I am Halina, I am 30 years old, I am a mother of one, and for the entire life of my 3 1/2 year old boy I have been a working mother. But! In *checks watch* just two short days the latter half of that sentence will be re-written.
In two short days, the summary of the main points of my identity will read: I am Halina, I am 30 years old, and I am a stay-at-home mother of one.
Why? The decision shocked me, in all honesty. I have worked all of my life. Since turning 16 I have worked pretty much constantly (bar a couple of years at uni), and thought that I would do so until retirement. When I had my son, I only briefly considered giving up work, and then rejected that idea when it became apparent that 1) I couldn’t afford to 2) I would probably have gone absolutely insane had I done. I’ve written before about the joys of being a working mother, I’ve held all the opinions about the benefits of being a working mother for your children. I never thought that a day would come when I would look around me and think: “Yeah…it’s time to give this up”.
And yet, that day has come. It’s been coming for a while. In a way, it makes me desperately angry that I have had to choose, but the myth of “having it all” has been spoken about far more eloquently than I ever could, and that’s not what this is about. This is about this boy and our home.
When I am at home, and with him, I feel like Myself in a way that has been decreasing with alarming speed at work. When I spend time with him, hold his hand, race him to the swings, bribe him to help me tidy up – whatever we do, I feel like Me. Even when he infuriates me beyond belief, I see parts of Me looking out at me through the stubbornness and cheek.
At home with him, there are no complicated bitchy adult politics. There are no demanding clients, no difficult lazy employees. No feelings of constantly having to do things like refuse to serve the lunch or tidy up the boardroom after meetings for fear of opening myself up to insidious gender discrimination. And if I’m poorly, it sucks, and it’s hard, but he understands, and I’m not constantly checking my emails with one paranoid eye whilst trying to persuade myself to sleep.
Yes, at home with him there is a sometimes-demanding, sometimes-difficult, sometimes-lazy (when it comes to tidying) child, but he is a child who thinks the world of me unconditionally and vice versa. There’s no pretence and no politics and no stress.
I’m looking forward to this new chapter with an intensity that I can barely put into words. I’m aching for it. For mornings of walking him the (literal) 200m to school, then either going for a run or having a lazy breakfast or doing some blogging or crochet, followed by picking him up, lunch, and then afternoon fun. I’m prepared to have days where all I want is some alone time. I’m prepared to have days where all I want is for him to be in childcare. I’m prepared to have days where I probably long to return to work. But, and this is the main thrust behind this decision, all of those will be cancelled out by the sheer fact that I will be sharing this time with him. I’m not going to be missing his earliest years any more. I’m not going to be too tired and stressed to enjoy his company. Instead, I’m going to be soaking it up.
I can’t wait. Here’s to a new chapter!