Facebook prompted me that “on this day” last year, I had posted a picture of the 2 bags that I packed ready for my first day back at my work. And Little Foot had seen me off at the lift lobby.
A year has passed in a whirlwind of being a nursing mummy at night, rushing home, after work, struggling with bouts of illnesses, both her and me, and making milestones – her walking, her running, her first time calling us, calling herself, her first day in school, her 3rd teeth and more, moving from half day to full day in school,me dropping the daytime pumping at work, us changing cars… many days I find myself running, chasing after my thoughts. Too tired to think ahead of the next day or the next week.
What I missed most about staying at home with Little Foot was being full witness to her growth. It was something I simply took for granted. I miss the constant closeness we had.
I also miss going out to run errands, meet fellow mummy friends and my sisters at odd timings. I hate crowds and I wished I still had the luxury of going to Daiso and Uniqlo on weekdays afternoons.
Working comes with its own sets of perks though. The idea of the paycheck coming in each month makes me comfortable, knowing that I can afford the nice things in life for us, without ever having to be thick-skinned and ask Papa to open his wallet (although I do swipe his credit cards when I order wet wipes in bulk).
Working also means I get time to slow down and catch up on my thoughts, and feel normal. A day in a mad office is mostly less mentally draining that a Sunday giving Little Foot my full undivided attention. I mean, the boss isn’t gonna have a meltdown ‘cos you decided to go to the bathroom right? And I can have adult conversations, from Starbucks promotions to the latest pokemon catch, to discussions about who is more handsome in Descendents of the Sun.
Work also makes me feel useful, using my brains and knowledge again, even on days I feel that my lack of sleep may have compromised the quality of my work, plus the feeling of “still a bit rusty”, I feel more confident as a person. At least the general sense of “I can do this” is greater at work than at home, since I can’t quite cook a proper meal, let alone try to cook while I have Little Foot blazing up and down in her walker.
Working also made me treasure quality time with Little Foot. Without the luxury of 24/7, I find I try to make every moment count more than ever before. Slotting in reading, meaningful play, tickles and cuddles in a 2-hour slot every evening,when I used to have a whole day to do them.
Of course there’s exhaustion , especially since she started school in July and I have been running to pick her up from school during my lunchtime (I meet our helper there), buying takeaway lunches, getting her to bathe and nap, creeping away from her sleeping angelic face, and running back to my office again.
It’s been a year of changes, and our routines are still changing as Little Foot continue to meet new milestones. It’s been extremely tiring at times, but I kind of sweep it all aside when I see her biggest smiles whenever I pick her up after work or if Papa managed to pick her earlier, to watch her walk very fast to the door exclaiming “Mameeeeee!” When I walk through our front door.
Do I want my sahm life back? I guess there are parts I miss it, but it is a fond memory that will have to stay that way.
Do I want the life I had before Little Foot arrived and tossed it upside down? I entertain fleeting thoughts of them on bad days (like when she doesn’t allow me to go to the toilet to relief myself, or when I sit down to my half eaten dinner that I started trying to eat 3 hours ago), or when there’s a lot of work to tackle and yet I have to put it aside to play with the animal safari truck,play fishing, watch YouTube videos, and only get back to them after midnight. And then make careless mistakes while I try to fight the tiredness off.
Returning back to my work with mummy status is comparatively harder than if I had taken up a new job, I feel. I knew my competence level previously… and I give myself a hard time (inside my head) whenever I find myself lacking, because I knew I would have been able to do better if it was the old me. I try not to make excuses for myself at work too… so I find myself apologising more than in my pre-Little Foot life. And I try not to say things like “because we were up dealing with the puking all night…” a mistake is a mistake, I think telling a sob story isn’t gonna make a difference. It’s harder than one can imagine, because I am my own biggest critique.
A a year on, I am getting better at it, but still finding my footing.
A year on, I still wonders on some days what I have missed out on because I am not with Little Foot.
Many more years to come, I will ask myself the same question each November, “is this the right choice?”
For now it is, but who knows what my answer would be in the subsequent ones?
For now, I’m just glad I get to hug her to sleep each night and know what she is growing well.