Parenting – I am discovering – is basically a lot of discovery. Every day is a brave new world with new creatures and new things to learn. My two boys are equally challenging and fulfilling. I learn new skills on a regular basis and develop new traits, patience is something I have had to develop.
I have decided to go back to work in Dec – Jan. I’ll officially go back to work late december and use up my leave, returning to the office in January. My job will be the same one I have done for five years now and to be honest I am lucky to have a job that is still in existence, local, flexible, fairly well paid and not too stretching. I now appreciate that my career is over for the foreseeable future – I’ll be stuck in this post for a long time as realistically a Mum with young children isn’t an attractive option for a well paid job – can they guarentee that they can cover colleagues in an emergency – No, they can’t guarentee that they can get child care at the drop of a hat and there are likely to be times when they will not be available at short notice. To be brutally honest I have had and participated in this discussion when interviewing myself. Some women can do it (a former chief exec was a mother) but I cant guarentee that my career will come first over my family at the momment.
Accepting that I am no longer a career person is hard, I have always loved new challenges, planning out my career seeking new development oppourtunties but I have a chance to develop new people skills. I am learning how to settle a toddler in bed and how to time my exit so that he will stay in bed but will be putting himself to sleep without me in bed with him. I have developed new confidence to breast feed in public while amusing Ben with a story, admittedly phoning someone up and talking to them makes me break out in a cold sweat but I am (hopefully) drawing on strength I didn’t know I had to get through days and weeks with two children at home.
Ben is changing and learning new skills every day, he has recently been learning how to use a straw, on our way back to the car in Milton Keynes I called into a milkshake shop to get a shake for his Daddy and I. I had Ben on my hip (to get a better view of how it was made) and as I held my milkshake, he grabbed the straw and looked up at me, shouting me to (his phrase of the month). I told him he could have some but would need to do a really big suck – which he did and loved, he kindly helped me drink my chocolate orange milkshake, having tested his dad’s one (mint aero) and decided he preferred mine, the idea of him managing a physical skill like holding a straw, sucking and swallowing as well as remembering which cup had which flavour and communicating which one he wanted and when was unthinkable a few months ago.
My boys continue to drive me to distraction (I nearly cried when we got to Pizza Express with Ben screaming and Ciaran screaming) but can make me laugh and melt my heart when they want to, and as long as they continue to do sweet things (grabbing me by the neck for a cuddle in bed, stroking my face, laughing hysterically at stupid games) I will continue to remind myself why this is the greatest job in the world, hours are awful, salary non-existent, bosses inconsistent and tempermental and you handle a lot of poo but the perks are great.