Before taking two years off to be at home with my children, I was a working mother for several years, first of one child, then of two. My memories of those times are mixed.
I enjoyed being smartly turned out, being respected for my professional opinion and having the flexibility to work from home if a child was sick or there was a last minute closed day at Kindergarten. I liked the routine of getting up and out, I enjoyed having to be productive at work to get everything done in time to get home and I liked having my own income.
But I also remember days when I rushed from a meeting to pick my children up from Kindergarten, the last ones there. I remember sitting at the airport to board a flight to Madrid and getting a text from The Bavarian to say that Number Two needs an x-ray because he may have broken his finger. I remember a summer spent on conference calls at the kitchen table every evening, watching through the window as the children played in the garden, unable to go to the pool or playground because Mama was too busy. I remember snapping at my children for small things because I was annoyed about other things, work things.
This week I am back in the office, back in the routine, back in the smart clothes and earning again. I’m settling in. Getting back into the swing of things. Adjusting to changes. I’m leaving on time, with my mind free of deadlines and mental preparations for meetings. For now anyway.
That will change with time and I am not looking forward to it. Dwelling on no longer being at home is no use to me. Resenting work is no use to me either. So I am going to have to be strict about things. Home-work separation is what is needed.
If the last two years have taught me anything, it is that I love my family, my house and garden more than my job, or anything else for that matter. They give me so much joy, so many reasons to laugh and to find enjoyment in every day.
I know that I want to be Mama every afternoon. I want to walk the dog with the boys, be on time for pick ups, arrange playdates, do crafts, help with homework, listen to the children’s tales from school, read with them and to them. I want 3pm till bedtime to remain the way it was while I was still at home full time.
I want to hold on to the good stuff but I have a feeling I’ll have to hold on tight. It could be a bumpy ride.