I've got to be honest, I sometimes feel like a far less glam version of Betty Draper ;)
Here I am once again dear blogging friends beseeching you for some advice on an age old issue.
I am a stay at home mum. Fully. I am not paid to work (aside from blogging sometimes). But generally I have no job. Let's just take for granted that motherhood is a job for the sake of this post, I'm talking about paid employment.
I've written before about the lack of respect stay at home mothers get but this is a slightly different kind of post.
I am unstimulated, bored and dare I say it, unfulfilled. But I'm also torn. I adore my daughter and generally speaking adore being a stay at home mum. I don't want to rush back to the career and have other people take care of my child. Not because I think badly of parents who do this but because I have been with her for 9 months and don't want this to change. Oh and because I have no career to rush back to. And this is why I'm having a bit of an internal struggle.
This post may be long, rambling and self indulgent so I thank you now if you're still here at the end of it.
Aside from childhood dreams of being an actress and a vet ('til I realised you have to put your hand up animals a****), I never had a passion to be anything. In fact all I really wanted (not that I admitted it) was to have a family and become a mother. That was the only certainty in my mind as a teenager. I did A levels, went to university and graduated at 21 just as unsure as I'd been at 18. I knew I didn't have it in me to be an actor and my drama degree was one of those vague degrees thousands had that gave me a degree but not a skill. Great eh?
I spent just under 10 years drifting from working in bars, restaurants, as a music promoter, for a music marketing company, and then randomly decided to be an event planner specialising in weddings. To cut a long story short this was more a plan of desperation out of panic at being 26, career-less and a long way off motherhood. That I didn't really get the deal with weddings, or really do much research? Well I didn't really think it through as I say. I spent a couple of years working ridiculously hard for very little money. I didn't hate it all though, it honed my creativity, taught me a lot about myself and made me realise I ain't no business woman. Charge people who couldn't afford it? No siree, I'll help them and make a loss myself. All very admirable in some ways but unsurprisingly this did not make me successful.
No maternity leave due to Amelie's birth falling 5 weeks before my first wedding of the season. I worked the summer, struggled hugely with the stress and exhaustion and the sense that I wasn't being true, authentic to who I was.
Who that is, at least career wise I have no idea. And this is what kind of brings me to this current state of mind. I never intended to be a stay at home mum as I knew I would need more (sorry if that sounds judgemental, it isn't, just a knowledge of what I'm like). I knew I'd need something to keep my brain ticking over. I like kids and all but there's only so much Eensy Weensy Spider this mama can handle.
I gave up the wedding planning when it became crystal clear I did not have a viable business model nor any love for the work. And now I'm left, 31 with a sense of massive achievement physically when I look at my beautiful child but, well, a bit of a loss and dare I say it, sense of failure when I look at my work choices.
I am 31 which I know isn't crazy old, but isn't 21 either. I have a lot of transferable skills, am creative with no obvious artistic skill, am brilliant with people and sh*t at paying attention to what I find boring detail. I'm pretty aware of my strengths and weaknesses just at a loss of how and what to do now. And I was so ill prepared for how having Amelie would highlight and shift my priorities massively.
But I am haunted by a sense of unfulfilled potential. I don't want Amelie growing up seeing her mother as a modern day version of a 50s housewife. Happy with her family but bored and aware she could have been so much more. Nor is this some childhood desire to be famous or have a glam job. I would happily work at anything if I thought it would be both worth it financially and not insanely boring.
So this is where I'm stuck lovely online friends. I can't work part time as a ..... because on paper I couldn't get employed, I have no obvious trade. But I want to feel part of the world again. And no offense to those who find they are, but coffee mornings, sing and sign classes and baby swimming lessons aren't enough for me. Do I sound selfish? Maybe I am, I've been accused of being so before. But I'm a big believer that we all need to feel part of something, to feel valued and worthwhile. And whilst I would literally die for my child, being her mother alone is not enough for me to feel good about myself. And not just because I want to go out dancing til 4am and party like I used to (which I kind of do, but that's another story) but because I feel wasted and therefore not the best mother and person I can be for my child.
My mum is retired and happy to look after Amelie at least twice a week meaning I could put her in a nursery for a day or so maybe and go back to work. But would I feel guilty doing that when we'd probably be no better off financially and anyway, what the hell work would I do anyway?! You can see my dilemma.
That's why this blog and my photography are my lifesavers. The blog especially makes me feel connected which as a social being I am sorely lacking.
So enough! If you're still here, thank you! Are you in the same boat? I am reading a lot about how to lead a compassionate and authentic life lately (there is so a Buddhist in me desperate to get out). I know I haven't always been true to myself and I want that to change. Not just for me but to set a good example for my daughter.
If I was single I'd probably go travelling for months and 'find myself'. But how do you do that when you're a mother and selfish choices are not an option? Maybe I should wait until she's a bit older and then work out what I want/can do career wise? If you've been in this situation what have you done?
As ever, thank you in advance for your support and general thoughts. I do find the blogging world so helpful in times like this :)