I feel like I’m a part time mum. A phony at all this ‘mum’ stuff.
The truth is, I see my daughter for a grand total of an hour and a half on a nursery day.
That’s half an hour before she leaves with daddy and an hour at night if I’m the one that picks her up.
For four days a week, we live like passing ships. Dealing with a hangry morning rush and a super-tired-no-nap witching hour.
That isn’t having it all. That isn’t even parenting. It’s more like shepherding a drunk person.
Guilty nursery days
On nursery days, I don’t give her any food as she has all her meals there. I don’t know her every move. I don’t watch her play and my heart doesn’t grow three sizes like it does on our days off together. I learnt the reality of nursery a while ago.
To be honest? Some days, I’m so grateful for having that time but my god the price is high.
I’m selfish and self-indulgent… and feel completely and utterly guilty for wanting a bit of me time. For wanting to be back at work.
To drink warm tea, to use my brain and to only have to think about myself for the day. To not have to sing wind the bobbin up or to ask her if she needs a poo.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. But it’s just that – a job. In years to come, I know that I won’t be remembered for what I did at work. I’m flippin’ good at what I do, but I’m hardly saving lives. The worries of today won’t matter. But what will still matter is her.
No happy medium
I’ve kidded myself in the past that working four days is a happy medium for me. That I’ve got it all. But really? It’s my necessity. I have to work. Not just financially, but mentally too.
I don’t feel part time at work with 4 days, but I do feel like I’m stuck as a part timer at life.
There is no winning.
I need to work. To talk to adults, to get the gratification of earning my own money. To be able to spend it on nice things for us.
I’m utterly selfish like that.
But I also need to feel like I’m not a phony at this mum-malarkey.
That I spend enough time with her and I’m not fobbing her off at nursery for my own self-indulgent needs.
Time to play
When we’re off work, we’re always busy doing things. Getting the house tidy, going shopping and feeling the need to do ‘something. A weekend flies by without a lot of playing.
That, more than anything else upsets me.
We don’t buy her a lot of toys or games because to be honest, she’s not home enough to play with them.
Sure – some of that time is being outside, going to the park, exploring and having fun together.
But mostly? It’s because she’s at nursery, or we’re too busy.
Saying that I’m too busy to play breaks my heart.
Honestly, she doesn’t care much – she loves playing in her kitchen and with her baby doll, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s not enough.
That I’m not enough. That I’m only a part time mum and I’m not even improving our lives much in the process.
Would that always be the way if I didn’t work at all? Or if I found a job that gave us a much better quality of life, could I be that self-indulgent to go for it? To give up my parenting time and work full time?
I don’t know.