(First published on The Contented Calf website on Tuesday 13th November 2012, and 7MO had just started at nursery)
The time is 09:23. I’m sitting at my desk and the house is quiet. Hubby took the girls off to nursery nearly two hours ago.
Since then I’ve had breakfast, tidied the kitchen, put the washing on, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and put that on too, gone round in circles as to what swimming lesson we should book 3YO on, had a browse through accommodation and dates at Centre Parcs.
But now it’s time to work.
The problem is: where do I start? After 8 months or so ‘off’ work, how do I build up momentum again?
In the run up to 7MO’s arrival, I was in full throes of everything to do with Contented Calf’s attendance at The Baby Show at London ExCel. (8 months pregnant and three days on a stand is hard work – let me tell you!) Then it was finishing up on that, squeeze in a couple of weeks of down-time and then I was thrown head long into now being a mummy of two.
As with anyone who is self-employed, one is never truly ‘not working’, but anything that did come up was always squeezed into looking after the girls – negotiating advertising rates while taking 3YO to a very dingy toilet at the funfair near my parents’ house, responding to PR requests while cooking dinner, writing the odd blog post or two while 7MO was asleep and 3YO at nursery.
But today I have the whole day to myself to truly focus on work and give it my undivided attention. I didn’t even have to do the nursery run (brilliant!) And I’m like the New Girl on the job, who isn’t really sure what she’s meant to be doing – and it’s my company! :-)
I suppose there are two main elements to my dithering about this morning:
One, I haven’t had the opportunity to think in any way nearing strategic since the birth of 7MO. Most days I’m simply responding to the need of one child, then the other, bound only by a general structure to the day provided by 7MO’s feeding and sleeping needs, 3YO’s activities, meeting up with friends and errands that need running. Some days I’m more prepared and feel like I’m the one in the driving seat. Other days, it’s simply about surviving the day without too many tears (from any of us). But whether it’s a good day or bad, the furthest ahead I’m generally able to plan is what we’re having for tea! Being able to stop, think and plan is just something that has not happened for a long time.
Secondly, I guess I feel incredibly strange without 7MO here. Being the type of person I am, along with the luxury of working for myself and being able to only go back to work two days a week for now, I was, I am, very ready to have some purely work-focussed days. It’s great to emerge a little from haze of 24/7 mummy-dom, feel like an individual again and work to grow a business I truly believe in again. It’s what I want. It’s what I need. And (realising this sounds clichéd) I know it’ll make me a happier, calmer, more appreciative, healthier, better mum for the five days a week I am 100% mum.
But man it’s tough being parted from 7MO! I know she’s absolutely fine at nursery – better than fine, she’s loving it! She was the textbook baby in terms of settling. The first hour we were there together, her eyes lit up at all the toys, and rugs, and mats and cushions and members of staff on hand to give her a cuddle or make her giggle. She increased her time there gradually and happily, and last week she did her first full days there.
It’s me that’s taking the time to adjust. It was actually after the first hour we did there together that I felt really shaken. Even though I hadn’t left her side, when we walked through the door back at home, I just sobbed and sobbed. The strange this is that I've done this all before, with 3YO. But that didn't seem to make it any easier.
I suppose it’s understandable isn’t it? From the moment they were conceived, as a mum you’re always there for your baby, never really parted. You are responsible for providing their every need, and if not you, it’s your partner or family, and only for a few hours at a time. That has been my job 24 hours a day for over 7 months.
And today I don’t need to do that. (You mean I get to choose what I do, when and how? You must be crazy!!)
Today my job is different, it's a new one.
So no wonder I look a little like a rabbit in the headlights, looking from left to right and back again thinking “now, there’s something I should be doing, isn’t there?”
The answer is: “Yes, there is. Enjoy the day. Enjoy the lack of immediate demands being placed on me. Use the time to focus on, nurture and grow a business I believe in and am excited about. And come back to mummy-dom refreshed and energised and enjoy that even more!”
Right. Blog post posted. Time for a cuppa me thinks!
As ever, with love from our family to yours,