When my second maternity leave finished I was really downhearted at the prospect of missing out on so much time with the children.
I returned to work full-time in January, working Sunday to Thursday from home. It wasn’t an easy decision to go back.
The prohibitively expensive cost of childcare prevents a lot of mums or dads going back to work full-time, instead opting for a two or three day week to make it affordable – and spend time with their kids.
More needs to be done to solve this issue, putting a child into nursery shouldn’t cost more than your mortgage!
But for me I chose to return full-time in order to help us get a mortgage for a bigger property. Plus we knew that my eldest’s 30 hours of funding would kick in soon (it has but the bill is still a bloody pain every month).
I had gotten into a rhythm. Us human beings are creatures of habit, and it’s amazing how quickly a new routine becomes comfortable. Leaving the children became easier, and picking them up at the end of the day was always lovely.
But last month I learned I am being made redundant. It’s been a very emotional month and I’ve really struggled with the stress of it all.
However I’ve now made the difficult decisions, gone through all the classic emotional stages of redundancy (starting at shock, moving on to being pissed off and ending with feeling quite excited at leaving) and informed the nursery the kids’ hours need to be cut back.
I’ll be looking for some freelance work that I can fit in around the children.
Eventually I will withdraw my youngest from nursery altogether – I just need to find a bit of steady work first.
And this is where my feelings become a bit mixed.
Although I’m thrilled at the prospect of spending more time with both of my children, I’m also a little apprehensive at the thought of it.
I love my children to pieces, but I’m also worrying that they will knock another 10 years off my life and add a million more grey hairs to my head. I do not cope with the stress of hearing “mummy!” on loop all day long.
Looking after one child at a time is fine, but bring both of them together and they run rings around me. Perhaps it’s because the competitive nature comes out when they are together and one cannot stand seeing the other getting attention from me.
While I’m working, I get to have hours and hours of grown-up time, where it’s just me and my thoughts. Of course I have to work, but it’s way calmer than dealing with two toddlers on the warpath.
It’s funny how you can miss someone with every fibre of your soul when they are gone, but wish they would just be quiet when you finally get to be with them.
But that’s how I feel about my kids at the moment! This is possibly influenced by the fact that I’ve been juggling a full-time job and the two children for the last five months.
It hasn’t been easy with all of the sickness they’ve had. I’m sure they’ve had more days at home than they have days at nursery at this point.
So I’m switching from being a full-time working parent to being a stay-at-home mum.
That’s going to mean seven days a week of:
Attempting to choose a lunch and tea the kids will actually eat.
Wrestling the youngest into a fresh nappy while arguing with the eldest that she should try for a wee as it’s been six hours since she last went.
Planning fun activities that are either a huge hit – so much so that they don’t want to leave, and cry when we do – or a massive disappointment met with the phrase “I want to go home!!!!”.
Never having a clean house.
Not weeing on my own.
Running errands with “I’m boooored” being repeated on loop from the buggy.
But it also means we get to spend more time together, just me and my children.
And I know that for me, that ultimately has to be a good thing. Even if they are likely to drive me a little bit bonkers.
Does anyone have any tips for handling two toddlers seven days a week? I think I’m going to need all the help I can get!