As Baby-Bel and her cronies veer headlong towards and beyond their one year milestone so all my fellow mummy cronies are starting to dust off the high heels to go back to work – resuming the old life after an extended twelve month hiatus.
Surprisingly many are lucky enough to have negotiated the enviable situation of a part timer; getting to have their cake and eat it. Interestingly, I haven’t come across many mothers who have voluntarily chosen (some by way of forced necessity) to return to employment full time. I suppose these could be said to be the ones having their cake but not quite having the luxury of time to eat it. Then there are those of us with a surplus of cake-eating time but no longer the means to attain even a Betty Crocker DIY version – the stay at home non-earner.
I am the benched reserve in the game of life; not so much twiddling my thumbs as there’s plenty to do but left wondering as to my worth and role in the team. Whether for ‘Team Family Unit’ or ‘Team Women at Work’ I am clearly nowhere near pulling my weight. On a more insular level, it’s not just the team I’m letting down. My mind is lying dormant and disused – brain cells thrown out with the last nappy refuse sack. I am a crime against my own potential and I need to get off this bench before rigor mortis sets in and my mind becomes seized by the paralysis wrought by habit. Get up, set a challenge, score a goal and feel alive. It’s like a plea to a coma victim.
The bottom line is my feelings of self worth these days are already skirting the bottom of new depths and the question is, where further can it plunge?
Mr A has suggested I consider leaving Baby-Bel in a nursery for a couple of mornings a week, to allow me the freedom to investigate future endeavours but I think the guilt of abandoning my child with no justifiable cause (say gainful employment) might eat me alive. If that doesn’t, then the sense of shame of letting the side down and MiL (mother in law) drawing my ill-fated comparison to SiL (sister in law), utopian mother personified, would undoubtedly be enough to send my adequacy ratings through the floor more precipitously than Gordon Brown’s after the Northern Rock bailout. Furthermore, there simply isn’t a nursery in this neck of the woods which will stoop to accepting less than a minimum of 2.5 days a week. It seems business is still booming in childcare when tough times call for mothers to share some bread winning.
Is it a condemnatory confession to admit to harbouring an unmet desire to be free of one’s child for a handful of solitary hours a week? I sense moral discernment is destined to pronounce me undeserving and unfit for motherhood. I sneak a peek at Baby-Bel pushing out the zzz’s softly, her arms stretched outwards in an expression of innocent nonchalance, cheeks flushed by the warm haze of sleep. What I feel needs no justification.