So after long conversations and lots of maths that made my head hurt, Hubby and I decided it was best for me to stop working. The simple fact was that one child in childcare was vaguely affordable but two was going to be crippling. We were going to be paying money for me to work, I simply didn’t earn enough without doing large amounts of overtime.
This was not a decision I took very lightly, or well at first. I am a nurse. I worked hard for that title, after Pinky I dreaded the idea of going back to work but I found it a welcome break from being ‘Mum’. I liked the adult conversation and using my brain to a greater extent. So after Perky came along I knew I would be going back and quickly came to terms with that. I knew that we didn’t want a third baby so there was no going back until pregnant again, this was it this time. I forged career goals, areas of nursing I wanted to gain experience in with an end goal in sight. Although this isn’t the end completely, putting these goals on hold has been strangely hard.
We sadly don’t have much help with the girls during the week. This really isn’t a problem, my in-laws live very close and they are all very supportive, it’s simply that they work full time still. All of my family live too far away and also still work full time. So along with Hubbys Monday to Friday job which can involve travel and requires him to leave before 7am and not be home until 6pm it’s not that easy for me to work the 7am-7.30pm shift required by the hospital. This will only get worse when the girls start school with later start times and early pick ups compared with nursery. Unfortunately we didn’t work this out before I went on maternity leave. If I had I would have handed in my notice then rather than go for Maternity Leave. Having spoken to HR I have now completed my time back and left. The NHS offer a fabulous Maternity package but it understandably means you have to go back to work at the end of it for a certain amount of time.
Once we decided I should stay at home it became really difficult for me to go back, but it was short term and went by very quickly. When I did go back I was pleased it wasn’t forever. Pinky obviously doesn’t really remember a time when I did work, I went on maternity leave for her little sister when she was 21 months old. So far as she knows I have never left either of them for such long amounts of time. I am gone before she wakes up in the morning and I get home after she is asleep. To keep her calm as she misses me Hubby lets her stay up and wait for me to get home and put her to bed. As lovely as it was to see her it made her extra tired and grumpy for the rest of the week.
So now I find myself a stay at home mum. It doesn’t feel like much has changed at the moment since I have been at home for the past year anyway. But I am more relaxed, I don’t think about time constraints so much. I have organised with a couple of friends to meet at the same time each week, either at our houses or to take the children out. Our lives have become slightly more planned which suits us all brilliantly. Everything felt a little ad hoc before, which suits some people but it made me feel lonely and always at a loose end, some weeks we would be ridiculously busy and others we would have no plans outside of our house. I like plans, plans make me happy and relaxed. We still have a couple of ‘free’ days each week where we can make arrangements with friends and relatives we don’t normally see, or we can have some chill days, just me, Pinky and Perky.
Pinky is starting her Pre-school hours next week so I will get some time with Perky on our own which I’m really looking forward to. We used to get all day Tuesday to ourselves but since working my notice period we haven’t had any time. Tuesdays also used to serve as downtime for me whilst Perky napped. Now there is none, and although its only been a couple of weeks I am really starting to notice the lack of ‘me time’. I will give it another couple of weeks and see how everything fits together but I am definitely going to need to find an hour a week to myself outside the house. I’m not sure what yet, maybe I will start swimming again one evening a week. I have always been quite comfortable in my own company so since becoming a mother I have missed the peace and quite being on your own can offer. Especially now my days are filled with detailed descriptions of everything from Disney Princesses to the size of a poop! Pinky has a very good vocabulary for a three year old (well it’s likely average but I didn’t realise how well three year olds could talk before) and she uses it all day long!
One unexpected side effect of me becoming a Stay at Home Mum is that now Pinky knows I’m not going to work she has relaxed. She has become less clingy towards me and has even started to enjoy Daddy time again.
Part of me still wishes I could work. Being a nurse is part of what used to make me feel like me. But it is what is best for our family as a whole. The girls are loving it and so am I. They won’t need me like this forever, which in part I look forward to and in part I don’t. So for now I will make the most of being needed and hope I don’t go certifiably crazy in the process.