I’m coming to realise that being a mum requires you to constantly balance what you feel guilty about. Last week I felt guilty that I’d left James with my mum while I went to work. What if she doesn’t really want to take care of him? What if James thinks I don’t love him any more? What if I haven’t kept the house clean enough and they both hate it? So many what-ifs. As it turned out they had a lovely day trundling off to my mum’s and back and James was so pleased to see me when I can home that I melted in the doorway and cried all over him.
So where are we this week? Well it’s my second KIT day and I am currently feeling guilty that I’m pleased to be going in to work. I don’t care that the house is messy, I’m not all that worried about how my mum’s feeling and James was a happy little chap this morning so that’s all good. Why so blasé? A teething coldy baby will do that to you. After 2 hours spent getting him to go to sleep last night I was definitely looking forward to work this morning (bleary though I am).
So there it is. I’m happy to be getting away from the responsibility of managing his little self. Mid morning today I will be sat at a desk or getting a coffee or chatting about giant fixed structures in the North Sea. I won’t be rocking him in the pram, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and willing him to stop poking his fingers in his ears. I won’t spend the subsequent hour praying that no one rings the doorbell, telephones or pushes anything through the letterbox. I will be free!
Yes I feel guilty, but I’m pretty sure that every mum feels guilty about something all of the time. It’s all a balancing act.
I’m on my way to work for the first time without my baby and wearing proper work clothes. How does it feel? Gut wrenching. I’ve had butterflies all morning, odd dreams last night and I have a sort of nervous shake going on. I think I set a new PB for my walk to the station because the nervous energy meant my feet hardly touched the floor.
Leaving my baby is like escaping the earth’s gravity. I spent a long time about to leave the house but not actually going. I had to work up the energy to do it and then when I finally stepped out I went as fast as possible otherwise I’d have been pulled back in for one more cuddle.
But phew, now I’m on the train and one step closer to being that mum who somehow manages to juggle a career and babies and does both amazingly (ha!) I must remember that everything about being a mum is hard work (which is why it’s so rewarding) and every choice is difficult. Staying at home to look after your babies is just as emotionally draining and intense as leaving them with someone else and going to work. And in taking this first step today I’m not alone. All us mums know this feeling. The nervous shake. The inability to maintain a train of thought. The pounding in your chest because your heart is bigger than ever since meeting and nurturing your baby. It’s terrifying, nauseating and knee-wobbling.
But at the same time, boy, am I proud. Proud of him and proud of me. I want to be a strong successful mother. I want to know more and more about the world so that I can teach James everything and going to work is part of that. When the time comes I’ll be able to tell him everything he needs to know about the tensile strength of steel or the buckling modes of I beams. I bet he’s looking forward to that!