The big decision to be a stay at home mum

I recently made a big decision.

I went back to work after 13 months maternity leave in January. I loved maternity leave. Not every minute admittedly (there was plenty of rocking a baby who fought her all too brief naps). But I would say I was one of the lucky ones. Don’t get me wrong we had our moments; we had a really tricky start with breastfeeding, which coupled with sleep deprivation nearly sent me into a nervous breakdown. We also had a baby who strongly refused having a bottle which caused it’s fair share of tears for both of us. But, we were blessed with a baby who slept well from early on and she was generally content and happy. Some of my friends went through very low points with sleep deprivation and I often felt they probably secretly hated me for having a more ‘easy’ time of it. We had such a busy year; you named it we did it. Messy play, baby sensory, baby sign, swimming, picnics, nice walks – they were all regular activities on the calendar. As my return to work loomed I felt really sad that this period of my life was over.

When I finally went back to work I realised just how much I’d changed. I sat at my desk on my first KIT day last October and it was like having an out of body experience. I wasn’t the old me. I had lost all of my confidence. Who was this nervous wreck that sat there feeling jealous of her colleague, not knowing half the senior team, checking her phone every 10 minutes? It was odd. I cried all the way home.

Of course everyone said it would take time to adjust. But for me, once I actually started, it got worse. Miss Belle was in nursery three days a week and between December and April we only had a week or two where one of us didn’t have to take time off because she was ill. On more than one occasion we visited the GP three times in a week. Everyone tells you the green snot is a permanent fixture for the first year that your child is at nursery, but you don’t realise how quickly they can go downhill. I’m a worrier anyway, and being a first time mum to a baby who was really going through it, just left me feeling constantly stressed out. One day I said to my husband “this would be so much easier if I wasn’t working” and he admitted he’d been thinking the same thing. We are lucky because we could afford for me to be at home. It just never occurred to either one of us to do it. I’d always loved working in fast paced jobs, both in journalism and then working with the media on the other side, as a press officer. I never thought I’d be happy being ‘just’ a mum.

So, we started to debate the ‘big decision’. My husband thought I should give it more time, that I was feeling this way because Miss Belle had been so ill, and that three months wasn’t long enough for us to get settled into our new routine. But after chatting it through and speaking to other friends who’d also decided to stay at home, we decided to give it a go. I did like my old job at times, but it was stressful and there were moments where I thought ‘why I am bothering, I don’t get paid enough for this!’. Having a baby gives you a new perspective on what is important. It seemed mad to pay for my child to go to nursery so I could spend all day at work worrying about her. I was missing out being with my daughter, playing with her, seeing her learn new skills, sharing experiences with her, but more importantly, I wasn’t there when she needed me.

I’ve got friends who’ve told me they were happier as soon as they went back at work. But for me, it wasn’t the case. Part of me feels like a failure for not being able to do both. After all, I was only part time. I have friends who work four or five day weeks and cope. Surely I am some lesser human being for not being able to hack it? Some friends are loving working and being a mummy too. I’m happy they’ve got a good balance, but it makes me feel like I’ve let my old self down. I worry I will regret the decision and that I’ll be seen as ‘under achieving’ by my peers. And of course the thought of going for a proper job interview in five or more years time doesn’t bear thinking about! But, life is short. And I don’t think I’ll lie on my death bed looking back at my life and say “I wish I’d spent more time at work!”

I don’t think I’ll ever regret watching my baby girl grow.

So, we’ve made a big decision – this is me now.

I’ve linked this up with:

Mummy Times Two

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20 Comments

  1. 1st July 2016 / 1:03 pm

    What a fabulous gift you are giving your daughter

  2. Mandy
    1st July 2016 / 9:18 pm

    Being a good mummy is the hardest job in the world and you have made a very big and difficult decision. This is the start of a new part of your life and I am looking forward to sharing the ups (and downs) with you. You will be great x

