Diary of a Working Parent

Diary of a Working Parent

I felt a little strange when I read the complaints about maternity leave coming to an end from the mum’s groups. I was absolutely delighted to be getting back to me time, even if that meant work. I of course love my son and he’s a joy to spend time with, but I never wanted my every day to be wrapped up in parenthood.

Mum and baby groups are a slightly odd concept when you think about it – here’s some new friends to hang out with every week who you probably have nothing in common with apart from the fact that you got pregnant at the same time. A lifeline for some, but it really is luck of the draw. Whilst all the parents seemed nice enough, I never managed to gel much with any of the ones I met through our regular group. But guess what, you can’t just go out with your old friends, because you have a baby now!

So after a year being at home, my craving for adult conversation was consuming me. Sometimes I still get annoyed when I glance over and see my partner browsing his phone whilst my son plays, but then realise I’m a hypocrite when I find my mind wandering to my own device, because looking after a baby is often quite boring. There is also a kind of torture where your mind is racing over all the things that you could be doing to be productive, whilst being paralysed by having to crinkle the toy in front of your 3 month old for the fourth time today.

Woman using phone

That’s not to say that spending time and energy with your baby is not productive time, of course those early interactions are incredibly important in building your bond together and helping your little one learn about the world. But I do think we sometimes neglect our adult brains when we are spending all of our time developing our child’s ones.

I did learn all sorts of new skills whilst I was on leave, though. My hatred of squats means I can now pick up items off the floor with my foot whilst holding the baby, and I could probably recite the entire collection of Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (I’m not knocking them, they’re great books).

So I guess what I’m saying is that, becoming a parent doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice being everything else, but you do need to make room for it.

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