O.K. Sew…Here it is. I am a better mum for being a working mum.
It’s not only because I can provide more financially but I am genuinely a happier person. So why I am bothering to write a blog about it? Because I am sick of MUM GUILT.
My mum worked full time since I was a baby and when I look back I don’t have any ill feelings towards her. If anything, I am proud that she had a career and had her independence. Yes, there were times I wished she was a ‘Canteen Mum’ or was able to volunteer at a carnival or Friday sports day but with the flexibility that many organisations now offer this is a possibility for many mothers.
I had children in my 30s, and boy was I ready for it. I had no regrets. I enjoyed every moment of motherhood for the first 6 months, and then I started getting agitated. Every morning became a boring routine and slowly the mundane starting eating away at me.
– Wake up exhausted
– Change diaper
– Make bed
– Change diaper
– Bath baby
– Put baby to sleep
– Wash bottles, sterilise bottles, clean kitchen
– Start laundry, fold other laundry, hang laundry
– Baby wakes
– Feed baby, change baby
– Start cooking dinner
I can’t even continue because writing this is giving me anxiety. And when he turned 10.5 months I had my daughter and did it all again x 2! My house was messier, the laundry tripled because she had reflux. My son started eating solids, so food was always on the floor. Everything always seemed messy or dirty or cluttered. I am sure it was over exaggerated from my viewpoint and wasn’t all that bad, but I was going crazy seeing the lack of order. I started arguing with my husband and picking on the small things. And I was exhausted from being at home and doing nothing but being a housekeeper. I was so focused on keeping the house in order that I didn’t spend quality time with my babies.
And then it hit me. It was something my maternal grandfather taught me. You first need to look after yourself before you can look after others wholeheartedly.
It was at this point, I realised I needed to get back to work.
Admittedly, I was lucky. Firstly I was able to work from home so I had the beauty of not wasting hours on public transport and secondly my grandmother was looking after them while I was working so I knew they were loved and well taken care of.
But here is what happened. I ended up doing more with less time, faster and happier. Kind of like Uni. It was like cramming for the finals and leaving everything to the last minute and somehow getting everything done.
The housework got done, but I didn’t feel it owned me anymore. And when I had finished from work I spent quality time with my babies. I played with them. I read to them and I was happy.
The point? Staying at home doesn’t always make you a better Mum. And it is OK to need your time and space, to be more than just a wife and mother. Because being you and feeling like you, helps you to the very best version of you – whether wife, mum, daughter, or friend.
Don’t feel guilty when you chose to focus on yourself. If breastfeeding sucks, don’t put pressure on yourself to do it. The most important thing is that your child is fed, safe, healthy and happy. And take it from me – formula is just as fine!
Mum guilt will never die but trust me a happy mumma is the best kind of mumma.