It’s been a long time since I simply sat down and wrote the words that come from my heart so I’m writing this with tentative fingers and a big cup of Lancashire tea next to me for courage. This is why I started my blog though, to document motherhood in all it’s glory and grim and this post has been playing on mind for a long, long time. I just don’t know that I’ve ever had the courage to say this out loud and yet I’m not sure what’s been holding me back.
You see, I’ve spent the last twelve years of parenting wondering what it is I should do with my life – what I want to be when I grow up. Having my first baby at just 18, I was faced with two options – fight through university and on into a career to prove them all wrong or sit back and focus on raising my son. I chose the first, though truthfully, I felt there was no choice. I was also hideously miserable as a result. Now with hindsight, I think I made the wrong choice in some ways. Similarly, after having my second baby, ten years later, I felt pushed back into the office after 10 glorious months of maternity leave, which I know I was very lucky to have. This time I went back for financial reasons as most of us tend to do. Again – I’ve never really been happy back at work.
The thing is, I’ve always known the answer to what I want to be and do. I do know what my vocation is, what my calling is but I’ve been shy of saying it out loud for fear of the judgement I suppose. You see, contrary to my “working mum” status, I don’t harbour a desire to be an entrepreneur, to run a business or to reach the dizzying heights of the boardroom. Not since I became a mum at least.
I just want to be a mum. Full time. All in. Always there. Just mum. Focused entirely on mumming. And saying that out loud makes my younger self feel like I’ve failed my education, that I’m in some way lazy for not wanting to “work” or that I’m letting the side down. But the older and wiser me, knows that actually motherhood is as hard as it is rewarding, that being lazy isn’t an option and mothers are anything but and most of all that there is beauty, fulfilment and most importantly so much value in getting motherhood right. Or as right as any of us can get it anyway.
Being knee deep in nappies and toddler taming is not an easy way to spend your days. It can feel as thankless as any boardroom meeting but in a very different, not for profit kinda way. Equally though, holding play dates, holding little hands and holding their hearts brings me so much more happiness than any promotion could ever bring and it’s taken me a long, long time to really acknowledge this to myself. The tiredness at the end of the day and middle of the night, for me comes with a sense that my hard work is for something so worthwhile.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that the amount of choice and options for women these days is amazing and I am fully supportive of all women working or otherwise. Choice is an amazing privilege and one which I hope only continues to grow as my daughters generation climbs into adulthood BUT and it’s a big one, I hope that with all this choice, we don’t forget that being someone’s mum is still a brilliant and viable one to make.
I feel remarkably lucky to say that I’ve grown my blog into a place that is going to allow me to achieve my personal dreams and turn motherhood into my career but I just wish it hadn’t taken me twelve years to admit that this was what I wanted because I feel like I’ve missed out on so much.