If you were to ask my four year-old-daughter what I was best at, she would tell you “Tidying up really quickly” or “Making cheese straws“.
She is right about this, as it happens – but there is more to me than my mad cleaning skills and handy ability to whip up cheesy snacks. Honest.
There are sides of me that my children do not see, may never see. I’ve put them all on hold. I like to say just for now but in all honesty, who knows?
The road back into employment once you’ve disembarked to have kids can be more trickier and more trecherous than L’alpe D’huez.
Not that I am thinking about my career right now. I’m too busy trying to get through the days with three children under five.
And what will my daughters think of me for this sacrifice?
Will they look up to me for hanging up my power suits?
Will they appreciate how much I turned my back on to be the one to care for them in their early years?
Will the constant exposure to me make them secure, balanced individuals?
Or will it do the opposite?
By staying at home, will I become their role model, or will they see me as no more than their cleaner. Cook. Ironing lady. Taxi driver?
Would they actually value and appreciate me more if we saw less of each another. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that…
Maybe I’d be a better role model if they saw me going “out to work”. Bringing home some bacon.
Maybe they’d look up to me more if I was not always down on my knees?
I know how hard a stay at home mum works. We don’t “stay” anywhere for long. (Always something to do or someone to chase.) Will my children see this though? Will it take till my children are mothers for them to value me?
Being a full-time-mum to my three daughters is the hardest job I’ve ever done. I can’t believe I used to sweat about meetings and deadlines “when I worked”. Put me back there now and I’d be able to run the company, whilst doing the hoovering.
But then who would be looking after my children?
Who would pick them up when they fell over? Who would make sure they ate some sandwich before opening the crisps? Who’d cook cheese straws with them?
Could I really concentrate at work knowing that they were crying, laughing, growing without me?
Hard as my job is, I like to think, that as their mum, I am best at it. I like to think that although, right now, four thinks I am only good for illicit extra strong mints and sharpening pencils, one day this will change.
One day she and her sisters will remember all the falls and firsts and cheese straws and think “Bloody hell. My mum is amazing. She did everything for us (and hardly moaned about it once).”