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A new Mum 11 months later

This week Hamish turned 11 months old. It’s very hard for me to believe that a year ago he wasn’t around and we were just getting ready for his imminent arrival; I was on my last weeks at my job before maternity leave and we were preparing for a visit from my parents.

The plan always was to take 6 to 9 months off before returning to work in a part-time capacity. On a few occasions, I was told that I should keep an open mind, that I may not be so keen to return to work once the baby was born and I’d stayed at home for a while. Though I never discounted that as a possibility, knowing myself, I felt it pretty remote.

Hamish was born and he was everything we’d hoped for. He was perfect. From the start he was a great night sleeper – so much so that he failed to gain his birth weight as I wasn’t waking him – never wake a sleeping baby, right? Right, except when wrong. We had to start waking him during the night so he’d feed regularly. He grew and started smiling and cooing and doing those baby things which, until you are a parent, you don’t fully understand how much they will melt your heart.

As enthralled as I was, I also felt guilty. Guilty because being a new mum really is rather boring. And though I think there are very few mums who would disagree with me, I felt worse because I had it so easy compared to some: my baby was such a good baby; my husband was supportive and helpful; and we were secure enough that I didn’t have to work.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted, what would be best for Hamish and what would serve us best as a family. I read a number of articles: stay at home mum vs. career mum. The debate is heated, and everyone has an opinion: mums who return to work are selfish and letting others raise their kids; mums who stay at home are lazy and boring.

All this just to say that my decision to go back to work 4 days a week (3 days in the office, one day from home) when Hamish was not yet 6 months, was long and considered.

I have the utmost respect for stay at home mums. My mom was one for most of my upbringing. She has strength I will never have. Staying home and raising children is hard work with the rewards only coming much later (if they come at all). In many ways, I will admit that my going back to work was the easy option. At the same time, for us, I think it was the only option. I am a much happier person when I am working. As a happier person, I am a happier mum (and, I hope, a happier wife!).

But still things were not perfect. I work for an agency. Our clients don’t necessarily understand that we are people too and that we have families and can’t work 24 hours a day for them. My one day working from home was difficult on both Hamish and I – he wasn’t getting the attention he deserved, and my work was piling up, making me stressed. For that reason, I went back to full-time a few weeks ago.

Though Hamish is now at daycare 5 days a week, he is thriving and happy. When he is with us, we can give him our full attention. It is definitely quality time over quantity but I have come to terms with that.

It is a juggling act. I have up to a 4 hour commute daily. Duncan has to pitch in a lot – picking him up from daycare and doing the bedtime routine are just two of the many things he does. Two days a week, I leave early so I can spend some time with Hamish before bed. I still get mixed reactions from people when I say Hamish is in daycare full time but I’ve started learning to ignore them, or at least not to get defensive. If there is one thing I did learn from reading all those articles and the resulting comments, is that everyone is striving for the same thing: the best life for their kids. So far, I think we’re doing just fine.

Hamish on the deck

6 Responses to “A new Mum 11 months later”

  1. Mom
    February 12th, 2011 12:46

    Awesome pic of Mozza! I’m planning an iBook for Nana for Mother’s Day. This would be a great addition to the book if you could send it to me along with some of your other faves that I may not have.

    Good story. It’s so very you! I enjoyed reading it and I’m glad you too have strength. The strength to do what’s best for you, your marriage and your child. And, if the pic is anything to go by, Hamish is not suffering in the least. Love you lots.

  2. Dad
    February 13th, 2011 04:41

    A very thoughtful and well written entry. One phrase say’s it all “if you are happy then Hamish will be happy”

    it is hard at this point in your life to realize that when Hamish/William turns 20, leaves home, and you feel abandoned, you will still have 30 years of contribution to society. May as well be doing what you enjoy doing with the benefit of 20 yrs of experience behind you.

  3. Sarah
    February 13th, 2011 18:55

    @Mom – How about I make you an iBook for Mother’s Day?? Or do you mean for my Nanna? I’ll try and get my sh** in order and add more to Flickr and then you can make your choices. Thanks for the comment – I’d like to think Hamish is ok with the status quo :)

    @Dad – Thanks very much – it took me a while to write. You’re right though – I think I’m quite lucky in that I enjoy doing what I do, as you do. It certainly helps when other things are causing concern or stress in your life.

  4. Sue
    May 16th, 2011 17:18

    I haven’t been keeping up with the blogs clearly as I’ve only just read this entry.

    You have succintly surmised the predicament that many find themselves in. Kudos to you for making the best decision for you and your family.

    (More Baby and Dog photos!) :)

  5. Shan
    July 4th, 2011 11:53

    Really love your dad’s comment re: having those 20 years of experience behind you… and maintaining your own identity as well as adding mother to your bag of tricks :-)

  6. Sarah
    July 4th, 2011 17:08

    @Sue – Thanks for the support! I will try and post more baby and dog photos :)

    @Shan – He’s a smart one that Dad of mine. I take after him.

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