If we met, hopefully we’d hit it off, chat about our families, joke about sleepless nights, droopy boobs and toddler tantrums. But chances are, I wouldn’t ask you about your job.
It’s not because I don’t want to hear about your passion, how you spend a large chunk of your waking hours. I’d love to hear your stories, share your experiences and get an insight into your life. But I dread being asked the question in return, so I skirt around it. So we talk about our children, our partners, our pets?! To the point there are playgroups mums I’ve chatted to each Monday for months, but I have no idea what they do for a career, unless they’ve volunteered the information and then I’ve swiftly diverted back to them. At Weddings, and other less child focused events, it’s almost the first thing strangers ask, (especially in London I find-bloody networkers).
What do I do? I’m a Mum. Yes *just* a mum. I’m no #mumboss I don’t freelance on my Mac while she naps (naps Ha!), nope I don’t have an Instagram based fashion empire, I’m not even studying for my PhD. I don’t really fit in with the SAHM #ubermum gang either, I don’t make wonderful dinners, I don’t love every moment of it, some days it’s bloody hard, it’s lonely, the house is far messier than if we were out all day, and laundry, food shop & cleaning gets squished in around toddler entertaining. I don’t remember a point we made the decision that I would care for our daughter “full time” (although there’s clearly no such thing as a “part time mum”, even if they’re working sixty hour weeks). I initially planned to return to work part time as soon as I was fit post birth, but life had other ideas. Over two years later, I haven’t returned to work. I worked until 24 hours before she was born (she was prem), and having worked in some sense since I was fifteen years old, it seems surreal to me that it’s been more than 700 days since I last had a “job”.
I find myself justifying my time, reeling off details of my past CV, dropping in that I do have a Masters actually. Or in really awkward corners where other mums say- ‘oh I’d love to do that, we just can’t afford it’. So then I feel compelled to explain that we aren’t actually loaded either, and it all gets a bit uncomfortable.
I do miss working, I miss work, adult company, financial independence. I want my daughter to feel proud of what I do, and be a role model to her.
And yet this job, with its outrageous 24 hour on 24 hour on rosta, appalling lack of coffee breaks and holiday, and frankly, inhumane attitude to private loo breaks, this job is the most important, most challenge, most fulfilling, most exhausting, most intense role I’ve ever held. And whilst some days I feel completely overwhelmed, I am so grateful for our time together.
So here’s to all you mamas out there who don’t fit into the #mumboss, the #ubermum, or any other category. Maternity leave has long since finished, and you’re just doing your thing, loving your babies and doing your best ?❤️ (but we really out to bring up some of the conditions with the Union).