Welcome back to another week of the “Share Your Story” series. Last week we had the wonderful Kerry from Mummy Thomas Blog. Kerry spoke honestly about her feelings towards her little girl starting nursery again. Completely understandable after the first experience. This week we have Pam from Pam’s Bake and Baby Blog. Pam is sharing her story on being back at work and enjoying it, embracing it and saying that it is OK. I’ll hand over the reins to her now…….
Pam’s Bake and Baby Blog
My name’s Pam Lorimer. I’ve been with my husband for 16 years and he was my high school sweetheart. I have two children, my son is almost 4 and my daughter is almost 2. They are crazy, funny and beautiful. Their characters couldn’t be more different and yet they are best friends. I look at them and see so much of myself it’s scary.
I went to University but dropped out after a year when I realised how much studying was involved! I started my career in the railway 12 years ago and never looked back. I enjoy travel and we get away as often as we can. I bake special occasion cakes for a children’s charity (Cakes For Kids Scotland, check them out!) and get the most amazing feeling when I see someones face light up all because of some cake! I write short stories and started my blog a little over a year ago as a way of pursuing my writing dream. I love every bit of the blogging world.
Why I’m not the mum everyone expects me to be.
When I got married at 24 I didn’t want a family, as I approached my late 20’s I felt a pull to be a mother. Now at 33, I have a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. For a while I couldn’t quite believe that this was my life. In fact, shortly after having my second child I freely admit I had a ‘what the hell have I done?‘ moment!
I went back to work after 9 months maternity leave both times. I work in the rail industry and the option for flex time or part-time hours wasn’t an option, so I went back full-time – 48 hours a week. I work 12 hour shifts days and nights and although it sounds horrendous it actually means that I get a lot of time off and more time with the kids than if I worked a Mon-Fri job. It means that we need less childcare as I work a lot of weekends and evenings so my husband is able to cover some of it.
I also have one of the most supportive mums around and I know I couldn’t be doing what I am without her help and support!
Before I had children I would complain about the shifts, about how tired I was working such long hours. Now I don’t have days off. I have two children and a house to look after, but much less time to deal with everything. I won’t lie it can be a struggle. And after my first child I took a while to get into a routine. There were tears, arguments and struggles – mainly mine. But now me and hubby are on the same page. He is super supportive of my choices and pulls his weight at home – most of the time! I can’t stress how important this has been and understand this is not the same for everyone.
I shock a lot of people when I tell them that I enjoy working.
When I was at home on maternity leave I felt like a huge part of myself was missing. I struggled to find a happy place and (this still makes me cringe to say …) I felt unfulfilled. Being a stay at home mum wasn’t for me. There I’ve said it. It is the hardest job I can imagine. There is no salary, no bonus for meeting targets and no appraisals to let you know how to improve. Me being a mum isn’t top of the things I tell people if they ask about me. I have hobbies, interests and a great social life – apparently this is not acceptable when you become a parent, at least for the mother.
I recently wrote a piece about ‘mummy guilt’ and what everyone thinks about everyone else. Working mums tend to look at stay at home mums with envy. They falsely believe that the mums at home are in their pjs until lunchtime, watching telly then doing incredible crafty, fun mum stuff with the kids every day. They are jealous that the stay at home mums get to attend school events and can seemingly do what they like. Stay at home mums look at working mums and are insanely jealous of their freedom. Freedom to have a break, go for a pee in peace and get an actual lunch break. They would kill to be wearing something other than mum gear and to have something else on their minds. Then you have the part-time working mums. They have a bit of both sets of guilt. Guilty that they feel they aren’t able to give their all at work in the hours available. Guilty they aren’t doing enough at home. Guilt is a bitch!
We are also bad at hating on each other. In the last year I have heard stay at home mums say they can’t believe that a mother would want to work full-time – why bother having kids? It’s a statement I hear a lot. Working mums are similarly as bad at dishing out the insults, branding stay at home mums lazy. Why can’t we respect each other more?
Last year I had a breakthrough after I admitted that I enjoyed working.
Instead of apologising for doing what was best for me, I am embracing it. Being a working mum makes me happy. Of course I have my days where I wonder if I am doing the right thing Are my kids are alright? Am I being selfish? But I have also come to the conclusion that we will never ‘have it all‘. Whatever you choose then chances are you will have to sacrifice something. And that can be ok as long as you accept this. Looking at what you want and what you are willing to sacrifice. It is the expectation placed upon us that is slowly killing our spirit.
It took time to discover that it was ok to have a different perspective to most people. To understand that it was ok to be a mother but not be naturally maternal. To be a mother but not instantly want to make my children the centre of my world. To love my children more than I ever believed possible but still be happy to not spend every waking moment with them. To be a mother but also still the person you were before.
To the working mums out there, feeling torn in two I salute you.
To the stay at home mummas rocking motherhood, I salute you.
To the mothers not having many good days with the littlies, they will get older and leave home someday, I salute you.
To the mums waddling though with their eyes half-shut, I salute you!
There’s no need to be superwoman – that role is old! Be yourself, be happy.
Thank you Pam for sharing your story with us today! You’re so right in that we need accept it is OK for us to be happy, and to admit that it sometimes means it is when the children aren’t centre of attention and we are doing something for ourselves!
If you have enjoyed reading Pam’s story then pop over and show her some support on her social network;