Today marks the day I am officially unemployed. Having decided that (for the time-being at least) I’m going to be a stay-at-home mum has led some people to question whether I have a job at all. Here is my response.
As someone who has been pretty ambitious and career-focused so far in my life, being classed as “unemployed” may seem like a bitter pill for me to swallow. And yes whilst it does irk me that some people believe I’ve taken the easier route by choosing to be a stay-at-home mum, as anyone who’s been one knows, it is without doubt one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs around.
Prior to having Archie I was a marketer for a financial services company in London. It was a fairly high pressured job and I worked long hours on top of a 3 hour daily commute. I’ve always been someone who’s pushed themselves mentally so I enjoyed the complexity of the industry I worked in. Going from this environment to being a stay-at-home mummy has taken some real adjusting for me.
From the outside in, it probably seems that the hardest part of my day is dealing with a tantrum or changing a dirty nappy. But in fact the lack of mental stimulation and adult conversation combined with time to overthink and over-process information has actually been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. There is no switching off and a constant background worry because ultimately I’m responsible for someone’s life and well-being. And that someone is one of the most important people in my life, who I love more than anything in the world.
Of course a huge perk is that I have the privilege of watching my son grow up and see his little personality develop. I know how lucky I am to do this. But I wouldn’t say that it’s easy. Not that a working parent has it any easier either.
Being a parent means there are sacrifices you have to make. There is no such thing as having it all and I truly believe there is no perfect solution. Like with everything, you just have to do what you feel is best at the time and for your situation.
And right now, this is what feels right for us. But I’m also fully aware that this is likely to change. And there will possibly come a day when we will need to re-balance things. In the meantime, I just hope that I can still be the best mummy I can be by being a stay-at-home one.