hi ho, hi ho…..

I spent the day in the office today. Not yet officially back from maternity leave, I went in to lend a hand to the very busy team and to make use of one the “keeping in touch” days I’m allowed during my maternity leave period.

It was nice….

It was nice to dress up and put on heels (unnecessary, but nice nonetheless).

It was nice to use my brain and once again connect to an industry that I love so much.

It was nice to feel needed by the team and to feel that I still have worth within my workplace.

So why do I feel guilty?

My son was at home spending the day with his Grandma who no doubt spoilt him with endless hugs and kisses. He probably had no idea I wasn’t even there. All he knows at this young age is hunger and love and both of those would have been taken care of in abundance. Yet I cant seem to shake that feeling in my stomach that being there makes me less of a mum.

Is it wrong, that only 7 weeks in, I’m ready for stimulation outside of my motherly bubble?

Society is making me feel like it is. I have found myself explaining my choices to complete strangers. Not only about today’s little workplace stint but also about my plans to return to the workforce part-time in August. “That’s not long off from work” people quip, “gosh, are you sure you’ll be ready?” numerous people ask. The truth of the matter is, financially we don’t have a choice. But even if we did, I’d be going back.

It will be with the needs of my son in the forefront of my mind and of course, things will need to adapt, but with or without the financial burden that forces my hand, I’m ready, even now, to get back into the workforce.

Intentional or not, many people have made me feel guilty. Made me question my decisions and my desire to return to work.

Too soon?

According to many, apparently so.judging copy

According to many, a new mum should be home (apparently for a year). For many, being out of the workforce is a relief and something to be relished. For many, the fact that I am going back to work sooner than most, makes me less of a mum. It’s a judgment that although I am sure is not intentional, has been felt.

Maybe it’s my interpretation, maybe it’s my over sensitivity, maybe it’s just how they feel.

I was never going to be the all-baking, crochet knitting, P&C mum. I love that other women  fill those roles; it’s just not me. I’m the mum that will juggle a meeting to make it to school assembly and a schedule a gig around his soccer game. I’m the mum who may have go to work some days but will spend others in PJ’s watching cartoons. I’m the mum who wants it all and isn’t afraid to try for it.

But he will always come first. He will always be my priority, but I can have my work too.

It doesn’t make me less of a mum.

Does it?

Xx A

please don’t redefine me

Passionate. Career driven. Successful. Intelligent. Hardworking. Dedicated.

These are just a few of the words that I would use to describe myself. It may have taken me 30 years but I finally feel like I know myself pretty well.

I know what I am good at. I know how I thrive. I know who I am.

As I embark further into this journey, I am frustrated beyond belief that people are trying to change my definition.  Unrequested, uninvited. People are trying to redefine who I am now that I am pregnant.

Since when does my ability to procreate impact my ability to do those things that I have managed to do successfully for many years now.

Does adding “mum” to my definition render the other words now useless?

Call me a dreamer but I want it all. I want to balance my new role of mum with the roles that I currently play in society. I am under no illusions that my life is going to change dramatically when I become a mother. I know that my priorities will change and my focus will shift. I have no issue with that. The issue I have is the assumption that one must replace the other.  That mother is the new definition of who I am and all those other words will describe who I used to be.

So many people have asked me questions about what I plan to do with my work when baby comes. Take some time off of course is my response. Take time to readjust my life to the new role I am taking on.

Then, when the time is right, come back and tackle the working world as the same person I was before I had my son. The only difference being, I’ve pushed a watermelon out of my vagina. I wont be any less capable. I wont be any less driven. I wont be any LESS full stop. I will just be a mother as well.

The same passionate, intelligent, hardworking woman I am now, just with some stretch marks and no doubt some wobbly bits.

I am sick and tired of being told that the primary things that make up who I am will change. They might. I know that. This baby might turn me into someone I don’t recognize. Someone I haven’t been in my 30 years. But the point is this. If the fundamentals of who I am change, it will be because I want them to, not because society tells me they have to.

I’ve suddenly become painfully aware of a set of societal rules that I didn’t know existed until I began to show my bump. Apparently I must step quietly away from those nasty non-maternal defining words like “career driven” and “intelligent” and spend some time with more appropriate definitions such as “mothers group attendee” (no offence intended to those who love a good mothers group) and “play dater”. Those words don’t fit me very well. And I think I know myself well enough to know that they probably never will.

So my request to the world is this…. Please don’t redefine me. Please don’t tell me I cant be the same person then as I am now. Please don’t tell me that the role of mother must replace my current definition.

Will it be added to my list? Most definitely. And I will embrace it. Just like I do those other words. But my uterus does not define me and my being a mother will not change the fundamentals of who I am.

Even if you tell me it has to.

Rant over.

Xx A