Monday, 22 March 2010

Right About Now, Funk Soul Mutha

Monday, 22 March 2010
Anyone got any money? Like, lots? Fancy giving me a substantial amount of it?

I’m in a real funk.

And I know exactly why. I’m trapped.

Trapped as a full-time working mother.

This post is not for the faint hearted – you are about to read an astonishingly elaborate self-indulgent whine about the fast-approaching end of my maternity leave.

Yes, it’s true -- I have to go back to work soon. In fact, technically I already have gone back to work and I’m currently on holiday. And let me tell you, I’m rrrrrrrrreally bitter about it. Before you know it, these final precious days will be over and I’ll have to hand my beautiful Jude over to someone else for nine hours during the day. NINE HOURS.

He’s only awake for 12 hours... so I’ll hardly see him. And I’m so, so sad.

Not to mention the fact that Ben - who has been used to his school day lasting from when I walk him to school at 9am until I collect him at 3pm – will now have an extra 3 hours tagged onto his day (an hour for the school’s breakfast club and 2 hours after school) to facilitate my going back to work. Poor kid. I’m trying not to think about what kind of disruption THAT is going to bring to his little world.

Depressingly, this back-to-work scenario is consuming my every waking thought; I feel positively wounded with it. I know, I know... I’ve had a lovely long maternity leave, and had some magical moments with both my kids – and Jason, come to that – since I’ve been off. And I knew this day would come... but I was so happily going about the business of being a new mother again and getting into a really lovely routine of being ‘Stay At Home Mammy’ that my looming return-to-work date has REALLY crept up on me. I’m bereft. Breathless.

I wish I could afford to stay at home and be a Mammy. But it’s just totally out of the question. Oh sure, women with children have the legal right to request flexible working arrangements, but any reduction in my working hours would hit us badly, financially speaking. We both need to bring in full time money to make things work.

Do you know, this year it will cost just slightly less for me to pay for my baby in nursery for one year as it does to obtain a full undergraduate 3year degree at Oxford university? Know how I know this? I TOTALLY CHECKED. Happy thought, eh?

After careful consideration, and without further ado, here are my options:

1.  Increase frequency and monetary contribution towards the purchase of lottery tickets in the next month or so.

2.  Go on benefit, default on all my bills, live on baked beans and move to a squat... in the next month or so.

3.  Finish writing, secure a literary agent, agree publishing contract and receive sizeable paycheque for my first novel... in the next month or so.

4.  Happen upon the as-yet-undiscovered branch of my family tree wherein I am the sole and direct descendant of someone with untold fortunes who is about to peg it... in the next month or so.

5.  Begin clandestine (and really steamy!) extramarital affair with Premiership footballer or rock star** or similar and be a ‘kept’ mistress... in the next month or so.

6.  Fnd enough money to finish university degree and get a job in education somewhere, so I don’t have to scramble around like a mad thing arranging childcare during half term and other holidays... in the next month or so.

7.  Suck it up, stop whining and go back to work. No points for guessing when that might commence.

**Have already consulted with Jason about this item, who says that gentlemen of either profession would be acceptable for any opportunity for adulterous activity; his credibility as a ‘dude’ would improve exponentially amongst his circle of friends if he became ‘the one whose wife had a fling with [insert name of famous footballer here]’.  So, you know... no worries there -- it’s all good.

But what really stings is that I’m faced without any element of choice in the matter. Isn’t it cruel how times have changed? Women in, say, my Grandma’s generation got married, had kids, stayed at home to raise them and rarely had jobs outside of the home. My mum’s generation was more of the same... but they could choose to work, or choose to not work. No biggie.

And now the tables have completely turned – while mothers and women in general are enjoying a better balance of equality in the workplace, many of them in my acquaintance these days find that they don’t have a choice – they MUST work, in order to keep their families. This is my hellish Catch 22: I chose to have babies, but I’m forced to pay someone else to raise them.

Jude was really unsettled tonight going to bed; I’m starting to worry that he can sense my anxiety about going back to work. I look at his little face, his little perfect face with big blue eyes blinking beseechingly at me to pick him up. And I wonder... how the hell am I going to hand him over to someone at the nursery next month and get in the car and take myself to work? Could someone please tell me, how the hell am I supposed to do that?

7 people had something to say about this...:

Nana Janet said...

My heart is breaking for you love.

Who said...

Oh Nicola - I remember that feeling of going back to work with no choice at all about it. The only up side was that I didn't have to watch any more crap daytime TV. See if you can work out working from home for part of the week? I feel guilty that I can stay at home and my girls are big enough to ignore me now. Maybe you'll get a nice promotion then go part time.


Nicola P. said...

Thanks Mam, thanks Maggie. Well, here's hoping for a big swing in either direction - that things get really good at work and I get promoted or things get really crap and I get redundancy.

Lynn said...

Oh, I'm so very sorry, Nic. I'm sure after a few weeks of getting back into the swing of things, you'll feel better. Hang in there!

Mammy P said...

Thanks Lynn... I'm resigned to it now, I think. I am just going to try and make the best of the last few weeks.

(and play the Lotto, for good measure)

:-) said...

Awe hugs

I am so glad I stumbled across your blog:) You have a new follower:)
I also wanted to invite you to stop by and check out my site for moms.
It is a small community of moms. Even though it is small it is still a great place:)

Tanya said...

Thinking of you girl, if you want to look into online marketing let me idea how the pay would translate into pounds...might not be worth it :( On the upside...

I've awarded your blog with the...Beautiful BLogger Award!! Pop over and check it out :) xo