Ah, the age old debate. Who has it better? The parent staying at home to cater for baby’s every need and whim, or the poor soul leaving every morning to go and be a real grown up?
We talked about this in our NCT classes, about how it shouldn’t all descend into a ‘well you’re just sat at the computer all day’/’well you’re just playing all day’ argument with both of you claiming the other couldn’t hack what you’re doing. At the time I kind of thought I’d never feel resentful of Dylan getting to go to work. I’m spending time with our baby, bonding, watching them grow, how could I ever feel jealous of someone who’s not doing that. Right? Wrong!
I absolutely love being at home with Alex, my life has changed beyond all comprehension from spending Wednesdays deadlining a paper to spending Wednesdays sat on a mat surrounded by other babies singing songs, banging saucepan lids together and watching puppet shows. In many ways, what I do now is a hundred, million per cent better and more rewarding. But I don’t massively feel like a valuable member of society anymore. Yes I’m raising a baby but before I used to do so much stuff! Now anything I do outside of that (freelance work, volunteering, blogging etc) is crammed into precious seconds when baby’s asleep or, like now, I’m up earlier than the rest of the household on a weekend to get something done.
Most of the time I am simply ‘mom’. Even when I get out of the house to have lunch, or go to the park, or baby sensory everything is still very centred around Alexandra. And I get that it won’t be forever, and she is the most important thing in the world so it’s only right my life is so acutely focused on her. But somehow I’ve lost a bit of me in the process. I was looking at old Instagram pictures of myself the other day, ones from about three years ago. I am constantly at the gym in them or out with friends and in most of the pictures I’m wearing make up, have my hair done (properly, not just thrown up on top of my head), have gel nails and nail varnish on, have clearly thought about my outfit and put jewellery on too. Now I spend most of my days sat in leggings and a top which probably has some form of food and/or sick/snot down it (all Alex’s not mine, you must understand!).
Anyway I’m getting off topic, my point is I feel I’ve lost a little bit of myself in this ‘stay at home’ journey and maybe I’ll get that back at some point (when she goes to school? When she leaves home?) but maybe I’m destined to just be ‘Alexandra’s mom’ forever! Dylan on the other hand (who I think is frigging amazing for going out and supporting us and enabling me to be here with Alex just doing freelance work instead of having to go out the house to work) gets to go and be ‘Dylan the man with the important job who talks about things other than poo and weaning’ which I can’t help but be a tad jealous of.
Not jealous enough that I’d want to swap places (and for what it’s worth I think he’d get insanely bored staying at home after a while!) but jealous enough to think maybe one day a month I should be allowed to get dressed up snazzy and go to his office and answer serious phone calls while he does my role.
Harriet and Alexandra x