A feeling of anxiousness has been creeping up on me over the last few weeks.
My daughter is approaching her nine month milestone and while for some this could also be the time when they begin to worry about going back to work, for me it has brought a different worry.
Fear Of Not Going Back To Work.
I accepted redundancy four months into my maternity leave. The previous four months had felt dominated with long emails and phone calls to a solicitor as I struggled to cling on to my job. And though there are laws in place to protect women who choose to become mothers and want to keep working, I was put in a position where it was impossible for me to return to my former employment.
When it was finally all over I felt shaken. But then I resolved to put it all to one side and focus on my daughter and our time together, now the cloud was no longer hanging over my maternity leave.
Only now the time has come when I would have begun negotiating how I would return to work, and instead I must begin looking for a new job from scratch.
I really want to go back to work.
I loved – sorry LOVE, present tense – being a journalist. It was the career I had dreamt of since I was a little girl. Well, maybe not quite how I pictured it would be, but I set my sights on my goal and I achieved it.
I love my daughter. And I really do enjoy spending my day handing her sticky bits of banana to stuff in her face, building towers for her to knock over, pushing her on the swings, letting her splash bath water all over me and watching her sleep.
And this has been really hard to admit, because I do not want, or mean, to say that, “I don’t want to be just a mother.”
There is no such thing as “JUST” a mother.
It is an incredibly hard, demanding, important and fulltime job. I don’t care what people say. (And I have met Katie Hopkins, and was surprised to find that I actually quite liked her. She is secretly a very friendly, caring and considerate woman. But that doesn’t mean I agree with much that she says, especially when it comes to Stay At Home Parenting.)
But I DO want to be a working mother.
I want it all. I want to kiss my daughter goodbye in the morning and trundle off to work with all the other folk, work 9 to 5, three days a week, and then spend the rest of the time being a parent.
And I know it doesn’t work like that.
First of all I’ve got to actually find a job, or some freelance work, that will let me do those hours and still pay me enough to afford the nursery fees.
And it is scary. Especially in this post-EU Referendum economy where doom and gloom is forecast in every direction.
It’s not like it was easy for mothers to work before. I have lost count of the number of people I have met who have been told that it will be cheaper for them not to work, than pay for child care.
And as I scour the job ads for those two magic words, “part time”, my feeling of anxiousness grows ever stronger.
I am not giving up.
But I am starting to consider that I might be PURELY a mother for a little while longer than I anticipated.