So last week I hit a real low patch and turned to the WMW writers for advice-not surprisingly as wonderful authors, they suggested I write my feelings down. This is the outcome.
Two and a bit years ago I gave birth to my wonderful son. He was almost four weeks early and caught me unawares after a long day at work. My world changed and I had a new purpose in life, to love my baby boy with all my heart. It was easy to do and I felt on top of the world, like my capacity for happiness had grown ex potentially. Then the time came for me to return to work.
After six months maternity leave, we could no longer cope financially and I had no choice but to return to my teaching job, albeit part time. It was like being ripped in two (no exaggeration, this is coming from a woman who has given birth!) The thought of leaving my boy and missing just one moment with him weighed me down with a burden that felt like grief. What’s more I knew I couldn’t be the same teacher I was before. My life revolved around my work, prior to the birth of my son. I devoted myself to the cause and gave 100% but it was soon apparent I couldn’t sustain both with the same vigor. Something had to give and I’d be damned if it as going to be my bond with my baby.
And so I returned to work as a shadow of my former self, getting the job done, but with none of the bells and whistles I had before. Colleagues noticed the change in me and one even asked if I could be suffering from Post Natal Depression. I couldn’t be though as when I was at home with my boy I was, though admittedly tired, on cloud nine. I couldn’t drag myself out of the slump however and with each day I grew more and more despondent. I convinced myself things would get better. That I would find it easier as he got older and those first milestones of talking and walking etc had past. However he is now two and I feel lower than ever. My depression is creeping into non working hours, as I spend the summer holidays panicked about returning to work. I know I should make the most of this time, but I can’t shake the foreboding that presses down on me.
In an attempt to snap out of it I have started writing again, inspired by my boy to do something that I feel passionate about once more. I have self published a set of three children’s books named after my son, Charlie Bear. I am writing for WMW and ghost writing a blog. The motivation and enthusiasm has returned and I once more feel I can enjoy my work and be the mummy I long to be. This being the case then, why do I feel incapable of succeeding? Why does that little voice of self doubt persist in telling me that writing isn’t a real job and won’t pay the bills. I trained and worked for years to get where I am in teaching, surely I’d be mad to throw it all away? Nobody likes their job but we all just have to suck it up and get on with it.
The conflict within me is driving me to the brink. I want to do a job I love, that allows me to be a mum and permits me to be happy-is that so wrong? Should I jack in this writing malarkey and stick to what I know, the safe option. I can feel the knot of tension in my stomach, this isn’t poetic licence, it’s there grinding away within me. The cogs turning towards the inevitable return to work where the stress will put a hiatus on any chance of creative expression and free time to write.
I’m so blessed to have my boy, lucky to have a job, I know I should be grateful and quit whining. I feel guilty for moaning and I know so many of you will tell me to quit complaining and get on with it. So I will, but I’ll live in hope that I can get there one day. That a job you love isn’t just a dream and that a work life balance is achievable.