So, according to my calendar in my awesome Blogger’s Bible, it’s Working Parents Day today. A bit of a weird one right? I’m not going to get into why there isn’t a non-working parents day or whatever. However I did think the day was a good chance to discuss why I hated being a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) and chose to be a Working Parent.
If you’ve followed me for a while, chances are that you’ll know I was a teacher from 2006 to 2018. I resigned from my drama teacher post in August 2018. The reasons behind this change are lengthy but if you’re interested, you can find it here. When I first began teaching I loved it, I never imagined I wouldn’t do it and my future involved juggling Mum Life and Work. I thought I’d be teaching until retirement.
Becoming A Mum Changed Me
Like most women, the moment I became a Mum I changed. I suddenly had a new priority. My babies. When I had my first born in June 2014, I took 11 months maternity leave and spent the whole time pushing work out of my mind and dreaming about life as a Stay At Home Mum. All I wanted to do was see my son grow, be there for every first and teach him all I could.
Maternity Leave #1 and #2
However, at the time, this wasn’t possible and he was booked into nursery and I returned to work. It wasn’t as bad as I though. I had managed to reduce my hours to four days and when possible redundancy arose, I reduced again to three days. We got into a routine and Lucas adored nursery. We managed. When shows and the school production were in full swing, it was a juggling act between myself, my husband and usually my Mum or older sister. As much as I enjoyed being in lessons and the extra curricular, I still dreamt of the SAHM life.
During my pregnancy with Sienna, I began to suffer with anxiety and work related stress which resulted in me being signed off work for about two months prior to starting my maternity leave. This meant that during my second maternity leave I was even less inclined to return to work. This time to option to leave was viable. The resignation was a huge relief and I began life as a SAHM. A role I’d wanted since Lucas was born.
Fantasy Vs Reality
In my dreamland, not working meant that I would be able to keep on top of the house, spend time with my kids, not have to work in the evening and be able to put more time into Becka’s Bubble. This was all true. However I soon realised that the appeal of being a Stay At Home Mum was in light of my first maternity leave when my NCT buddies were all off work too. Our weeks were filled with play dates, meetings in cafes and wandering the shopping centres. I had a few baby groups that I enjoyed weekly and all this together was fabulous – living the dream!
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case by the end of 2018 when most of my mum friends were also back at work. The kids were too old to be happy wandering shops or sitting in cafes and life was a little more lonely.
Loss of Identity
I had what I wanted but I was unhappy. Unfortunately, I didn’t pin point where the unhappiness was from. I put it on my marriage and assumed that was where the unhappiness lay. It didn’t. Our marriage was the same as it had always been but I had lost myself. I was Mum. Nothing wrong with that, I love being a Mum. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough for me. I needed to be Becka too. I was clutching onto my blog, putting time and effort into it because it was the only thing I had that was kind of like work. The guilt that came with this feeling was difficult to deal with. I knew of so many people who were jealous I’d be able to give up work. Yet here I was hating it.
In the New Year I set goals, one of which was to get a job. Sienna had been booked into a nursery because I had originally intended to return to work. I pushed back the start date to the new year so I didn’t feel guilt about sending her when i didn’t need to.
I didn’t want a full time job. Just something that gave me a few days away from being Mum. I didn’t know where to start. Going back to teaching wasn’t an option. I knew that chapter was over for me but i didn’t know what the next was! searching for jobs made me frustrated because I didn’t have a clue what key words to search. I was in a muddle. If someone asked me what i wanted to do or what I enjoyed, I would talk about my blog and how I loved writing and the social media aspect of it. I felt stuck.
My Happy Ending
Luckily, something came up. Purely by fluke or fate. Whatever you call in, it was perfect and great timing. In February 2019, six months after I resigned, I became a working parent again. I love it! I feel like I have a great balance between being Becka and being Mum. My new job involves social media, blogging and SEO so it’s like my hobby has become my work. I enjoy being creative and using my brain. I feel very lucky that i have the best of both worlds.
As soon as I began working, my mood changed. I was instantly happier and it confirmed that my sadness had come from being a SAHM. I adore my kids. They are brilliant and I’m so lucky to be a Mum. But I need my space now and then to stay sane. A few days working does that for me and makes me a nicer person and nicer Mum! When i was teaching, I felt like no one got the best of me. Now I feel like everyone does.
If you’re reading this and you’re a stay at home mum, I want to say “Well done!”. Seriously, I have realised it takes a strong person and that role definitely doesn’t suit me. Working parent does, even if it’s part time.
You can find more about my life over on Instagram were I share photos and stories daily.