Sunday 4th September 2016 marked my last ever day as a stay at home mum.
My experience of being a stay home parent has been very mixed and in the end, I decided that it would be best for myself and the children if I returned to work part-time. I had got myself in a rut of not leaving the house very often, and felt as though my days were a haze of nagging the children, shouting and an increasing need for caffeine. I had also reached a point, where I didn't appreciate my time with my girls. And I desperately wanted to enjoy my time with them again.
I returned to work quite quickly after having Frankie, and have lovely memories of our days off together. I really appreciated the time we had, and found working 3 days a week was a really nice work/life balance.
I had been so excited about starting my new job and the benefits we would all ( hopefully) feel from it, that I had neglected to think about all the things I would no longer get to do with the children anymore.
It was only on my last ever day as a stay at home mum that the realization of what I was giving up, hit me like a lead balloon. I made sure that I treasured and savored every last moment. My phone was locked away in the glove compartment for the day, no checking Facebook, no instagramming cute pics, no checking emails, no texting friends. Just me, Ste, our girls and quality time together.
I woke up that morning feeling sick with nerves, both for myself and the kids. They wouldn't have mum around all the time anymore, they would be going to nursery and would have to learn to wait. How would Noa cope without me breastfeeding her in the day? Had I made a mistake? I kept telling myself that if it doesn't work out, then its a simple solution, I just go back to being a stay at home mum.
Sunday morning was a lazy one, Ste went out on his bike, and me and the girls played tea parties and play dough in our PJ's. I kept feeling the need to sniff the childrens' hair and held, cuddled and kissed them at every opportunity. It was a gloomy day, so we asked Frankie what she would like to do, she chose to go to the soft play centre.
So, off we went, whizzing down on slides and climbing through ball pits. The children laughed and seemed so content. I felt as though my heart ached, how could I leave my girls to go back to work? Why is it that only now I am appreciating this time with them?
After soft play, we went to our favorite family spot, Costa coffee in Wilmslow. We used to live just a short 5 minute walk from it, so spent a lot of time their as a family of 3. When we lived in Texas, I always thought of this Costa coffee as 'home'. Its a sentimental place for us. We spoke about wedding arrangements their, we planned our move to Houston, we spoke about trying for a second child their. Its just a special place.
We ordered our Americano's ( I had a pump of pumpkin spice in mine!) and Frankie ordered her usual chocolate milk. We chatted about our day and spoke to the girls about how things were going to change from Monday. Frankie thought it was "awesome" that Noa would be going to nursery with her, and that we would make sure our time together was more special. Noa was particularly clingy all day, I think she could sense that I was quite anxious and nervous about the impending change.
As we left Costa to head home, I felt very daunted by the fact that we were heading back home to start what would, from now on, be a Sunday night ritual. Uniforms to sort, shirts to iron, snacks and packed lunches ready for the week, meals to prepare for the days that I would be working. Gone are the Sunday evenings where we would just eat and relax.
The TV went on for the girls, and I started to prepare dinner. Whilst it was simmering, I saw Noa take a couple of steps unaided out of the corner of my eye. Ste saw it too. Excited and emotional, we all got on the floor and started to encourage her to walk to each of us. And just like that, on my last ever day as a stay at home mum, Noa walked ( 11 steps to be precise!!).
I will do a separate post about how life as a part -time working mum is going in a couple of weeks :)
Thanks for reading!
Are you a stay at home mum? Do you have days when your tempted to go back to work?