The Fear Factor

4 Dec

I am beginning to understand what it is that makes parents want to have another child. I mean we can all fall into the trap of having one, our imaginations having cruelly led us to believe that our days would be full of cupcake baking, leisurely siestas and lashings and lashings of hugs and kisses from the little mite.  But once the reality has kicked in and the rose tinted glasses have been given a little wipe with a good hard dose of sleep deprived reality, why do we keep going back for more?

Some parents I’m sure will try to have you believe that it’s to do with the incredible experience of giving life and shaping that life, witnessing this little person grow before your eyes and providing unconditional love and support along the way. Whatever! Some will try and suggest that perhaps giving your first child a brother or sister is the best gift of all, better even than a balance bike. Okay Pinnochio so why is your nose the size of a French Baguette right now? Others might try feebly to argue that giving birth is what we’re all here for, what we’re made for and that there is some sort of primal urge to reproduce. Then why are your pants on fire you big fat liar?IMG_2630

Do you want to know the real reason? It’s the fear of going back to work, paid work that is. Can you remember what it was like? Getting up every day and trudging in like a prisoner on death row. Only you couldn’t openly express your reluctance to be there for fear of being subjected to another team building day or a not so rousing speech from someone up above, not God but your boss. After getting down to the important business of making a cup of tea, racking your brains for something that some people might construe as mildly amusing for your Status Update, asked what your long suffering colleagues had for dinner the night before, you look at your watch and shudder at the thought of another seven and a half hours of “work”. 

The thought of having to go back to work fills me with fear. Would I still be as skilled at looking deeply engaged in meetings whilst privately pondering what superpower I would have if such things existed, I know it’s clichéd but I would probably plump for flying. Could I still muster up enough good will to force a smile as the man whose armpit I am getting acquainted with on the tram treads on my toe for the fifth time? Would my ability to cover notepads from cover to cover in highly intricate scribbles still be up to the same high standards they were, I personally doubt it. Would I still be able to disguise my numerous trips for refuge at the coffee shop as an extended toilet visit despite the fact that I smell like I’m wearing L’eau de Latte Pour Homme.IMG_2631

You see you get into the workforce a young, eager to please whipper snapper, hungry to prove yourself in the dog eat dog world of business (or in my case dressing up as Sammy the Seal for kids parties at an aquarium). And then at the end of your first day you realise that you still have 49 years 364 days to go until you can put your wrinkly feet up and the panic sets in. Did someone say Stay at Home Parenting? Where do I sign? No pay? That’s fine. One child? You must be joking, I want the incredible experience of giving life and shaping that life, witnessing this little person grow before my eyes and providing unconditional love and support along the way multiple times. Not to mention giving The Boy a brother or sister surely it’s the best gift of all? I also seem to come with an ingrained primal urge to reproduce, I can’t really help myself.IMG_2633


16 Responses to “The Fear Factor”

  1. coloursofsunset December 4, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    I’d be lying if I said the idea of having another one just so I could get out of work hasn’t crossed my mind. It has. We’ve tried. The second child eludes us. I’m destined to work forever. But I do remember going back to work about 16 months after my son was born. It was terrifying, but ended up being great. Plus, the longer you’re out of the work force the harder to go back, I reckon! Plus, I’ve seen friends with 2 and 3 kids and honestly, the idea of work instead of 2 kids doesn’t always seem so bad!

    • Angela December 4, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Totally hit me with this one. I relate. Completely and totally. Especially the bit about, just one child – Bring that on. I’m now looking into running a business from home next year. I’m kind of thankful that I wasn’t given a choice, that there is simply no work for me at the moment here, in the middle of nowhere. Secretly, I’m relishing the fact that I get to spend time with the little guy, try something new and not have to ‘pretend’ when I’m having a crap day. The little voice in the back of my head saying “You studied for 4 years and you taught for five. What a waste” should really just go and drown already.

  2. Loz December 4, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    A little, from column a.. A little from column b! I do believe however, I am contributing to society more as a sahm.. Than I ever was selling polyester dresses to women that always tried to haggle you on price. Some days however, I would take a busy boxing ay shift.. Over the toddler wrangling!!!
    Great post,

  3. itsacircusinhere December 4, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    See I can’t say I ever trudged into work.I love my job as a trainee hairdresser!Then Nick and I got pregnant and he said I may as well get use to being a full time mum right away.I have not worked a day in 9 years!!!WOWZA!I will be back in the work force happily in 2 years when Oliver begins prep and all 4 kids are schooling full time.I can not wait!!
    I never really thought about why we went on and had 3 more kids?We just wanted to love more kids and once we figured we were sharing around just the right amount we were done.I am thought only going to be 26 when I return to possibly makes getting my feet in the door in my chosen career a little easier.

