travel with me from SAHM to working mum….
It has been an unsettled weekend recovering from the shock of my return to full-time work – I’m calling it work. I am being paid (a bursary), I am getting on the train every day. I am dressing for the workplace. I am wearing make-up every day. It’s full-time employment. If I had to plot my feelings on a graph there would be definite peaks and troughs.
Husband-in-the-garden-not, that rare specimen, is on the shortlist for a megabucks City job. Having convinced himself that downshifting is where it’s at, this has posed him with a dilemma. On Tuesday I would have advised him to take the job – anything to give me an excuse not to get on the morning train. By Thursday my day-dreams had me back in the classroom, the competent professional, in front of a transfixed class.
It is amazing how quickly you can adapt to a different pace and focus of life. I have had to shift my mindset away from domesticity (in truth not difficult) and carer of children (more tricky). Returning to employment full-time has been easier because of the role-reversal we have been lucky enough to engineer. It is easy to leave the house with the washing up abandoned, children half-dressed, no thoughts of arranging supper. I imagine this experiment of ‘working mum’ would be a hundred times more stressful if I was dropping the children at school, clock-watching in order to collect them, liaising with friends to lift-share, listening to reading, planning meals, supervising homework, organising a dog-walker – that endless domestic list that the full-time (indeed the working) mother must work through. The shift in mindset is difficult though. I am having to force myself to be more selfish. Husband-in-the-garden-not must realise what needs to be done at home himself. He can only discover this by making his own mistakes, but also his priorities are different from mine. He also has to plan his next career move as well as use the opportunity being at home has given him to improve his fitness, effect home improvements, developing his relationship with the children, even gardening jobs. Let’s face it, we all have our own ways of working and, although I can give him tips on what works for me, really, he’s on his own.