Having it all

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Having it all.

It’s just a myth, right?

An unbelievable pressure that we put on ourselves as mothers and partners.

I grew up believing that I could have it all. I could have a beautiful home, perfect family, loving partner, dazzling career. And for a while there, I nearly killed myself trying to have it all. And I failed miserably.

The truth was, for me at least, something had to give. I couldn’t be in that many places at a time and I certainly couldn’t give everything one hundred percent. If I was succeeding at work, the ridiculous hours that I had to put in meant that I was failing my children. I had to work twice as hard and twice as long in some stupid attempt at being able to prove that I was just as able as my mostly male and mostly childless colleagues. The fact was that I was better at my job than most of them by far but that was never recognised. But while busting a gut at work, my babies were in full time nursery care. That wasn’t what I wanted for them. It was the best childcare money could buy, I didn’t doubt that for a minute (and boy did I feel the dent in my bank balance) but I was paying somebody else to enjoy the best days of my children’s lives. When I was at home, I was frantically trying to make up for the time that I wasn’t spending with them as well as all of the housework falling squarely on my shoulders. At the end of each and every day I would fall into an exhausted heap feeling like a complete failure. I had such high expectations of myself. Such high hopes for how I was told my life should be. It certainly didn’t feel like I was having it all – in fact, it felt like quite the opposite.

After I became pregnant with our third baby, we made the huge decision that I would become a stay at home mummy. It was a huge step. I knew it was the right decision for us as a family. I knew that I needed to take a step back from my failing career and put my family first. But at the time, I couldn’t help but feel like I was a complete failure. Luckily, my partner completely supported me in this, in fact, it was very much a joint decision.

I will openly admit that in the early days, I found it incredibly hard. There was quite a large gap in between having baby number two and baby number three of almost seven years and going back to those newborn days hit me really hard. She was an awful sleeper and looking back now, I don’t know how I survived those first six months with virtually no sleep when I still had my other two children to get up and out to school every day. And going from two children to three, seemed like a huge step for me. In a way, the haze of those exhausting newborn days cemented my decision that I couldn’t even think of going back to work yet.

But in time, I loved being at home. I loved being with our baby and seeing all of her firsts. It didn’t make up for the time that I had missed with my eldest two children of course but I couldn’t change the past. And the sooner I realised that and got over my guilt, the happier I became. I was enjoying all of my children at last.

I was content.

I don’t remember there being an actual turning point. A defining moment when I realised that actually, I didn’t have to have it all. Being content at home with my children was more than I could ever want. But I have never looked back. I love being at home full time. I love my role as a very traditional housewife. I am happier than I have ever ever been and this in turn makes my lovely family happier than it has ever been too. They need me at home right now while they are still young. And I really need to be at home with them. I also know just how lucky I am that financially this is even an option for us.

Being a stay at home mummy isn’t for everyone. I know that. But it is right for me. I still find myself having to justify why I don’t work outside the home to others and there are times when I think maybe it’s not enough when my own extended family question my decisions. But in my heart of hearts, I know that I have never been happier.

And it doesn’t get better than that, for me at least.

17 thoughts on “Having it all

  1. Milly says:

    Lovely post. I think you made the right decision and you know you can always change it at a later date if you want. No decision is forever. I have mixed working 4 days a week with not working at all and now I work a couple of days a week now that my youngest is in kindergarten some of the time. I’m now looking at working more as I need to contribute more to the family finances. I’m happy to do this as it’s needed but hope that I can work flexibly so that I can be at home when I’m needed.

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  2. Cari Rosen (@cazroz) says:

    It’s such a difficult balance isn’t it? I gave up a v successful career in TV when mine was born because the hours meant I would never see her – and I had waited too long for her to miss out to such an extent. When she was 18 months I started working a couple of days from home and she went to nursery. Now she is 3 and a half she is in nursery 3 days a week (which she is definitely ready for) and I work those three days. I’m incredibly lucky to have found a great job that’s not far from home and offers part time hours. I think the balance works well for us – four days together and three with our peers… But I only have one child and that makes an enormous difference. I have no idea how you juggle four sets of needs, pick ups, play dates etc etc – that is definitely a full time job in itself. But the fact you have such gorgeous happy kids shows what a success you make of it – so yes, clearly it was absolutely the right decision.

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  3. steph says:

    a fab post and congrats on such a happy family with a happy mummy thats always there for them!
    i was a nursery nurse b4 i had kids and some og the kids i looked after would be in nursery mon-sat 8am-6pm, they barely saw there parent and at collection time parents asked me which was their childs coat. i know some dont have the luxury of staying at home but i felt so sad that these kids may not have so much of a family relationship. some of the kids started nursery from 8 weeks!!!! seriuosly wrong. we had one family that dumped there kids after a long travel back from spain just so mum and dad had some peace.

    i was made redundant when i was expecting my first and was a stay at home mum for both my boys. i did do volunteering and ive tried for 5 years to get back to work with no success, my eldest starts school next week and youngest gets nursery funding next year. i start college too next month.

    im desperate to be driving and own my own home but i dont want to be working every hour and miss out on the kids life. its a hard balance. my college is 15 hours a week and will benefit them in the future.

