Working mum of three

Figuring it out as we go along. Blogging is cheaper than therapy.

A new chapter

on January 25, 2013

Leaving New York was a whirlwind. We had arrived nearly 7 years before, a young couple, giddy with the delights of the city laid out in front of us. Almost unrecognisable from the weary, red-eyed, snot stained parents that we are today. Recently I tried to convince a disbelieving colleague that I was cool once. And I know we were as we strutted around the Upper East Side.

But the time felt right to leave. We had done well by New York. Aside from the experiences, the lifestyle, and the general cool, we made lifelong friends there (not mentioning work folks who continue to provide friendship, support, encouragement and tissues as appropriate). I bonded over rape counselling with a friend who would go on to be non-god mom and nanny to our kids. I met a new mom on the bus to work and we laughed and cried about working and parenting. My dad (who provided invaluable childcare and support) introduced us to some of the kindest and loving Americans, who taught us that even entrepreneurs can cry. And aside from the yanks, we met brilliant Brits; hilarious, supportive, loving Brits. We all struggled and marvelled through our first babies, then our second. We’ve learned so much from all these parents. Geez, these bonds will stay with me forever. There is nothing like learning to be a parent.

Then a work opportunity came up which would allow me to develop my career and move back to my home town in Wales. And so the family / work pendulum swings.

Over the years, I’ve found it hard to balance the two. I often feel that one takes precedence over the other. My career has suffered because of having kids. I’ve been lucky enough to have challenging jobs which are full of opportunities, but my pay is terrible. Without the pressures of 24 hour domestic responsibilities, I think I would have been able to get further up the ladder by now. After our first child, despite passing my promotion test, I took a job at the junior level so I could be confident of doing both work and home well. They say a woman won’t go for a job until she knows she can do nine out of ten ‘desired skills’ while a man will apply if he can do one of them. This is certainly true for me.

Have the kids suffered? They go to daycare instead of having their parent all day. But the teachers are much more imaginative, creative and patient than I would be. So despite 2yo clinging to my coat, begging ‘I want you not go back to work pease’ I hope those boys learn that their mum’s career (read: sanity) is as important as their dad’s. I’m simplifying of course. The truth is I’ve missed bedtimes, bumps and bruises and first milestones that I’ll never get back. But the torment of that is for me rather than the boys.

It’s been a gruelling couple of months on all fronts. In the last five months, we have moved to Wales from New York, both started busy new jobs, settled the kids into new daycare. Oh, and discovered that we are expecting baby three. I feel as though we are beginning a new chapter. But is the chaos is settling, or are we just getting used to it?

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