This week will see me return to work after round two of maternity leave. When I was younger we’d say MrSlender might be a stay at home Dad, I’d work. How wrong I was, never imagining the pull of my children. Never imagining not wanting or needing to be successful in my ‘professional’ career. Never knowing the only success I would need is the smile of my children, the hand there to hold, ouchy to kiss, tears to wipe away. That my only need for success would be for my children to know I love them, to not feel fear or upset or confused at why they aren’t with a parent. Who or what this ‘work’ thing is. Not feel jealous of other children who just get to go home after pre school or school.
Flakey feminist that I am, with the power almost comes a lack of choice. I’ve made my own bed, with an offer of work too good to say no. Job share, good salary. I don’t want to not work ever. I just want to be with the children now. One more year. I want a local job. I want it not to matter what I earn. But it does matter.
Every mother goes through this. Every mother; career minded or not, Mother Earth or not, rich or not, poor or not. Sometimes, if you are lucky, it is a decision. Sometimes it’s a necessity. Women never used to even have a choice. It was a mummy all the way. I’d argue there still isn’t a choice. It’s just sometimes the lack of choice now is the reliance on the mother working.
I started thinking. Who does have a choice? And I honestly can’t think of a single person I know who has 100% chosen their work:mother ratio. Be it working full time, part time, starting a business, working from home, not working. There’s always an underlying factor. Lack of flexibility at work, long term illness, lack of family support locally, childcare costs.
Or maybe I just don’t know anyone rich.
Either way right now my heart is at home. Who knows what’s round the corner.
I’m lucky I only work 2.5 days. I’m lucky I only work 2.5 days.
I shall repeat this over and over. Especially as I’m sitting in an all day board meeting when I could be playing out in the sunshine with my boys.
I’m lucky I only work 2.5 days.