Today when we collected the boys from nursery, we were told that Alexander (aged 14 months) had taken some steps unaided.
I smiled, made happy “well done Alexander” noises, and left.
What i didn’t say was that those were his very first unaided steps, and that as I was actually at work all day I’d therefore missed this amazing milestone in my little boy’s development.
This is the first milestone of his I’ve missed, and I feel really mixed emotions about it. I know there’ll be many more steps to follow those first ones, but since I’m feeling low I thought I should remind myself of the reasons why I work, in the hope that when my boys are old enough to read this they’ll understand too…
1. Because we couldn’t afford our house, and lifestyle, if i didn’t
We could live on beans on toast every day I suppose, and we could forsake all family days out too. To be honest we don’t have that many of them even now (two kids in childcare is not cheap!), but even so. This year we’re trying to be much better about having actual days out, and were given National Trust membership for Christmas which we’re making full use out of.
We bought our house 6 years ago and have had work done on it recently to create a third bedroom. The house is an old Edwardian terrace “cottage”, in all honesty it was probably more than we needed at the time, but I saw the tiles on the floor in the hallway and the handmade front door and that was it. We had to have it. Though we possibly could live somewhere cheaper, it would take an awful lot (including a utility room that we currently lack!) to make me even contemplate moving!
2. I don’t have the patience to be a stay at home mamma
I feel awful admitting this. Whilst I have the utmost respect for stay at home parents, and follow their adventures avidly through other blogs, I’m just not certain that it’s for me. Their routines have a great number of fun-looking groups and clubs that I really wish I had the time to take my boys to, but full time? I just think I’d end up shouting WAY too much. I do have Fridays off but these get crammed full with shopping, house chores and Tumbletots classes that we can’t possibly fit anything else in. I also think that the time we spend apart makes the time we are together much more special, or maybe that’s just something I tell myself?
3. Secretly, I want to?
I don’t think I could give up my career, not that I’m particularly high flying or anything, but to step off the ladder completely would scare me. I’d worry about whether I’d ever manage to step back on, and how many rungs I’d have to climb to get back to where I am currently.
I enjoy my job. I really do. I get to work with people I’m lucky enough to get along really well with, and who seem to respect and value me as much as I do them. I have worked in the same company for over 10 years and can’t see myself leaving any time soon.
So there we are, seems like you can’t have your cake and eat it. You can’t be a working mum and still be there for all milestones. I just need to keep my mind on the fact that I’ll be there for enough of them, hopefully.
Equally, as one of my friends reminded me today – at least today has given me the heads up to keep my camera with me at all times to capture Alexander’s first steps for me. They may not be his very first, but they will be mine.