Is it teething time for your little one?
 
Maternity leave comes to an end all too quickly. Precious days spent getting to know this amazing little person who has just joined your family - it almost feels like they are just starting to blossom into  their new personalities when it’s time to go back to work.  
 
Some people have the option of taking a year off, some people only a few weeks; whatever your reasons, choices and commitments, it boils down to the same thing: you have to leave your baby.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of mums out there who are excited to go back to work - I was one of them in many ways. But even with the best job in the world, it can be a phase of major adjustment, upset and turmoil - otherwise known as ‘The Mummy Guilt’.  
 
Rather than going down the road of discussing why people make a choice to go back to work, or to highlight that many people don’t actually have a choice in the first place; I thought it might be refreshing to focus on the positives! So, this article is for all of you working mums out there who are struggling to cope with the guilt of having to leave your baby - whether it be for a couple of half days a week or a five-day full-time working week. 
 
 
When I was expecting my most recent little addition, I came across an amazing group of women who were all in the same boat (LOTP, you know who you are!). Out of the group, many of the women have gone back to work, and some are just returning now. There are also some stay-at-home mums who went back to work after having earlier babies but have chosen to stay at home this time around.  Of course, there is a collection of full-time, stay-at-home mums, and I have to say – being at home is just as hard a job as being at work – I think this will become even more evident as this article continues!
 
After a few hard days at work this week, I was feeling a bit exhausted and wondered; if I had the choice to be a stay-at-home mum, would life actually be any easier? In the interest of a bit of a giggle and a bit of perspective,  I asked this group of women a simple questionL “What are the positives about being a working mum?'  Here is a sample of the answers to cheer any of you emotionally drained ‘working mums’ up!  Let’s be clear..this article is not my ‘norm’ - you will not find any evidence-based guidelines or medical research here; but, sometimes…laughter is the best medicine!
 
 
What are the positives of being a ‘working mum’?
  • Being somewhat appreciated for what I do.
  • Saying ‘I’ll do it in a minute’, and your word being accepted instead of being asked again and again, every five seconds until you give in.
  • Going to the toilet in peace and without an audience.
  • Coffee in peace – and it’s even hot!
  • Lunch in peace – again, even hot, if wanted!!
  • Feeling like you have done something productive instead of the ‘futility’ of housework, etc.
  • "I’d quit my job but it's the only place I get any sleep!”
  • Exercising my brain.
  • "I like those 16 minutes a day when I’m on my own in the car.  I like that I’m me and not just 'Mum'.  I like that, at the end of my shift, I can just stop what I’m doing."
  • Feeling like I have a goal apart from eat, sleep, clean up mess, repeat.
  • The feeling of having a purpose other than being a mum, to help retain a sense of identity.
  • Being called by my name.
  • The commute, and singing along to the radio without the kids asking 20 questions!
  • "Adult conversation - being a stay-at-home mum, I can go days without adult conversation apart from my husband! Sometimes I go to ALDI for a chat.’
  • "I go to my local shop – I now know all of the staff!"
  • Dressing in work clothes.
  • Listening to talk shows on the radio.
  • "Eating…alone, like. And swallowing."
  • Putting on make-up.
  • Having the craic with colleagues and friends.
  • Sitting down.
  • People listen to me when I speak, and don’t respond with ‘why’?
  • Not being pooped on.
  • Not talking about poop.
  • Going for lunch with friends.
  • "I love my house being clean because we are not in it to mess it’
  • Lunch cooked by canteen staff.
  • Wearing high heels.
  • Work people don’t steal food off your plate.
  • Browsing on the internet without feeling guilty about ignoring the kids.
  • Talking about things other than Power Rangers and dinosaurs.
  • Being a person other than ‘Mum’
  • Being on your phone without someone wanting to snatch it from your hand.
  • Facing different challenges and exercising different skills to what I do at home.
  • Financial benefits help to make it feel worthwhile.
  • "Having new things to talk to Hubby about at dinner time, other than the consistency of poop and the price of food in Tesco."
  • Sharing night time baby duties and early wakings, as both of us work.
  • "Not having to chase an energiser bunny all day – that’s exhausting!"
  • Not having to try and get the baby to nap.
  • Wearing clean clothes.
  • Being able to wear jewellery.
  • Lunchtime shopping.
  • Not bringing a buggy.
  • Walking with two free hands.
  • Husband gets a taste of what it is you’ve been doing whilst ‘off’.
  • "Not having to get my boobs out for eight whole hours".
  • "Being better at my job because of having children…can survive on very little food and drink for days on end, and can go without sleep – every employer's dream!’
  • Being appreciated.
  • Getting to carry a handbag with things in it just for me.
  • Having lunch at lunchtime.
  • Being able to drive with the music blaring at ridiculous levels.
  • Coming home to big cuddles.
  • The look of joy/relief on their faces when you collect them or get home.
Well, I hope reading that little list, created by fellow ‘working mums’,  has helped you to realise that, actually, maybe going to work isn’t such a bad thing!  Going to work may actually help you to be a better and more tolerant parent, by allowing you some very precious ‘you’ time.  You may actually spend better quality time with your kids during your time off than you ever would if you were with them every day of the week. So, let the ‘working mum’ guilt be gone – consider yourself cured! You are now free to move on to any of the following common forms of mum guilt:
  • 'My child doesn’t eat enough fruit and vegetables' guilt.
  • 'My child watches more than five minutes of TV per day' guilt.
  • 'My child just licked a dirty floor' guilt.
  • 'I gave my baby formula' guilt.
  • 'I use disposable nappies' guilt.
  • 'I pretended to go to the bathroom just to get a minute's peace' guilt.
  • 'I dress my child exclusively from Penneys' guilt.
  • 'My child ate a lollipop' guilt.
  • 'I fed my baby food from a sachet (without a spoon)' guilt
Pharmacist

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