From SAHM to Working Mum

I’ve always defended stay at home mums. I have been one for a long time and although I have been working for the last year, I was working from home and choosing my own hours so really, I didn’t feel like a working mum. I was still at every community time at school, at every school event and regularly had coffee with other fellow “school mums”. But all that is about to change. After 5 years I am going back to a 9am – 5:30pm job. I didn’t realise it was possible to feel so excited yet so anxious at the same time. To feel like everything was coming together and falling apart at the same time.

I haven’t even started working yet but the guilt is slowly creeping in. Am I doing the right thing? Will S be okay without me? Does he still need me? How will he feel if I’m not there to watch him perform (read: stand on stage and pick his nose) at community time? How will he feel when he comes rushing out of the school doors and not have me there to pick him up? S has had my undivided attention for 4 and half years and all that is about to change. And my biggest worry is how he’s going to cope and feel. Although judging by the way he was acting today I think I should be more worried about how I’m going to cope because he’ll probably be just fine.

Many people have said to me that he’ll be fine and that it’s a good thing. That by working I am showing him good work ethic, etc. So yes while I’ll be doing it for him, I’m really doing it for me. Because I need it, because I want it. I absolutely love being a mum but I miss being Natasha too. And let’s be honest, when you’re a single parent and the centre of your child’s world, it’s very easy to forget who you are. To put your desires, dreams and goals on the back burner.

September is my birthday month, the start of the school year and a time for new beginnings. I’m about to start a new role I know I’ll enjoy which will also mean compromising on another role I’ve loved for the last few years. I guess my biggest fear is my own judgement. We’re so conditioned to believe our kids need us and that only we can do the best job raising them. One of my challenges is going to be getting past that mindset knowing he’ll be everything he’s meant to be whether I stay at home with him or go out to work.

As a mum I think I’ll always have the question looming over my head: Am I doing the right thing?

Wish me luck!

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My take on routines

One of the questions I get asked a lot is about my sons routine. Back in the day our parents didn’t really have routines, baby woke when they wanted, slept when they wanted and they were all fine. But things have changed. This is the 21st century, women are working, babies have all sorts of classes from as young as 6 months, we don’t live in extended families as much anymore where someone can always watch our baby. So I think routines are pretty important.

When I say routine let me clarify I’m not a Gina Ford fan. That’s the second question I’d often get. “Does your baby follow Gina Ford?” The answer is no. He put himself into his own routine which I tweaked here and there. It’s similar to Gina Ford, give or take an hour but I couldn’t put him down, not look at him, let him cry to sleep (as she suggests). I’m sure anyone who knows me knows my take on CIO.

So why do I think a routine is so important?

Well your child is a lot less cranky when he/she is getting enough sleep. I truly believe babies thrive on routine. They know what is coming and what to expect. It’s good for moms as well because they get a chance to relax, a time out when their babies are napping. I also think it eventually helps a child to sleep through the night without having to let them CIO.

My son has always been in a routine and it’s made life easier for me and happier for him. He’s 17 months old and today at 11:15 he pointed to his milk bottle and then went and stood at the stairgate beckoning my helper to take him up for a nap. He never ceases to amaze me. Watching him learn and understand new things on a daily basis is the greatest feeling.

Routines take time to become established but in my opinion, once they are, you’ll be happy you have one. It’s difficult to sometimes read a babies cues. Are they crying because they’re hungry or tired? When in a routine you can rule these out and often understand the cause of their discomfort quicker.

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Is your child in a routine? Did you use any methods to get them sleeping through the night?