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  4. karen jones says:

    Great post and I think you hit the nail on the head with the fact that you are happy ! That’s the secret, if you are happy then everything else falls into place.

    I am still searching for that “right balance” for me. I think if we didn’t have the enormous pressure of my husband being in a below the national average pay band I would be able to relax more and be a better mum and wife. I am still in that place of feeling like I am failing even though I gave up the well paid career and the childcare option to work for myself at home.

    In many ways I am now under far more pressure.

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  5. Rox says:

    It must be heartbreaking to miss out on them growing up, i am lucky enough that i knew i wanted to be a full time mummy (even though sometimes it would be oh so nice to drop her off somewhere and let someone else deal with the tantrum/snot lol) and that we are financially able for me to be a full time mummy.

    I know lots of ladies who don’t like being full time mums and look forward to the return to work after maternity leave – ultimately, its whatever makes you and your family happy that matters.

    xx

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  6. Janice Thompson says:

    What a great post!

    I think that you’ve definitely made the right decision for you, your children, your partner, and for your sanity! You’re much happier which will reflect on everyone’s lives enormously.

    When I was off on maternity leave I felt it was my ‘job’ to look after our son, do all the housework, food shopping, cooking as well as trying to be the best that I could as a mum and a wife. Some days it worked fine, whilst others were a nightmare, depending on the amount of sleep that we’d had the night before.

    I loved being at home and spending time with my son. The house was mostly tidy, the washing was mostly up to date and we had lovely home cooked meals every evening.

    I’ve since returned to work 4 days a week and our son is looked after by his grandparents, and he’s in nursery two mornings a week. I hated going back to work; I hated leaving my son when I felt that I should be the one bringing him up. I was also trying to do the supermom bit of still doing all the chores, cooking and shopping. Needless to say I didn’t cope very well with that! My OH now does help, after quite a bit of moaning from me, but I’d just love to be at home with my son.

    After being back at work for 6 months now I’m sort of used to it, I’ve got no option really as we can’t afford for me to take a reduction in my hours as I’m the main earner.

    The main thing that I have learnt is that you can’t have it all, you have to do what’s right for your own family, and no one should criticize anyone for doing that.

    J x

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  7. Corinne says:

    This is a great post and exactly how I feel. I am so much happier like this but am still reeling from the shock of having 3 children, I thought it would be the same but a bit busier, but it feels like so much more. And so much less time! I love being at home while my children are small, I did miss out with my eldest but I’ve also started to remove the guilt. I don’t know why I’m repeating you, you could have written this for me, I totally get it.

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  8. Mcai7td3 says:

    That’s a lovely post. I’m still struggling to decide what to do. My little one is 8 months and not the beat sleeper. Im not due to go back till January so still have a bit of time to decide. At the moment, “I am going back part time”.

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  9. pamperedmummy says:

    Great post, wish I could find contentment, but I am always striving for somthing. It is hard as I am the sole income in our house due to hubby’s illness, but I never seem to find the right balance.

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  10. Karen santos says:

    Good for you! I support u 100% sod what anyone else says. My mum was home for me and that was great x

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  11. Kat got the cream says:

    Great post. I stopped work when my first was 2 and have really made the most of being at home with him and our second who is 20mths. It’s hard work in different ways and you don’t get credit for that. But I know I will never regret this precious time with them.

    Like

  12. Mum2Four (@AlliMarshall) says:

    I have often said the suffragettes have a lot to answer for – why did they think it was a good idea for us Women to work & have children?
    I often tell Daughter to just find a Man that will let her stay at home – to do the cooking, cleaning, childcare without taking on a job oustide the home too.

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  13. Trouble Doubled (@trouble2plus2) says:

    I have been a working mum (with 2 kids) and now I have four I am a SAHM. I hated this at first and some days am desperate to go back to work and yes, my career was just fine. However, it was difficult enough to find a balance with 2 children – with 4 it would be almost impossible. Once I came to terms with this, it was like I found peace. Peace with life and at peace with myself. Now I just go with the flow and try to enjoy being at home for my girls’ sake. It sounds like you have found peace too. Lovely post.

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  14. cam says:

    awesome post. this is a CONSTANT struggle for me. I found myself nodding in agreement for the entire post. love hearing how it worked out for you.

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  15. Susan Mann says:

    I envy you so much. I am really missing my boys and I know I couldn’t be a full stay at home mum and don’t feel I missed any of their firsts but I do miss them so much. Work is just dragging me down just now, but I’m not in a position to give it up. My children are with my mum or my in laws so I am lucky not to need to pay for nursery so it makes it easier. So pleased to hear you happy xx

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  16. richmondmummy says:

    A really interesting post and one that is pretty relevant to me right now. So lovely to hear that you have found happiness in your life as a SAHM. I am on mat leave right now, my DD is coming up to 7 months old. Am due back at work in Jan and am looking at a 4 day week at work. The job I’ve been presented with sounds great, but I am struggling with the idea of leaving my little one for 4 days out of 7. Am thinking of going back to give it a whirl for a few months and see how I fare, don’t want to regret missing out on her growing up, but hard to walk away from a great job… x

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