable I've found I can't keep up with her needs in terms of stimulation and play. I'm not saying I don't ever play with her, read to her and generally entertain her, but if I'm honest I don't spend as much time on it as I feel I should. There is always just too much other stuff to do.

But Lucy loves the nursery - she can run around and play with all the toys and do activities that I'm often too knackered to want to do (like messy play). She likes interacting with other kids and she gets as much attention as she wants from the lovely staff.

I'm hoping that going to nursery will help her become a more creative, sociable and independent child.

Lucy gets to spend more time with her dad
The new working set up means that both hubby and I have flexible working arrangements (lucky I know!) and Lucy gets to spend a full day with just her dad in addition to the weekends we all spend together. Not very dad would feel brave enough to ask for flexible working for fear of it affecting his career so I have much respect for my man. I know that this aspect alone of my going back to work will make it worth it.

RL xx

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