I’m sitting in the sun, enjoying the first bit of sunny weather and someone asks me
‘So when are you back at work ?’
My bliss is interrupted by the impending doom feeling that ensues…
‘Oh yeah‘ I think. ‘This isn’t forever…’
At first I’m unsure how to answer because 1) I don’t fucking know and 2) I don’t think I want to go back..
And then comes the guilt that comes with every ‘major‘ Mum decision.
I feel like I need to explain myself for a decision that affects exactly one person in this conversation and that isn’t them.
The first few times I answered truthfully, honestly believing that of course I would be going back to work, I mean – ‘I’ll be thankful for the break won’t I ??!‘ or ‘Them bills ain’t gonna pay themselves‘
But as time went on I realised that truthfully, it’s bloody pointless me returning to a place that I hate, to pay for someone else to look after my kid ( and be doing it wrong…)
So I started saying ‘ well, I’m not sure I will now, I mean SOMEONE has got to look after the baby and it may as well be me right?!’
Well apparently, that’s wrong.
I MUST be a full time mum, full time worker, full time cleaner, cook and errand runner.
*What do you MEAN you haven’t brushed your teeth today ? you’re on MATERNITY LEAVE. You get to sit around doing nothing all day ?! *
Well, haha because Maternity Leave actually ain’t the big holiday that I was expecting.
The first bit when you’re still pregnant is alright, because you don’t have to look after anyone else but is also rubbish because your hot, uncomfortable and feel like welcoming death instead of carrying around this wriggly watermelon on your front.
You start dreaming about your perfect life of Insta-worthy snapshots with you, your husband and beautiful baby doing all the things you can’t right now because your too fat and miserable.
And then the baby COMES and its all lovely (minus the whole birthy injuries part) because everyone coos over your little potato that you made and you can venture out and make old ladies happy and generally show off your new thing.
And then its shite again because your too knackered to go out and even if you DID then that means showering which has become the Impossible Task if you are alone, or two hours of getting ready but STILL not being dressed when your other half is there to ‘help’ then you tend to give up and flick This Morning back on.
And it’s like that for pretty much the rest of the time off except for the odd lovely day which gives you a taste for the full time mum thing, until your wages vanish and you start getting asked about when your Back To Work, as though you’ve been enjoying a little mini break for the last 9 months…
Maternity Leave isn’t a big long holiday for me to do as I please, – it’s a chance for me to look after my baby, watch them grow and help them learn the world. It is a full time task that requires all of my energy. Physically and mentally. It is literally my job to keep a small baby alive and happy and healthy.
So, please excuse me if I make a face, or roll my eyes when you ask the dreaded question. I don’t mean to be rude but like every question that comes with New Parenthood – it is asked at least twice daily, and there is no ‘correct’ answer.
And most importantly, its just another reminder that I don’t get to sit in the garden with my tiny, forever.