Being a stay at home Mum, also known as a SAHM, is going to be brilliant, right?
At least that’s what I thought before I became one. I used to think, super, no work, no alarm clock, no driving into work in the dark winter mornings, no stress…... Boy, was I wrong!
I did my Degree in Arts in University College Cork, followed by a Masters in Smurfit Business College in Dublin and two other Diplomas in things that I was interested in over the years, Digital Marketing and Fashion Styling. I worked in the UK as a project manager for a year and for 10 years I was the manager of a very busy serviced office business. So, I do know how stressful work life can be.
However, I have never worked as hard as I have for the past year. My baby boy is one now and I have not left his side for those 12 months, bar a night out here and there with my hubby and thanks to our incredible childminder. I don’t know is it because he is my first baby or if all mothers go through this with all their children, but I knew (or I thought I knew) that no one was going to mind him and watch him as well as I would.
So, I felt like, if I left him with anyone, he was not going to be looked after as well and therefore I was letting him down. Nonsense, I know now, but this was no joke, I would barely want to leave him with his Dad and believe me, my hubby is a lot more experienced with babies than I am, even now. I think the dreaded ROUTINE is what drove me mad.
I was told by everyone around me trying to help, how important ROUTINE was and by God, was I going to get a good routine for our baba. However, I took this to the extreme, if my husband came home from work and wanted to take him for a walk I’d say no you can’t because it didn’t fit into his routine, it was too near his bedtime and he might fall asleep on the walk! I can see now even while typing those words that I was bonkers (still am a wee bit) but I just want you to understand where my head was at.
Of course, then the inevitable exhaustion and frustration kick in. I have been working so hard minding our little baba and trying to keep him to a routine like glue, which no one else seems to understand that I am resentful. Resentful of who, I don’t know, but feeling like, why is everyone else off living their lives and having a fancy time while I am here, at home, all day, practically going insane trying to keep to a “Good Routine”.
The hardest thing for me was and is total boredom. Wondering each day how you are going to fill all the hours in that day. I have plenty of friends with babies but they have all gone back to work. I find myself walking around shopping centres looking for soft play areas or having a cuppa just to pass the time. It's lonely and the days are very long. When my mum had the five of us she didn’t experience this as almost all the ladies would be stay at home mums.
When I was pregnant people would say, 'oh, your life is going to change so much now' and I'd think yes, will be different but the same, I'll just have a little cute, baby with me that’s all. HELL NO!
For the past year, I feel like I have been grieving my old life. I know that sounds a bit extreme but realistic in my eyes. I miss going to work, I miss having the chats with all the girls in the office, I miss meeting potential new clients and showing them around the business centre. I miss dressing up each morning and feeling intelligent, sexy and powerful. I miss the drive into work listening to the radio. I miss getting out of the car with nothing but a handbag, I miss my office, I miss being the person that people came to for advice or information. I miss being the one in the know, the problem solver. I miss my job, I miss work!
Now don’t for one second get me wrong, what I have in exchange for all that nonsense is my little baby boy Bobby, who I love more than anything. A smile from Bobby or a cuddle makes you forget all of that which you think you are missing out on. It is worth a trillion solo car journeys and all the rest of that jazz, but I just was not aware HOW life-changing staying at home would in fact be.
When my husband goes out to work in the mornings, I feel like saying, oh enjoy your nine hours off! In the evenings, he would say 'oh, I went here for lunch with this client and had a coffee with so and so' and I'd wonder how does he have it so easy? Has his life changed at all?
Its only in the last few weeks, since Bobby has started creche that my vision is becoming clearer and I can write this post. Yesterday morning, while Bobby was at creche, I went into town, I bought a dress and shoes, I sat down and had my breakfast, I read some of my book. All the while thinking, how long has it been since I have done any of these things alone? Yes, there was guilt but more so a feeling of excitement, is this the start of me getting some of my life back? Even writing that sounds selfish, but I think other Mums and Dads will understand what I mean, right?
I want other first time Mums or Mums to be just to know that yes, a routine is great but the edges must be bendy. That, yes you can do it ALL yourself but don’t, accept help, accept help each time its offered or you will end up like me, nearly losing your marbles trying to do everything!
Looking back on this past year, I feel so incredibly lucky to have spent all of that time with my baby, not missing a single thing but I lost myself a little in the process and I’d hate to not share that knowledge with other first time Mumma’s.
“There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed but, in the eyes, heart and mind of your child, you are Super Mum”