Today I wrote one word in the calendar on the kitchen wall. With three children, a husband with a lot of hobbies and our large extended family, writing events and plans into the calendar is commonplace for me. Today was different.
That’s what I wrote.
After 26 months as a stay-at-home mother, I will be returning to my job later this month. There is no real need for me to say “later” in that sentence. It is a mental thing. Keeping distance. In my mind, my return to work is still far, far away. In reality is two weeks away.
As I look around me, I see the same chaos there was when I was working a four day week with two young sons to look after. Sometimes I ask myself what I have been doing with my time that there is still a pile of laundry to be ironed, a wonky handle on the cloakroom door, a weed-riddled front garden and untidy bedrooms.
I say to myself I’ll sort it out before I go back. The list is getting longer. I wonder will anything on it get done. I’ve begun to call it, in my mind, my back to work bucket list, even though I hate the term bucket list. I don’t like to liken going back to work to kicking the bucket, although I am not looking forward to either.
But a bucket list sounds more exciting than a to do list, doesn’t it? It is more motivating and encouraging. Most people’s bucket lists don’t feature tax returns, I’ll bet. Ridding the house of unnecessary junk isn’t typical bucket list material. Painting the bathroom doors probably doesn’t make it on to very many bucket lists either. It is obvious a bit of balance is needed on mine.
So I’m throwing in a few extra bullet points on that list. Organise a craft weekend away with friends to have something to look forward to. Book a few beauty treatments to fill up the hours when Number Three is settling into kindergarten. Get a good hair cut. Arrange a date night.
I was tempted to come up with a few things to do with the boys to add to the list. Days out, after school treats, spontaneous picnics, museum visits, that kind of thing. But I’ve decided not to. Not because I don’t want to do those things, but because I don’t want to stop doing those things.
Being at home has reminded me how wonderful my children are, how quickly they are growing and how being their mammy is my real work. In the 26 months since I left my office the chaos in our household has remained. At the office, or so I hear, nothing much had changed.
But in our life, a baby was born and grew to a toddler. A three year old became a big brother and, recently, a school boy. A five year old went through some tough times and came out happy on the other side of them. This mammy became a blogger , a chicken keeper, a writer, a volunteer, a dog owner and a happier person. That’s a SAHM bucket list I couldn’t have written.