I have a thing for circles lately. I don’t know if there’s a hidden message in it. Maybe I’m subconsciously thinking I’m back at square one in the circle of life (possibly a mixed metaphor there but whatever).
Once again, I have a small baby which means I’ve pretty much lost my independence for a while – at least until she’s weaned. But it’s not so much the constant demands on my time, sleep and body that troubles me.
Even though I’ve been doing a little bit of work here and there, it hasn’t been regular and has equated to little more coffee money (once upon a time they called it pin money – but who needs that many pins?).
It certainly hasn’t been anything that could cover some expenses while I’m on maternity leave. Fortunately I go back to work in a few months – and I say fortunately because I can’t stand not bringing money into the house.
Money is such a touchy subject for me. In my first marriage, I felt incredibly guilty about not working for the first six years, even though the main reason was that we had three kidlets under the age of five and could not have afforded the childcare costs. At that stage, I only had the qualifications to be a check-out chick – so I would have basically just handed over my wage each week. Add to that the fact we were in the Army and moved on average once a year and my prospects were really poor.
Even though it seemed the logical choice to wait until they went to school – I ended up getting permanent part-time work when the youngest was 12 months old – I was made to feel that I was a burden because I didn’t earn money. And it wasn’t my imagination either – he said those very words to me years later. It may have just been the divorce talking but it still stabs me right in the heart to recall it.
Nowadays there are so many articles highlighting the ability of stay-at-home mums to improve the lifestyle of a regular household. After all, they cook, they clean, they mind your child … if dad plays his cards right, he may get some “personal time” …
To pay for all that (and I don’t actually think they included ‘personal time’ in their sums) calculates to some ridiculous six-figure amount. Even though it seems a terrible shame to put a price on motherhood, at least it gives us a measuring stick in terms that modern society can understand.
So I work hard to enjoy these precious 10 months or so that I have with Little Miss before we all get thrust back into the fast-running stream of work, daycare, home, chores, bed, repeat. I budget whilst making sure we still have a bit of fun. I do what work I can from home to bring in a little extra.
But even though it’s a totally different situation with a totally different partner who I know doesn’t have the same viewpoint, I still can’t seem to shut up those niggling inner demons about being perceived as a burden and not pulling my weight.