Sometimes I feel like being a parent is like a double-edged sword. Women in general, tend to be ones that are looked upon to hold things together and keep things running smoothly at home while juggling several balls at once – no disrespect to men by the way because you are also doing a rocking job, but I’m focusing on us mamas today! Let it be known that I absolutely love being a mum, Aiden is a delight and completely enriched our lives for the better. Spending quality time with him is what life’s about, he really is a special little man. With as much love as I have for my little boy, equally, I love being able to work and do my own thing too.
This post by Kathleen (she’s pretty awesome btw!) couldn’t have put it any more perfectly and practically expressed exactly how I have and still feel, everything in this post just makes sense to me. It’s not a topic that is spoken about often, but needs to be, so I’m sharing my own personal experiences with you on the blog today because I think that it’s an important topic to ‘get out there.’
The week leading up to Aiden’s first day at nursery was filled with sheer elation and excitement for me, and on the day I was close to popping open a bottle of champagne. Other mums that I’d spoken to are filled with dread on their baby’s first day in someone else’s care. Don’t get me wrong, I had done my research and our chosen nursery had come with gleaming reviews and recommendations from other mums and I knew we had picked a great place on our tour and settling in sessions. This was probably perhaps why I was so comfortable with dropping him off that first day and the fact I had finally opened up some space to be myself.
I know how incredibly lucky I am that I’m able to work from home and see my baby grow while earning some money too. However, it’s not as dreamy as it sounds and I know some of you can relate, running a small business with a little person at home is challenging. You work to their schedule rather than your own – super early mornings, working through nap times and late nights at the computer are common. It’s gruelling, tiring and exhausting and 18-months in I was done.
Honestly, I’m not even sure how I had managed to last that long. Just like most things when you’re a parent you just carry on because you have no other choice. Whether you’re sleep deprived (I always am at the moment!), ill, or simply want to put two-fingers up to starting the day, your little person comes first and foremost and everything else slots in between. When I was pregnant it dawned on me that I would need to make some time for myself and my blog and business is exactly that. Time for me to do what I absolutely love doing that doesn’t involve being a parent.
Being a mum and running a business are not mutually exclusive, you can do both equally well. But I needed to work, for my family and even more importantly for my sanity. It may sound selfish to some, but sometimes you have to put yourself first before everything else in your life and my work was that. I’m constantly haunted by the guilt about having a burning need to do something that isn’t parenting and I don’t think that it will ever go away. I feel selfish that I put my baby in nursery just so that I could follow my dreams, but I needed this in fact I think we both did.
What is helping with battling the mama guilt is seeing how much Aiden has flourished since starting nursery. He’s much more open around strangers and his language skills are amazing for his age. Everyone is impressed with him and how well he is coming on. Only now I’m starting to feel like me again have a vibrancy and eagerness for life than never before. Pregnancy and mamahood understandably takes up so much of you that you barely have anything left for yourself. Even though I’m racked with mama guilt, it has also given me the gift of rejuvenation and the space to be the whole version of me.
I’m so grateful for my little blog and you guys! Without both, I’m not sure I would have made it this far because being a parent can be incredibly isolating, especially with no family close by. It can feel like you’re the only one going through these challenges. I wanted to be honest in the hope that by sharing my story it might resonate with others out there going through the same thing.
Just like Kathleen expressed in her post, ‘there is no happy ending to this post.’ I’m very much in the thick of it and struggle each day, especially with Aiden’s 5 am wake-up calls. As all you mums know, being a parent is hard work and we never feel like we get it right. We muddle through and settle with the fact that we’ve tried our best and there is nothing wrong with that.