Tuesday, 4 August 2009


I actually have no idea why there has to be a 'versus' in that title. It implies conflict straight away.

I'm lucky, I get to do a bit of both.

When I first had Isobel, right up until the point at which I went back to work, I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mum. Who wouldn't want to spend all their time with the beautiful child that they gave birth to.

As it turns out, I actually found I enjoyed having a couple of hours to myself when Isobel went to nursery; yes I cried nearly every time I dropped her off, but it was good for me.

Remember I am a single parent (how could you forget) and although I am lucky in my relationship with PD that we do manage to co-parent at times, I do bear the brunt of parenting. No lie-ins, no-one else to get up in the night, no one coming home for supper and 'how was your day'.

So to me going to work is a respite, a chance for adult non-baby conversation. Not to mention the fact that I think being a stay at home mum must be blooming hard: how do you entertain a child all day? I worry that I don't give her enough stimulation, that I should do more things and go different places all the time. It's pressure and a lot of it, to bear on your own. It's not like I have family nearby to help take the strain.

No, it's me and just me.

I think all this isolation has a lot to do with my the state of my health mentally. I built a little bubble and lived in it. Slowly I drew the bubble in tighter, to a point where I couldn't let anyone in it or get out of it.

Meeting people, even people I was close to was hard, I wouldn't pick up the phone I still don't always pick up the phone, I wouldn't write, I just couldn't talk to anyone. It was too hard. I just wanted to curl up in a ball or runaway with my little girl.

I took pills, I went to yoga and now I work too. I've stopped taking the pills but not because I thought I was necessarily ready but because I simply didn't want to take them anymore. It's been tough, I walk a tightrope every day and I have no spare emotion left, I'm not even sure I have a safety net anymore.

I still find it hard to venture out, even the most innocuous invitation can shake me, but at least now, more often than not, I go and I have fun. I'm nearly me again.

So you see it's not that being a stay at home mum is something I look down on, it's just something I have realised I cannot do on my own.


Working Mum said...

That was a heartfelt post. I understand the working mum part all too well. I, too, enjoy the respite of going to work, even though I have a husband at home (some of the time!) to help. I feel that for me, I enjoy my time with my daughter much more because it isn't 24/7.

I think it is the lot of the working mum to have a burden of guilt and when you add being a single parent into the mix you seem to treat yourself even harder. Remember that whatever time you spend with Isobel will aid her development whatever you do with her (and I've just read your lastest post - you do a lot!). Don't beat yourself up, do enjoy being at work and your time with Isobel, but equally importantly make time for yourself. It takes time to find yourself again after having a baby; it took me nearly five years!

Surprised and Excited Mum said...

We will prevail!

It always seems a silly debate to me, horses for courses etc

Anonymous said...

Walking the tightrope is the best way hun - ideally with a safety net, but we both know sometimes life doesn't work out that way! It's scary, and a bit risky, but better that than standing at the edge too scared to move forward. You're doing fantastically :-)