Maintaining your sense of Self

I’m full of anticipation at the moment. I feel like I’ve walked into an open soft meadow, the promise of a lush fertile space where the mind is free to wander and create, a new beginning.

This is for two reasons: firstly, I’ve been made redundant from my job this week and secondly, I’ve started this blog. I was recruited straight after university, and stayed with a global telecommunications company for more than 11 years. Before that I worked part-time throughout uni and also in the last few years of school. I never quit for exams or finals.

So it’s a little bit scary in so far as I’m not used to seeing no money coming in every month as it has been for the last 18 years. Wow.. I had a little shudder there when I wrote ’18 years’…it’s been so long! I started work in my mid teens. I went from waitress to sales assistant to call centre staff to project co-ordinator to business analyst to solution and technical IT architect with a bit of project management along the way.That’s the sum total of my working life. Sounds ridiculously simple when totalled in one sentence but I spent many hard years working my way up, with long hours and sleepless nights from stress.

And now my job is going to be full time stay at home Mammy. Scary! I’m a bit afraid my brain will shrivel up like a prune. So to keep me mentally challenged and to keep a sense of myself I decided to open a blog and write my thoughts and ideas  here. At the same time it’s very liberating to be “out-of- work”. (Motherhood doesn’t seem to qualify to a lot of people!) My family was crumbling at the edges under the stress of both parents working before my maternity leave. We were up at 6 am, to go to the child minder by 7 to be in work by 9am (my job was 70 kilometres and two major motorways away). Not returning until 6 in the evening for me and 7 for hubsy. Coming home to a cold untidy house, cooking awful food that was just quick and convenient, getting my daughter to bed by 8 latest (she needed to be there by 7.30 but we wanted a little more time with her) and spending weekends doing the never ending cycle of cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and having very little time or energy for anything else was just sucking the soul out of us.

I’m finishing up my second maternity leave now after the birth of my son and I was dreading re-entering that cycle. Babies are exhausting but bring a lot of inner joy and this is a welcome exhaustion –  ‘this too shall pass’ is constantly repeated in whispers in the depth of night when it feels criminal to be awake. It is the driftwood we are clinging to as we drown in a sea of nappies, teething, toddler tantrums and colicky baby cries. But honestly I love parenthood! 🙂

Anyway, here I am, newly redundant, and I love that we can now afford for me to be a stay-at-home mother for a while longer at least. I want to make use of this time as best I can, expand my horizons a little. And those of my children. Writing a blog makes you very self-conscious of every word you write, every thought you have so I hope that doesn’t become overwhelming. I hope I don’t lose my ‘self’ in the blog by adjusting everything out of worry how I’ll be perceived. That would make the whole exercise pointless. This blog is going to be my own little studio since I don’t have much time to go to the gym or go to classes. It’s so easy to get lost in the cycle of life around the children. I’d love to hear any comments from other stay at home Mams or Dads on how you keep your sense of ‘self’ ?

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