  3. Michelle
    2nd July 2016 / 1:08 pm

    Heartfelt, and so much I recognise – love it x

  4. Tina
    6th July 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Great blog! Lovely way to save and share memories.
    I definitely hate all parents of ‘sleepers’ just a little bit! Sorry! Can be placated by stories of terrible twos or fussy eaters etc haha
    Don’t worry what others think of your decision! Being a working mum is the cop out option in my opinion… I love that nursery do some of the parenting for me! We’re all different and nothing wrong with taking the option that makes us happiest and less stressed, whatever that may be! Xx

  5. 9th January 2017 / 4:04 pm

    I think if you don’t love your job and it only pays enough to cover the childcare cost then there is no point working. The best place for a young child is with their parent – so rather than being a failure you’ve actually made the best decision for your child. #postsfromtheheart

  6. 11th January 2017 / 8:24 pm

    I think you always know, with this kind of thing, when you’ve made the right decision for you. You sound like you have! With love. #PostsFromTheHeart

    • thisismenow
      Author
      11th January 2017 / 8:36 pm

      Thanks so much x

  7. 14th January 2017 / 5:21 pm

    I am so grateful to you for posting this post. We are in a very similar position, and I’ve just recently given up a job I love because like you, I can’t see the point of going back to work to spend my days worrying. They are little for such a short amount of time. I’m returning to work for two half days to do a different role (I’m a teacher) and my Other Half is going to be on baby duty, so fingers crossed we’ll survive. I guess you never really know it’s the right decision until you make it, but it’s always good to hear of others treading similar paths. Thank you for sharing it with us here at #PostsFromTheHeart

    • thisismenow
      Author
      14th January 2017 / 5:52 pm

      Ah good luck with your new role. You’re right, it’s always a leap of faith but for me I think it’s been the right decision. Some days are hard and I worry I’ve made the wrong choice but in six months I can say that’s only been a handful of times. I’m sure you’ll be fine once you get into a new rhythm and find your new normal xx

  8. 15th January 2017 / 7:13 pm

    I have been back at work for 4 months after baby No2 and i am struggling to. I love my job but it entails a daily 60 – 100 mile round trip and with 2 kids in diffrent locations ( School & Nursery ) my juggling act is pretty poor. I think you are making the right decision and doing everything 1/2 hearted is no good for anyone. maybe in a few years you will want to go back into the corporate world , and then maybe not !! #PostsFromTheHeart

    • thisismenow
      Author
      15th January 2017 / 7:29 pm

      Oh wow that sounds very tough. I hope it works out for you. So far I feel ok about my decision so hope it continues. But nothing is set in stone so I can always change my mind if we need to. Thanks for reading x

  9. 28th January 2017 / 11:32 am

    You are NOT lesser and you are NOT a failure!! You are doing what’s best for you and your family and that’s all that matters. Anyone else who has a problem with that is not worth having in your life! And that’s coming from a working mumma who loves her job and ‘works four or five days a week and copes’. Just do you, that’s all that matters. xx

    • thisismenow
      Author
      28th January 2017 / 4:11 pm

      Thanks so much Lucy xx

  10. 10th March 2017 / 12:02 am

    I fell into being a SAHM, it was never “the plan” but circumstances sort of led me here. I spent months (maybe 20 of them…) feeling guilty I wasn’t working, feeling I wasn’t homemakery enough to be a SAHM (I hate housework), but I have finally made peace with the fact I am exactly where I want to be. And as you say, I doubt I will ever say-I wish I had spent more time away from my bebe at work.

    • thisismenow
      Author
      10th March 2017 / 9:06 am

      Yes I’m finding that some days I do still need to make peace with it, some days I have a bad day and feel guilty, but then I think good days outweigh them at the moment and I have to pinch myself at how lucky we are. Thanks so much for reading xx

  11. 14th November 2017 / 4:15 pm

    I am a stay at home Mum too, I have written about my decision and how I feel on my blog. I’m pretty much in your camp. I don’t see the point of paying someone else to look after my kids and barely breaking even at the end of it. We struggle on the one income despite the fact that my husband earns a decent wage but it is so so worth it.

    I just think that it is wrong to put so much pressure on women to go out to work and leave young kids behind, it’s government policy and it’s all down to money (they don’t care about our kids they just want extra revenue from our taxes). It’s time to start valuing motherhood and not running women down for wanting to do what comes naturally…

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