The term SAHM is so vile, isn’t it? But I was practicing being one all along because the maternity leaves in this country are so wonderfully long, that most people who take them have lived both kinds of mum lives: working at a paid job, and not.
I got to try out both when Jonah was a baby, and when I went back to work when he was 8 1/2 months old I didn’t freak out. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t cry all day. I would sometimes look longingly at his photos on my pin board (that’s what these crazy British people call it) but then a few minutes later I was inevitably engrossed in a project on my computer or sitting in a meeting with interesting people or trying to pretend I could follow along in a discussion about politics with my office-mate or going to get my 14th chai latte of the week at the Starbucks inside the building. Which I loved. I loved all those skinny chai lattes (I also love saying skinny, not skim) and I miss them.
I actually miss quite a few things about working but the reasons for deciding to resign are NSFB. The upshot is that although I can think of better circumstances which would have made me stay in my job or better circumstances which would make me enjoy being at home even more, that’s not how life works as far as I am aware and I am happy I decided something. The months when I was in limbo about what to do were terrible. It’s the epitome of why choice is sometimes a mixed blessing. For now, I am in my notice period, so still technically an employee. And I absolutely respect my manager and colleagues and I deeply prize whatever positive professional reputation I have. I’m not scared of falling off the employment track in terms of future opportunities – I am more scared for the present.
I love my kids in the way that anyone who loves a person this much knows there is no way to even verbalize it. I treasure hanging out with them. I’m just saying I am kind of shitty at the whole thing. I am not at home making homemade Play-Doh or organic homemade snacks. I don’t rush my children to different playgroups and classes every single day. I don’t sit and do reading circles and song time and I have to admit that sometimes I put them down for a nap even if they don’t seem tired. How else can I catch up on my internet reading and tv watching? My kids have to sit in dressing rooms with me and watch me look at my iPhone a lot and sometimes they have to cry for minutes on end when stuck underneath a drawer because I just don’t feel like getting up that particular second. I sometimes avoid conversations with other moms because I am worried I will get pulled into some smiley, happy playgroup where no alcohol is ever served.
Any parent that hangs out at playgrounds enough (I do) knows the variety of parents out there. Fashionista Mom with her heeled boots and flawless make-up. Super Excited Mom who just sings and claps at her kid the whole time It is playing. Totally Prepared Mom who often has to give my kids snacks when they’re hungry. Eagle Eye Mom that would never let her child fall from a climbing frame (guilty). Endless Energy Mom that can go to the playground for 3 hours and never get bored. And then there are the rest of us. Milling about in various states of dirty yoga trouser-wearing distracted and envious iPhone app playing unrest. Just hoping it won’t matter because Serenity Parenting will win out and our kids will be exactly who they were going to be anyway, and know how much they’re loved all along.