Monday, 5 May 2014

Back to Reality

My days of mummy bliss are over, ten months of paid maternity leave whizzed past like a blur and it was time to face the fact that in this modern times, it is a luxury to stay at home to look after your own child. 

So last week, Isaac started to make the short journey to the bottom of our road, through a creaky iron gate and up the wooden stairs of Osborne House, a popular play ground for babies of working families in Hillsborough. When I gently lowered him on the floor, there were no screams of protests nor struggles to let go of my arms. He rushed off to grab a toy that has caught his eye so there wasn't even a goodbye kiss before I went on to catch the ten past eight tram to get to work by 8:30am. 

I spent my first day back desk-hopping and catching up with colleagues, boring everyone with my tales of motherhood. Someone commented that it must be weird being back after months of holiday. Holiday it certainly wasn't, I corrected, what with sleepless nights and long days chasing after a now mobile baby on top of keeping up with the housework! But another pointed out that I'm always posting photos of exciting trips and walks in the park, a perfect example of Facebook's reality distortion I admitted, as going out it the best way I know how to entertain a bored infant. 

While settling back at work, I hardly spared a thought about how my little man, who until recently had been very dependent on me, is coping in his strange new environment. I wasn't plagued with maternal guilt, that key emotion that is becoming a weird mark of being an acceptable mother, for leaving my son in the care of people who I barely know, whose names I am still learning to remember. 

But why should I be? Nursery is doing him a world of good, with plenty of interesting toys and activities to occupy him, in the company of other children with whom he will learn to share and socialise and in the care of well-qualified care workers who looks after them. When I pick him up at the end of each day, I am handed a report of how he has enjoyed his day. It is always fascinating to read how he is learning to forge a personality of his own, showing preference for particular toys and being caught smiling at his own reflection rather a lot!

This normality seems to be working for us. Like most British families, surviving in one salary is not an option, despite the cost of childcare eating up a quarter of our combined pay. But we are lucky enough that our jobs allow us to drop some hours so that each of us get to spend an extra day a week with our child and he only needs to be at nursery for three days a week. His dad, who has him on Thursdays, is relishing an extra day off to do his house chores and sort out the bills, tasks that normally take up most of his weekends. And on Fridays, which we have together, we still get to hang out with other mums and babies who we have become friends with over the past few months. 

It's early days of course, but my transition from being a career woman to a full-time mother to somewhere in between has not been too bad. There will definitely be challenging moments but I'm hopeful that we will be able to cope, and with as little anxiety as we can.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...