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.