Am I really ‘just a Mum’?

I get labelled this phrase more often than not. Just a Mum. It still leaves me speechless when I hear it. Yes I am a mum. Right now, while raising 4 children aged 5 and under with a husband who works over 5,000 miles away, I am solely being a mother to my children. I am putting 100% of my time, energy and effort into raising my children.

If this gives me the label of being ‘just a mum’ then thank you, I shall take it and I will wear it with pride.  

I do not judge, nor do I pass comment, on working mothers.

In fact I regularly wonder how people manage to juggle being parents and work. How are there enough hours in the day to go to work and be a mother? I think it’s admirable that so many successfully split their time between their career and home life.

That being said, that does not mean being a full time stay at home parent is easy. I don’t need to go into the small print of the stay at home mum job description – no wage, no breaks, no designated time for lunch. No sick pay, no holidays, no time to even go to the toilet alone. You are at work 24/7 for 24 hours of the day. Oh and you don’t make a penny. There aren’t any promotions, or bonuses, in this job. 

I think most people forget that us folk you label as ‘just a mum’ haven’t been on this career path all of our working lives. It isn’t something I personally aspired to be, I didn’t sit my A levels, or graduate from University, thinking wow I can’t wait to apply my 7 years of higher education to my job as a mother. We never use to have children, believe it or not we use to have careers, jobs and work colleagues. 

I myself had huge aspirations, I dreamt of working on a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, helping to save lives. Working for a purpose, changing lives where I could. I studied long and hard, really bloody hard, to gain my qualifications and I finally landed my dream job. Then pregnancy sprung itself upon me. What a wonderful little surprise that was! Life flipped for me virtually overnight. I had every intention of going back to work after having my first born but circumstances meant otherwise. My husbands job sends him overseas for weeks at a time, one of needed to give our children stability. I wanted to be the one who gave them that stability.

I am incredibly fortunate to be in a position where I can choose to be a stay at home mum but please don’t underestimate the career I have chosen.

I didn’t choose the easy option.

 

Yes I miss my old job, I miss the adrenaline and the responsibility. I miss the title, the feeling of worth. I miss the feedback, some good some bad, the recognition that I am doing a job that people are thankful for. You don’t get a whole heap of unprompted thank you’s in my current job.

I miss work colleagues, adult conversation, wow I really miss being invited to a work Christmas party! 

That being said, would I hand in my resignation of my current role? Not a chance. I will happily be ‘just a mum’ for as long as I possibly can, but be wary when you use that label.

Think of who that mother use to be. What she has sacrificed for her children.

Never presume she took the easy option.

*** I wrote this blog post before the pandemic, before the world was turned upside down and long before I ever thought I would be going back to work. Yet here we are, faced with the biggest pandemic for some time, and I find myself venturing towards work once more. The time may have finally arrived to put my ‘just a Mum’ title behind me and head back to working life, to help try and save some lives and do my bit towards the pandemic and get back to a job that I have always loved. ***