I’ve waded into the age-old battle of “stay-at-home mum vs working mum” far too many times, and yet here I am again, weighing into the debate. My position is usually a very neutral one, pointing out that both can be difficult and both can be immensely rewarding in equal measures.
This time, however, it’s slightly different. I know that staying at home with your little one is taxing and trying and pushes you to the edge sometimes – but stay-at-home mums, I don’t half envy you.
I love my job, don’t get me wrong. I love the adult conversations; I love feeling like I’m being productive and contributing; I love that our worries about money have eased considerably since I started working. My colleagues are great, my job is fantastic, I’m very happy there.
But god, I miss my little girl.
She’s growing up so quickly, and I envy that Daf gets to see her learning and developing far more than I do. Her little songs and games; her quirky phrases that sound like they come from a mouth much older than hers – he gets to hear them first. I envy that.
I don’t doubt that he envies me too – I socialise, I eat my lunch in peace, I can go to the toilet without someone launching a full-on, Greenpeace-style protest about it – but I’d trade it all for a chance to spend more time with SB.
On the bright side, since I started working full-time, I’ve noticed that I’m making the most of every moment. The laptop stays away until SB has gone to bed; instead we play and read and sing and chat. Weekends are extra special – I work some Saturdays, but Sundays are “our day”, and the Saturdays I do have off are a bonus treat.
Take last week for example – we went to the seaside for the day! I was exhausted the next morning getting up for work, but it was so worth it to get to spend some quality time with my daughter – and, thanks to work, I think I appreciated it all the more.