Thursday, May 26, 2011

WAHM: Don't know how to get started!

I've been on both sides of the fence. I have been a working mum and I have been a stay at home mum. Both have advantages and both have disadvantages.

I have experienced the guilt of leaving your child for so many hours a day to go and work and bring money in. I have experienced the exhaustion of rushing constantly from home to creche to work to creche to home, the exhaustion of having to do everything to a strict schedule and only putting your feet up late at night, thinking now I can relax and falling asleep on the sofa 10 minutes later. I have experienced the corporate world and climbed up the ladder only to be made redundant after 10 years of loyal services. My dedication and loyalty to the company meant nothing to them. At first, I was glad not to have to return to work, not to fall back into that trap of running around like a headless chicken. Feeling like I was being cut in half, feeling like I couldn't give as much as somebody who didn't have children, because I had to leave on time to pick Marie up, because there was always the possibility of THE phone call, that something happened and that I would have to leave work and feel like I was letting other people down. Feeling like I wasn't flexible enough for the company. Although nothing was ever said to that effect, it was always there at the back of my mind.
And then there is the other side of it, feeling guilty that I couldn't see Marie's first steps, first words, delegating so many of the decisions to the creche. They made the transition to solids, not me, they potty trained her, not me, they looked after and cared for her, not me. So many not mes. Feeling guilty about it all, because in the back of my mind, it should have been me. She was my child, my responsibility, mine to bring up, I should have been there to make those decisions, witness those firsts. I was torn like most of working mums are.

Then after being made redundant, I jumped the fence and stayed at home. It was and still is a wonderful experience. I am there for those firsts for Noelie, I am there for Marie to help with her homework, to get her to school and pick her up, I look after the house, I look after Mr Foodie and I am enjoying it immensely. I don't need to rush from here to there, like I used to. I feel more complete and I feel like I belong. But there is a downside to it too. Unfortunately, it's quite a damn big one. Financially, things are harder, as you would expect them to be. I feel guilty about the fact that I don't bring in an income and that we have to be more careful with our money. I feel guilty that Mr Foodie works his arse off and I don't share the financial burden. He works hard and should be able to enjoy the rewards of his hard work instead of being faced with the worry of what had come out, what needs to come out and how much is there left, of how can we save more. I am very grateful to him for not complaining about and getting on with things. But yet, once again, I am not 100% happy with the balance. Before it was too much work, not enough time for the children and enough money and now, it's enough time with the children, and not enough money. Does a mother's guilt ever go away? It feels like you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

There has to be a happy medium or is it just an illusion? And then I look at my lovely neighbour. She is a work at home mum. She has two successful business that she runs from home, that bring in an income. She is a personal trainer and she is also a hairdresser. And I envy her. It feels like she has found that balance I am currently looking for. This is what I would like to do. I would love to be a work at home mum. Unfortunately, I don't have any of her hands on skills, I can't cut hair, I can't train people, I can't do much with my hands other than cook and bake. I have other skills, of course. I have made a list of them.  I am fluent in French and English. I can teach people. I can make mean PowerPoint presentations. I'm sure I have skills there that would allow me to make a living from home. I'm far from stupid, I learn fast. I just need to be able to take my skills out of the corporate environment and apply them differently. I can see that this is what I need to do. I just don't know where to start, what to do and how to go about it. Self doubt is clouding my judgement. I just need to think outside the box for long enough to be able to formulate a viable idea (not easy with baby brain!). All I need is a bit of direction and support. Does anybody have any spare supply of it?

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