  4. Kelly HTandT December 4, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I’m a mum of 3 Matt, and I’ll tell you the REAL reason we keep on going – NARCISSISM. Yep, that’s right, narcissism. I want to have a bus load of children purely for the fact that the love THEY have for ME makes me feel good about myself. That unconditional love, the fact that they’re only here because of me, that makes me feel like quite the superwoman. So I’ll keep making babies as long as they think their mum is the bees knees. And this is coming from a woman who goes back to work TOMORROW!

  5. Julie December 4, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    Jarvis turned one today and I don’t ever want to leave him. This is not just because I have no desire to return to work. Well who ever really wants to work in retail? But I don’t want to work out of fear that I will miss out on something. Oh and if my body would have let me I would have had a dozen babies. Put it down to insanity/

  6. Alicia - One Mother Hen December 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    I went back to work when my second was 6 months old, because I wanted too. I was getting bored and felt like it. I went again and had another one, because there was a yearning urge to, like she was calling me for it. I can’t explain it. I won’t be going back to work again until number 2 is at school at least. I enjoy the social interaction and stimulation that work brings, I can’t even think about it now, but look forward to, and know I can do it…..later.

  7. mumabulous December 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    I worked in stockbroking back in the Jurassic Age before the GFC. Many people tell me that working is easier than being with kids – not in my case. My three year old’s tantrums are far easier to manage and less threatening than the dealers’. Sure sometimes I get bored at home but plugging figures from financial statements into spreadsheets also lacked the “wow” factor. Thanks Matt for a refreshingly honest post.

  8. daddownunder December 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Thanks for your comments. Like most of my posts there was an element of tongue in cheek to this one, but I have heard a lot of people talk about a fear about going back to work, either because they will miss out on good times or they simply question whether they can still live their old life after having a few years of something so different.

  9. 10 % Inspired December 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    I honestly think my husbad would happily just have kids forever – he’d rather stay home with them and let me work (which I wouldn’t mind either actually). Unfortunately he lacks the mamories so here I am, at home, all day, with two little girls (one who needs me for food) while hubby works. I imagine this with reverse itself eventually when Ariana can eat something other than me.

    • daddownunder December 5, 2012 at 1:09 am #

      At first I thought you had made a typo for memories and then I engaged my brain ; ) Thnaks for the comment

  10. Ang December 5, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    You made me laugh. I do have a slight fear of going back to work. Though, I do believe that it would be a hundred times easier and less tiring than my days at home with twins are. But as tiring and hard as my days sometimes are, honsestly I don’t want to leave them. They are 21 months now and I will more than likely need to go back to work next year, due to finances. Not sure how I will go back in the working world. We will see. Number 3 child (but second pregnancy), is a little way off for us. As much as we would love another close in age to thre twins, we want to be in our own home instead of a two bedroom unit before we add another little human to the household.

    • daddownunder December 5, 2012 at 1:11 am #

      Glad i made someone laugh, thats usually my aim : )

  11. Vic @ The Melbourne Dad December 5, 2012 at 4:09 am #

    Very amusing post, it’s an interesting perspective you’ve posed… though in our circumstances I was ready to go back into the fray after taking six weeks off, and my wife’s employment contract concluded shortly before giving birth to Bub, so she doesn’t have a role to return back to anyway.

    The two most common questions I get asked are: (1) “when is your wife going back to work?” And… since she has no plans to go back into the workforce any time soon, (2) “when are you having your second child?”

    Raising one has been hard enough (now we’ve sorted out her sleep, she’s learnt how to throw tantrums… great!), we are both baulking at the prospect of having any more. From those two questions I always get asked, I wonder if there’s a social expectation for the stay at home parent to re-enter the workforce if they just have only one child (and thus affirming your theory that a stay at home parent wants more kids to avoid/delay returning to work)?

  12. EssentiallyJess December 5, 2012 at 4:11 am #

    I’ve heard of quite a few people who have tried for the next one to stop going back to work. I get it. I have no desire to do anything but blog now!
    Can I ask a teensy favour? Next time you link, can you chuck in a text link or whatever to say its for IBOT? It just helps share the love 🙂

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