I never wanted to be a full time working mam. I never wanted to be a full time stay at home mam either. I know my limits! I wanted what I thought was a reasonable compromise, for both me and my kids, and for the four of us as a family – half time. We tried to make it work, we really did. But financially, we were on our knees and sinking fast. Last year was horrendous, we found ourselves in serious trouble, and in the end we had to admit that it wasn’t working, so I went back full time last September.
So how has that been? Well let’s see. I went back full time in September. By Christmas I was seriously depressed, by late January dangerously so. There followed four months of sick leave, a long and arduous (and on-going) road to recovery, and in June I went back to work, full time again. But honestly? I hate it. I absolutely hate it. It’s not that I mind working, I don’t. I like coffee breaks and going to the toilet on my own and the chance to at least semi-engage brain.But there are just not enough hours in the day, and it’s the kids who are coming off the worst for it. Don’t get me wrong, we have absolutely wonderful childcare, and I’m so grateful that at least I don’t have to worry about that. But then the weekend comes, the time when we’re supposed to be able to slow down, unwind, enjoy each other. Ha! Not a chance. If anything our weekends are more frantic than our weekdays. I don’t have high standards around the house, I really don’t. I learned a long time ago to drop those. But certain things have to happen – shopping (a circuitous almost 3 hour trek by the time I’ve negotiated multiple shops to try and save money), bed changing, clothes washing, an endless quantity of dog hair to be removed from the floor, food to be got ready for the week ahead…………and that’s just the things we HAVE to do, never mind the things we want to do. I want to spend time with my kids, time doing things they want to do, rather than dragging them through the various things we have to do. I want to see my friends. I want to spend time with Hubby. And my god do I need some time alone!! But it just can’t all fit in. Today was crazy, and it was nothing out of the ordinary. The kids were all over the place by bedtime, D was very emotional, and demanded that I spend time just with him tomorrow.
I feel guilty, to the very core of my being. We’re doing the best that we can, and circumstances won’t allow me to change work hours, not for the foreseeable future. But it just doesn’t feel like a good enough excuse. I worry how long I can keep this pace up. There’s no down time, for any of us. My kids are exhausted. I thought I could even go to a four day week, leave the kids in creche on Friday and use that day to get all the chores dealt with, so the weekend would be clear for family time. But no, even that seems to be too much to ask. I just feel like no matter what way I turn, another obstacle is being thrown in my way.
I realise I should be grateful. We have two jobs, we’re able to pay the mortgage and most of the bills, most of the time. But I’m so tired of struggling. I’m so tired of waiting for things to get easier. I can’t make them any easier, god knows I’ve tried. Writing this, I feel sick. I’m hoping against hope that this is a bit of a backlash following on from yesterday’s meds blip, but I’m not convinced. I think it’s that the reality of what’s ahead of us, and how difficult it’s going to be to maintain, especially for me, is starting to hit home. I’ve had a really lovely work placement for the summer. It’s been quiet, undemanding, I’ve had plenty of time to write, and because the schools have been off, getting to and from work has been easier. But now I’m about to change jobs again, September and traffic chaos are just around the corner, and believe it or not the days are rapidly shortening (I get up pretty early and I can really see it in the mornings). Neither Hubby nor I cope particularly well with winter.
So apart from guilty what do I feel? I feel scared, at least right now I do. I know we’ll get through it, because I know we have to. I just wish to a god I don’t believe in that things could be a little easier. Just a little. Just a bit more time with my kids, it’s all I want.