Do you feel that? The slight constriction of your throat, the sagging of your shoulders, the shrinking into yourself?
When you’re scared?
You know you have no choice. All phases end and new ones begin. You feel the fears inside you bubbling on a low heat.
But you’re still afraid. You have to go back to work. You have no choice. Your rock is the need for money and the stagnation of staying at home with a young child; your hard place is the fear of being “the new person” and knowing sod all; your fear is of putting yourself out there and being crap. Maybe baby brain has got you good and proper.
And most of all? Maybe you’re not actually that good. Maybe you just got to where you were before by accident. Maybe that was it, and you’ll never get near there again.
Then they tell you they want you. They want you yesterday. They think you’re an ideal fit. And they seem … Nice. The vibe is good. The people sound good. The subject matter sounds good.
The wee voice inside you whispers “this could be a positive thing”. This could be a good first step. This could be a stepping stone to something better. The first step in banishing baby brain, the first step in getting structure back in your life, the first step in contributing financially to the family unit again.
I’ve been back at work for two months now.
The bad things?
- It’s a job that I could have done twenty years ago so the money is not good. I learned lots of useful and interesting stuff in my last job which I’m not using
- If someone asks me what I am, I don’t really know how to answer cause it sticks in my throat giving the job title that I had before I got a degree and over a decade of experience – it feels like a backward step
- It’ a short term contract which ends in November, so I’ll have to go through the arse of job hunting again
- I have to do four days a week and I only wanted to put wee madam into nursery for three days
- D is a latch-key kid for four days a week and is in the house on his own for an hour before I get home. Hate, hate, hate this!
- I don’t have enough time to spend with him because work and looking after the wee lass take so much out of me
- I’m finding the lack of “me time” truly horrific
- Working somewhere without a subsidised canteen means you have just one more thing to organise. Or else spend quite a lot on city-centre bought lunches
- You have to bother a bit more about your appearance which is time-consuming, expensive, and boring – shit, I hate clothes shopping and I need to do some!
But it’s not all bad!
- Contributing to household income feels extremely good, even though it’s not much
- Despite the wee lass being horrendously tired and crabbit when I pick her up from nursery, she actually does love going there and they provide all sorts of experiences I can’t
- The big lad enjoys the extra responsibility of letting himself into the house and having an hour to himself to play x-box
- It’s good to have more structure to my time
- I’m really enjoying feeling part of the world again – being a stay-at-home-mother for two years was good in a lot of ways but overall I just felt a bit diminished and lacking in identity
- Engaging with adults on a daily basis again is great!
- My work provides good chat, nice enough folks and interesting enough work subject matter
- It’s a nice office in a nice part of town
- I’ve learnt quite a lot of new things
- It’s not exactly onerous or stressful – great for getting used to be “out there” again
And the best thing of all? Being back at work has sharpened my brain up a lot. In the space of two months where I’ve been actually forced to use my mind and think, I’m finding I’m not so forgetful and don’t get brain ache when I actually have to use it. I know an awful lot of stay-at-home-mothers don’t find their brain cells die, but mine did. It wasn’t good for me. And now they’re growing back – happy days!
So I’ve discovered two things in the last couple of months.
One is that I NEED to do structured work of some description in the company of other adults rather than staying home looking after children and doing laundry.
The second discovery is that things you fear don’t usually turn out to be nearly as bad as you think they’ll be.
You can sweat your arse off in terror about some impending event then when it happens … It’s either not that bad, or it turns out to be a positive thing. Don’t give into fear of the unknown!
When did that last happen to you? Do you ever get scared of the unknown?