Halfway into my maternity leave I was approached by my boss about an opportunity that was coming up – someone was leaving to do a long term secondment, and they had thought of me as a potential candidate. I was made up that they’d thought of me, especially seeing as I was on maternity leave!
The job would be a promotion, which would mean more money and responsibility – something that I hadn’t seen myself getting for at least another 5 years. I went home and told my husband who said that I should go for it, and if nothing else, it would be good interview experience.
Over the next few weeks, every time the little man napped, I caught up what had been going on in the pharmacy world over the past 6 months, and prepared for the interview. I was exhausted by the end of it as I was getting zero time to get anything else done or get any rest! But, I wanted to give it my best shot. And it was kind of nice being able to use my brain!
I went off into town with the little one in tow, and handed him over to his dad outside of my work before the interview. During the interview it felt really nice to be the “old me”, but I was also starting to realise just how out of the loop I was when they were asking me scenario based questions. My usual sharpness just wasn’t there! I came out of the interview feeling quite deflated, so was completely shocked when they called me to offer me the job the next day!
I was super shocked! Me? The “mum” me whose brain is sleep deprived? YOU WANT ME?! It was a great boost for my confidence and I was super happy.
That was, until the first person said to me “What, you’re going back to work full time? And you’re going to leave him in nursery 5 days a week?”
And that, is when the mum guilt kicked in. And, the annoyance.
Yes, I’m going back to work full time. I have a career that I have worked extremely hard to build up over the past 10 years, and I love my job. But, that does not mean I love my baby any less. I would do absolutely anything for him and he is my main priority. But, being a stay at home mum won’t make me love him more.
He is going to a good nursery, where he can interact with others on a daily basis, and participate in many more activities than I could ever do with him at home. Plus, they have so many more facilities making it more enjoyable for him, rather than the same toys on rotation at home. I have seen children of friends who have gone to nursery from the age of 1, and not only have they have loved it, they have developed so much quicker, and most importantly been happy. Hence, it makes me feel so much better about my decision.
Also, I am going back to work for him. I don’t want to have to make do, I want us to be able to still buy nice things, go on family holidays and days out, and the only way to do that comfortably is to go back to work. It means that I will make sure I am spending quality time with him in the evenings, rather than the current maternity leave scenario of running around trying to get chores done whilst he is playing. It will also make weekends and family time that little bit more special.
I’m really fed up of the people that just don’t get it and feel the need to judge. Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realise that me having a baby meant that I had to give up on my career, and that sending him to nursery so he can engage with other children makes me a bad mother.
I think once upon a time it was quite standard for mums to stay at home with their children, so there are many from a certain generation who just don’t understand us career mums.
I understand that I “can’t have it all”, but, I’m going to give it a good go and try to strike a balance that works for us. And i’ll make sure that he is happy – as that is the most important thing.
Who knows, one day I might end up being a stay at home mum, and i’ll make that decision when the time is right. But for now, I am doing what I feel is best for all of us – please don’t judge me.