Mrs Under Says………..Returning to Work

19 May

I carried my child around with me for nine beautiful months, feeding him, keeping him warm and safe. I then give birth to this little miracle of mine and experience all of the incredible emotions and pain that goes with that. I spend the next year giving all of me to him because that’s just what comes naturally. Something that didn’t come so naturally was returning to work full time.

My employers were supporting our Visa application, they held the power and they knew it and they insisted that I return to work on a full time basis. Compounding my anger, bitterness, resentment and lots of other unhealthy emotions was a side serve of panic. We have no family in Australia that can assist, we have no place in childcare, what we do have though is a Dad who shows potential.
Rationality goes out of the window a little bit where the welfare of your child is concerned – is he up to it, will he be able to hack it, will he drop him are all questions that went through my head. I wrote lists and lists and lists of what to do and what not to do. That first day back at work was the longest of my working life and I phoned Matt so many times that in the end he switched his phone off. Remarkably I got home that night and father and son looked okay, maybe even happy, the house not so much.

There were definite perks to going back to work and in truth work felt like a little break in those early days. The more time goes by though, the harder it is to walk out the door each morning and say goodbye to my two boys. Matt tells me about all the little adventures they get up to, the latest developments and the challenges that have peppered their day and as much as I want to hear all of these things it’s incredibly difficult to feel like I’m parenting vicariously through Matt.
Ultimately though things are the way they are because it works for us. It helps that we both have an appreciation of what each other does, I can tell when he’s had a bad day with Max and I appreciate the need to vent, swear a little and drink some wine. Likewise he knows what it’s like to go to work and miss out on the bits and pieces that are parenting.

Matt has stepped up to the plate and surprises me on a daily basis with his commitment to raising a happy, healthy and loved boy and his lack of commitment to housework. He has found a way to make an income from home which is an unexpected bonus. Don’t get me wrong, I am still waiting to be showered with gifts and holidays, a girl’s got to dream, but he is doing something constructive with the scraps of time he can spare.

Hopefully one day I will get to be 24/7 Mum again, I miss being that woman. I miss sharing the experience with other Mums, I miss being the first person he calls out to when he needs someone, I miss seeing him change in front of my eyes and ultimately I miss ‘just’ being Mum.


21 Responses to “Mrs Under Says………..Returning to Work”

  1. Kassey May 19, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    I’m shocked.
    Despite the fact that you have a shared parenting understanding, & that Mr Under has the SAHD thing worked out (although step it up on the house work son) I’m stuck on your being forced back full time and the powerlessness of your situation. Made my heart ache a bit for you Mrs Under because that sounds like it was rough.

    • daddownunder May 20, 2013 at 3:26 am #

      Thanks Kassey, its one of the sacrifices of living overseas I suppose. Unfortunately we are in a slightly different circumstance to others and I couldn’t afford to tell them to sod off. I need to get Matt signed up to no. 2 and then I’ll get another chance to be Mum

  2. Wendy May 19, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    I am sorry to hear that your hand was forced with regards to returning to work 😦 I consider it a privelege to be a SAHM and know hubby misses our little one every day 😉 Hopefully your hubby’s blogging takes off and and you can return to being a SAHM 😉

    • daddownunder May 20, 2013 at 3:28 am #

      I’m sure one day I’ll get to stay at home again Wendy, it would be lovely to share the load and have a nice balance. When no. 2 comes along hopefully things will be different

  3. Jo @Countrylifeexperiment May 19, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I too went back to work after each of our 3 kids, whilst my husband stayed home. In an ideal world, I would have loved to stay home with them, but it just wasn’t practical for our situation. 8 years on, I know we have made the right choice, but it doesn’t stop me feeling like I am missing out on the kids growing up at times. Having said that, I am so proud of my husband and what he does each day for our kids.

