I am waving the white flag. I surrender to being a stay-at-home mum.
When I lost my full-time job I genuinely thought I would be back to some kind of “proper” work within six months.
I considered it a temporary gap in employment, somewhat naively I didn’t think of myself as “unemployed” because I had been given a nice pay-off and considered this as a type of “gap yah”. I would take time out to contemplate the meaning of life, spend every day enjoying my precious children and come up with some kind of kick arse new career path that would make my fortune.
And yet here we are, nearly one whole year since I took that awful phone call telling me I was to be booted out (the excuse was a tight budget but I suspect my child-producing vagina may have been partially to blame), and I still have no “real job”.
Of course I get a little money through this blog. But I spend just as much on running it between hosting fees, travel to events for which I am not paid, time spent creating content and other costs (I won’t bore you with the full rundown, but trust me when I say, blogs cost money to run).
Every now and then I get a little bit of other paid work but nothing that’s going to pay the bills every month.
So why don’t I just go out there and get myself another job? Well, I would say it’s complicated, but really it comes down to two things: Money and my own personal choice.
The girls go to nursery two mornings a week. That costs us more than £500 every month (the horror of this monthly cost for just a few hours of respite from motherhood leaves me sweaty and a bit nauseous).
If the girls were to attend full-time it would cost us nearly £1,500 a month (even with the 30 hours free childcare the government likes to pat itself on the back for)a. I would need a job that not only pays the same, preferably more than my last job, but also allows me to be at nursery pick-ups and drop-offs.
Not only would I demand a half decent salary, but I would also want to spend actual time with my kids outside of the hours of 9am and 6pm. Trouble is, there’s not many jobs that combine the holy grail of decent money and good working hours. I could blame it on my career of choice – journalism pays crappy money and expects you to be thankful for being at the newsdesk’s beck and call 24/7.
But there are other things I could do with my skillset. The trouble is that we are now so so close to my eldest daughter going to school that I don’t want to waste the next six months in a full-time job where I will be paid just enough to send her into childcare, but not quite enough to cover all the bills.
So I’m not blaming it all on the world of work and how tough it is for parents to get the balance right. Really it’s to do with circumstances. Now that I’ve left the world of full-time work, it feels very difficult going back in to it. New jobs are filled with a lot of uncertainty.
Why am I writing this all here today? Well, I’ve been struggling to really accept it. I’ve been trying to label myself as a working mum still. The truth is, I’m not. I am a stay-at-home mum. There’s not much room for anything else (even within the hours of those two mornings a week).
I realise that some mums would envy this situation I’m in. Having more time with the kids in this day and age is a luxury. I am lucky, I know. But I miss working. I miss bringing in a proper income. I miss feeling like I am a valuable part of something.
So that’s me, a stay-at-home mum for the foreseeable future. Now that I’m fully embracing this role I will be writing much more about being a stay-at-home mum. The highs, the lows, the unbearable boredom, the overwhelming need to speak to another adult.
Now I would like to ask you to let me know what you would like to read about.
Tips on how to keep away the boredom?
Ideas for entertaining toddlers with minimal effort, and mess?
Advice on staying sane when they stop napping?
Get in touch and let me know! If you’re a stay-at-home mum too introduce yourself in the comments, let’s chat and see how we can help each other!