I’m in a real funk.
And I know exactly why. I’m trapped.
Trapped as a full-time working mother.
This post is not for the faint hearted – you are about to read an astonishingly elaborate self-indulgent whine about the fast-approaching end of my maternity leave.
Yes, it’s true -- I have to go back to work soon. In fact, technically I already have gone back to work and I’m currently on holiday. And let me tell you, I’m rrrrrrrrreally bitter about it. Before you know it, these final precious days will be over and I’ll have to hand my beautiful Jude over to someone else for nine hours during the day. NINE HOURS.
He’s only awake for 12 hours... so I’ll hardly see him. And I’m so, so sad.
Not to mention the fact that Ben - who has been used to his school day lasting from when I walk him to school at 9am until I collect him at 3pm – will now have an extra 3 hours tagged onto his day (an hour for the school’s breakfast club and 2 hours after school) to facilitate my going back to work. Poor kid. I’m trying not to think about what kind of disruption THAT is going to bring to his little world.
I wish I could afford to stay at home and be a Mammy. But it’s just totally out of the question. Oh sure, women with children have the legal right to request flexible working arrangements, but any reduction in my working hours would hit us badly, financially speaking. We both need to bring in full time money to make things work.
Do you know, this year it will cost just slightly less for me to pay for my baby in nursery for one year as it does to obtain a full undergraduate 3year degree at Oxford university? Know how I know this? I TOTALLY CHECKED. Happy thought, eh?
After careful consideration, and without further ado, here are my options:
3. Finish writing, secure a literary agent, agree publishing contract and receive sizeable paycheque for my first novel... in the next month or so.
4. Happen upon the as-yet-undiscovered branch of my family tree wherein I am the sole and direct descendant of someone with untold fortunes who is about to peg it... in the next month or so.
5. Begin clandestine (and really steamy!) extramarital affair with Premiership footballer or rock star** or similar and be a ‘kept’ mistress... in the next month or so.
6. Fnd enough money to finish university degree and get a job in education somewhere, so I don’t have to scramble around like a mad thing arranging childcare during half term and other holidays... in the next month or so.
7. Suck it up, stop whining and go back to work. No points for guessing when that might commence.
But what really stings is that I’m faced without any element of choice in the matter. Isn’t it cruel how times have changed? Women in, say, my Grandma’s generation got married, had kids, stayed at home to raise them and rarely had jobs outside of the home. My mum’s generation was more of the same... but they could choose to work, or choose to not work. No biggie.
And now the tables have completely turned – while mothers and women in general are enjoying a better balance of equality in the workplace, many of them in my acquaintance these days find that they don’t have a choice – they MUST work, in order to keep their families. This is my hellish Catch 22: I chose to have babies, but I’m forced to pay someone else to raise them.