    • daddownunder May 20, 2013 at 3:31 am #

      Sounds like a very similar situation Jo, we all do what we have to for our families. When I have those doubts and feel like I’m not doing what I should be doing, Matt is the first to spell out the importance of my role which helps me enormously

  4. Lil May 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story. Ever since I stumbled across this blog I have wondered about this very topic. I’ve got two boys 3.5 and 1.5 and I’m the FT worker and my husband the SAHD (while still working PT on weekends). We tried PT working but I’ve always been the main income earner and we were struggling. It wasn’t forced upon me as yours was but it was forced in that it was the “right thing for the family” and so I had to put on my big girl pants and get a full time job. I hated that decision, hated my husband for not making it, blah blah. And it really sucked for a while. But I have to admit – he’s the natural at it while I struggled. And I love my job 🙂 And so, circumstances have made it that we’re working to our strengths. But your last paragraph still got to me, because despite everything I still want that too!! Oh for a lotto win!! 🙂

    • daddownunder May 20, 2013 at 3:33 am #

      Aaah yes the lotto, we’re secretly hoping for that too, although we dont actually buy a ticket ; ) Its very much the same situation Lil and as long as you’re all playing the role that is ‘best’ for the family thats all you can do. Thanks for commenting.

  5. mummymanifestodotcom May 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    I take my hat off to both of you, I am not sure I could coped with the role reversal like your family needed to do. I am lucky enough to have the choice to stay home with my 3 boys, but understand how hard it would be to make that decision to go back to work fulltime. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • daddownunder May 20, 2013 at 3:36 am #

      I didn’t think I would cope either to be honest, I flat out did not want to go back. Everything happens for a reason and I’m quietly confident that one day I’ll get to stay at home with our little ones.

  6. Andrea (@FoxInFlats) May 20, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    “Compounding my anger, bitterness, resentment and lots of other unhealthy emotions was a side serve of panic.” I’m hearing you, I went through all of that when I went back to work full time after having my first son. I really get that. Big hugs to you, Andrea

    • daddownunder May 20, 2013 at 3:38 am #

      Thanks Andrea, its instinctive I think, its so ingrained that this is what we ‘should’ be doing. It’ll happen again one day I’m sure of it.

  7. coloursofsunset May 20, 2013 at 2:31 am #

    I have a bit of a tear in my eye. I know how hard it is for me to have been working part time since our son was 18 months old, and I hate not being there for him full time. I think a lot of mums can feel your pain also. Thank you for sharing with us. I hope it helps some people see that not all mums who work full time do so b/c they don’t want to be with their kids! It is heart breaking that your employer was so callous also! x Aroha

    • daddownunder May 20, 2013 at 3:41 am #

      I think in most instances the family dynamics and what works in that family is the thing that determines what Mums do. I dont think people think sod this its too hard I’m going back to work. Hopefully one day i’ll get a second chance

  8. Emily May 20, 2013 at 5:17 am #

    This is so lovely. Thanks for sharing the Mrs Under story. I’m sorry that you’re ‘forced’ back to work – it’s a shame that you couldn’t sit down and make this decision without that hanging over you. But well done on making the decision at all. I have a few friends who are embracing the stay-at-home dad life, but the support out there for those who stay at home is so geared towards mums and women that they feel quite isolated.

    • daddownunder May 20, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      Matt felt the same way Em, he has got used to female company now and is pretty much at home with a group of Mums. He is starting to sound worryingly like me now : ) thanks for saying hi

  9. rickfarrar May 20, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    Dear Mrs Under (Ana),
    Parenting is tough and all parents face having to make tough decisions. My heart felt a bit heavier when reading your comments and I hope that you will soon have the opportunity to share more evenly the parenting role with Matt. I work with children who have serious behavioural problems and most of them have both parents having to work just to make ends meet. Neither parent is able to spend the time with them or devote the energy needed to help them to develop a balanced approach to life and other people. Your toddler is very fortunate. Given what we know from the research that has been done over the past 50 years, your situation is not ideal but it is a heck of a lot better than many and, as long as you and Matt continue to feed each other in the way that you do, both of you will gain much from, and contribute much to, the development of a loved,cherished and well balanced youngster. I wish you all a huge amount of love, happiness, tranquillity and joy.

  10. onemumsadventure May 20, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I really hope you get to experience being that full time mother again as you desire Anna.But what you guys do now is working mainly because your both so dedicated and focused on making it work,and doing a better then okay job of it.
    I think it is wonderful that Matt has this space filled to the brim with memories for you to sit down and read about,parts of the life Max lives that your not there for right here for you.
    Jess x

    • daddownunder May 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

      Awww thanks Jess, thats nice to hear. And your absolutely right I am now starting to see Matt’s blog as something that I can read on my lunch hour and feel a bit more connected and closer to the action. One day.

  11. Blakey May 21, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    You made me cry. Lotsa love x

    • daddownunder May 25, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Love to you too hun, sorry about the tears x

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