I love being a mum – much more than I thought I would to be honest.
I never knew how much I would love picking Miss S out of the cot in the morning and holding her cheek against mine. I never thought I would giggle with my 3 month old in our first breast feed of the morning as we both realize the day has started and that it’s time to open the shutters and invite the day into our little world. And if someone had told me I would be taking my 3 month old to the library to borrow books and attend singing sessions (and belt out “The Little Green Frog” at the top of my lungs) I would not have believed them!
I love being a mother.
But I do (and I don’t know why I feel slightly guilty saying this) also miss work and the feeling of having contributed to society in a different way. I am not for a moment suggesting that a mother does not contribute to society, but I miss the intellectual stimulation – the tricky patients, the friendly debates with colleagues and the feeling of “what a crappy day but gosh it feels good” when you put your key in the door after a day at work.
Does this make me a bad mother? Does the fact that I yearn to have just a touch of my old life mean I don’t love my daughter enough?
Well some people certainly like to voice their opinions on how another woman mothers her child and I’ve heard the comments “it’s too early” and “how could you leave her so soon.” And it’s only now I understand the fire that very quickly ignites in your belly when you defend your own child, your family and your own ability to mother.
I am planning to go back to teaching junior doctors one day a fortnight soon. That’s literally 8 hours in a 336 hour fortnight. My husband thinks it’s a great idea to give my brain the tickle that that it’s yearning for (I also think he is sick of me grilling about his day at work and all his tricky patients so I can give my unwanted opinion!). So to answer those 2 earlier questions – no it does not make me a bad mother and of course I love her enough!
So what’s my point?
That we need to stop judging each other. I’m planning to do a day a fortnight when Miss S is 4 months old and that sits beautifully with my family and me. Some women return to full time work at 6 weeks and some never go back at all – and whatever a mother feels works for her is the right thing. There are loads of different ways we can all be mothers. My way isn’t the right way but neither is yours.
After reading so many books, listening to lots of unwanted free advice and copping uninvited judgment from all and sundry – I have worked it out that the best way is the one that works for Miss S and my family.
So when I trot off to work in a month’s time I am sure I will have a small cry and a knot in my stomach but I know that it is going to be a wonderful thing for both Miss S and I. And if it’s not hey, I’m not too proud to say “it WAS too early” and step it back… but you know what, it’s me who will say those words, NOT someone else.