First day back to work, feelings of dread, panic and an overwhelming feeling that my usefulness in life is over. I’ve had the babies, nurtured them and now I am back where I began. I have worked in more or less the same job for ten years, not a lot has changed, professionally I haven’t moved on. Personally, I have moved house a couple of times, got married and had two kids. The kids have become my life.They are all I think about, day in day out. It’s really hard to change that frame of mind.
So, we all got up at about 6, it was 7.34 before I managed to get them down and eating breakfast. I dropped them at the childminders at precisely 8.00 and made it into work for 8.15. I then spent about twenty minutes cleaning 9 months worth of dust off my desk. This is the world of museums. Rapid changes in front of house public things, but when you have a minimum estimate of 100,000 objects to work on its quite hard to make an impact. You might then find yourself beavering away, but you don’t have time to dust the desk. So anyhow, what I am trying to say is that I thought I would take the opportunity to clean. Make myself feel more like I was back home.
At 9.10 I made a cup of tea, this was unusual in that I actually got to drink it, instead of leaving it until it went too cold to drink. At home, it’s all about the process of making it, rather than drinking it. I then spent every fifteen minutes with thoughts going through my mind relating to the kids; “It must be Fifi’s bottle time, I hope the childminder has remembered…I hope Toddler boy is alright…I wonder what they are having for lunch?…”
I quite enjoyed going back to work after Toddler boy, however things have changed. I feel more maternal I suppose. I feel like being a mum is not only my responsibility, it is my life duty. There are two little people dependent upon me, wanting me, used to being with me. Wherein I used to have some level of interest in my work. It is now merely work. I could be doing anything, it no longer defines me like it used to.
This is the modern dilemma isn’t it? You are expected to go back to work, put the kids in care. Get help around the house if you can afford it. Basically, you are expected by society and positively encouraged to have it all. Women are no longer expected to be good wives and mothers, they have to be superwomen, capable of turning their hand to all situations. Doing it all and being it all. When did this happen and whose fault is it? The Suffragette movement, the bra-burning Seventies, Virago Press, Thatcher? I’m not sure. All I can say is that at the moment, it sits really uncomfortably with me.