I’m almost 31 weeks pregnant, looking more like I’m 41 weeks pregnant. I’m anaemic, I have pelvic pain which has decided to become suddenly unbearable this last week, I’m unable to get comfortable enough to get a good night’s sleep, but most importantly I’m on final countdown to maternity leave. I have 7 weeks until it starts, but I have a week’s annual leave during that time, plus I only work three days a week anyway, so in total I have about 22 days at work. Yes I have thought about this lots. Yes I have a little calendar that sits in my work bag that I cross off each day as it’s done. Yes, I am very much looking forward to not having to think about work. This all makes me very excited – not the anaemia, pelvic pain and sleepless nights, just all the leaving work stuff.
I wish I enjoyed work more. Sometimes I enjoy the fact that I have an excuse to leave the house, if The Baby has woken up grumpy and in a smack-happy mood, sometimes I even enjoy the fact that I have a “career” as well as being a mum. I say “career” as the job I currently do is not the type of work I would choose to do as I am trained to do much more interesting and challenging stuff, but the hours suit my family needs and that’s the most important thing at the moment. I quite like doing something for me, although it’s really for my family, to keep a roof over our heads and food in our cupboards. I’d just like to be able to actually enjoy it, to feel excited and interested by the thought of work. Actually, if I’m being completely honest, I’d like to not have to work. In this day and at these times of economic crisis, I realise this is not the ‘right’ thing to say. I am grateful I have the opportunity to go out to work, I am grateful that I am educated to a standard that allows me to do the job I do, which allows me to work part-time and still have a reasonable income. I am grateful I have a job to go to. But if things were different, if our mortgage was lower, our bills smaller, if The Boyfriend was paid at a rate which reflects just how hard he works, then I should like to choose to be a stay-at-home mum.
But then again, actually, I’m not sure I would. Things are never that simple; black and white, right or wrong, life generally falls into some grey-area. Like I said, I quite like the time away from the house and from parenting that work allows me. I also like the sense of self it provides. So maybe, as I’m wishing for things that will probably never happen, what I would really like is to be a work-at-home mum. To be able to pick a career that I love, that excites me, that allows me freedom to choose my hours and fit them around my family, and gives me a sense of pride and achievement. And as I’m wishing for things that will probably never happen, I wish that this ideal job would be double what I earn now and allow us to move somewhere more rural, with a well-designed and fitted kitchen with lots of light and no ants, with a garden for The Baby and Little Pea to play in and a vegetable patch for The Boyfriend to cultivate. And while we are on the subject of The Boyfriend, and I’m wishing for things that will probably never happen, I’d like his hours to decrease a little and his pay to increase a lot.
This has all turned into a bit of a daydream, and none of it is truly attainable. And so for now, I am satisfied that The Boyfriend and I at least have jobs that bring in regular incomes, that we have a beautiful family, a house and extended family close by. And I like the fact that The Baby and Little Pea will both grow up to realise that a work ethic is important and that a good education can open doors, and an income means that you can buy stuff – like a superking size bed, which should be arriving tomorrow and which I am very excited about! And the fact that I have a job means I can get excited about counting down to maternity leave, which will feel so much more satisfying when on that first Monday, I don’t have to get up and put a uniform on and head out the door at 7.30am. Although if The Baby is grumpy and full of tantrums, then I might just do it anyway.