One Day Down

2nd November 2009 13 Comments

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.

Claire Walsh

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  • Mike1727 2nd November 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Readjustment, that's what it is. My wife went through the same, but it passed. Give it a while, maybe think about a job move if it's not lighting your fire?

  • Cafe Bebe 2nd November 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Well done for surviving day one! I have to say, I don&#39;t feel that pressure to be more than just a mum and thankfully, my husband&#39;s meagre salary allows me to be JUST A MUM. I&#39;m pleased that you enjoyed your cup of tea and that the kids survived. Keep me posted…still hope to meet up sometime soon.<br>:)Karin

  • TheMadHouse 2nd November 2009 at 11:34 pm

    What a topical post, did you see this articale in the observer<br><br>I actually love the thought of a hot cup of tea

  • Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy 3rd November 2009 at 10:39 am

    Well done for having the first day done and dusted (ha ha? sorry). I hope you get used to it, or else find the energy to change what it is that you don&#39;t like, whether it is to leave the job for a while or to move jobs or to do whatever. <br><br>I took on more study when I became a Mum and this allows me to work at my own pace, have my own interests which I find to be a total life saver and

  • cartside 3rd November 2009 at 10:54 am

    Well, at least we&#39;ve got choices. I understand fully where you&#39;re coming from and ponder this a lot myself: for instance, because my family now always comes first, I can&#39;t make choices that would lead to a move up on the career ladder – there is no energy left, I won&#39;t do the required unpaid extra hours etc. I do get angry that to make a real career, you have to put in this extra

  • Aussie Mum 3rd November 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Sorry to hear you didn&#39;t enjoy your day. You feel guilty because you feel you should go back to work and you don&#39;t want to – I feel guilty because I enjoy going to work when I should be home with my babies. We just can&#39;t win!

  • Hot Cross Mum 3rd November 2009 at 12:59 pm

    It is a really difficult time – I returned to work part-time after number two and 6 months later was made redundant so am now a full time stay at home mum – and I spend my days wondering when I&#39;ll find 10 minutes to do some writing, or make a sandwich, or stop shouting at the children! I guess the grass is always a little bit greener. I hope it gets easier for you as the days and weeks pass.

  • Jennysnail 3rd November 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I recommend you read this book called &#39;Be your Own Life Coach&#39; by Fiona Harold. I know it&#39;s hard to find time when you&#39;ve got a baby and toddler but if you can manage to work through this book a few times a week I promise you will emerge with a clearer idea of the life that you want and be capable of taking steps (they may only be little steps to start with) towards YOUR ideal

  • Metropolitan Mum 3rd November 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I think you put in words what the majority of women going back to work is going through. I cannot imagine staying at home forever, but I cannot imagine leaving little L with strangers either. It&#39;s a dilemma.

  • Jo 3rd November 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I thought the article in the Observer was excellent – made me really think about my decision to return to work next year. The truth of the matter is we can&#39;t have it all. Feminism has enabled us to have the choice – but there just isn&#39;t an easy way of making it work. <br><br>So well done for going back, enjoy the peace and quiet and hot cups of tea and remember that you can always change

  • Rebel Mother 4th November 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Totally agree. I think we may have &#39;kippered&#39; ourselves.<br><br>Somehow in a bid to free ourselves from the kitchen sink, to be heard and counted and equalised, we are now doing absolutely everything!!!<br><br>PS Your job sounds really interesting and very peaceful. <br><br>RMxx

  • mummywhisperer 5th November 2009 at 10:16 am

    Hello Lovely,<br>Remember on the wshop we talked about looking at why our lives work for us as they are, rather than worrying about how they &#39;should&#39; be? Lets just say that there is a reason why it will work out best for you and your little ones, for you to be back at work – maybe for good, maybe for a while. <br>If you could take the odd 5 minutes over the next couple of weeks to think

  • sarahcollister 5th November 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I went back to work a few months ago, felt awful for the first few weeks, couldn&#39;t wait to get home at the end of the day and felt I was missing out! Now I&#39;m really enjoying it. You say that you enjoyed going back after toddler boy, so you&#39;ll probably get that feeling back after a while – and I&#39;m sure you will too. Good luck for the next few days, I found it got worse before it

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