'Just a mum' Caroline Eyles has given up her 12-year career to become a traditional, stay-at-home housewife. With limited cooking skills, no previous experience with kids and currently learning how to displace dust, she's dumped her P45 in the bin and is winging it with a one-year-old…
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While today’s social media and online activity generally act as portals of positive posts that intentionally or otherwise portray the impression our lives are 'perfect', rarely do we offer status' of the sobering truth (who wants to be sober?) or images conveying depressing emotion; or at least those who do, invariably receive a raised eyebrow in a 'step away from the dirty laundry' reaction.
Therefore, let it be known in order to balance out the law of averages and for fellow mums, who unnecessarily but understandably feel guilty for going back to work, that this week has been far from my favourite in this new identity of 'Stay at Home Mum', and the feeling of guilt is just as prevalent and shared, albeit for the totally opposite reason;
I wish I was going to work.
In my failure to make my daughter happy, demonstrated through the continuous reverberation of her screaming ringing in my ears thanks to her incoming teeth, I am left feeling like I want to get away, which given my laziness says something if it's back to work! I am one scream away from picking up the phone and telling my boss I'll return, full time, for free. I didn't mean the things I said, it wasn't you, it was me, I've changed, I've seen the light, we can get through this, let's make it work.
And yet my poor little girl is the one in pain, looking to me for relief with tear-filled eyes, while I just sit here lacking in patience. Bored of my own feeble attempts to make her laugh with the usual failsafe faces, I'm not surprised they only lead her to cry more seeing as she's already scared her mouth is growing mini monsters without my scary expressions personifying them further.
Unable to console my own child and five days of constant crying later has left me with a tolerance level thinner than Cheryl Fernandez-Eat-a-meal and a god awful fear that maybe all this screaming is because somebody's told her the truth, that she's drawn the short straw, I am a rubbish Mum.
My child has seen through my very competent facade that comes complete with my 'Dad style' DIY belt armed with Calpol, Nurofen, Powders (yes both Ashton & Parsons and Nelsons) Dentinox, Anbusol and of course, a corkscrew. She knows I'm a fraud, she's clocking I've never done it before and is learning her power to emotionally manipulate me over the mistakes I am making and will do for the rest of my days. Yes, have a biscuit or eight, here's the TV control, play with daddy's razor, anything, just stop shouting at me.
This ongoing Mum vs. Molars battle has unwelcomingly stretched itself well into the early hours of the past five mornings, throughout the days and well past my wine time (11am??) and further beyond bed time, both hers and mine, wracking up a good 20 hours of a day, for now nearly a week, certainly a working week, which right now would feel like a welcomed holiday. And yet, I am in awe of the multi-tasking abilities and organisational skills of any working mum, seeing as for me, giving birth killed off so many of my brain cells I wouldn't even be able to tell you my old password let alone return to my desk (and what feels like the past) to perform as if nothing had changed. Little did I know what hard labour was back then, pun intended. But I can't comprehend how I could possibly juggle the expectations of the powers that be, both the boss and my baby, and full respect to those that do. Although at least the paths of communication with your boss must be less complicated, he can at least tell you when his nappy needs changing.
I am not good without my sleep.
I'll say it again, I am not good without my sleep.
With every sleepless hour my daughter is giving me, she is giving herself another month without a sibling. Just to reiterate, I am not good without my sleep. I am not a good mother, I am most certainly not a good wife with a finely tuned sharp tongue and 'I should have just done it myself' attitude, (I love you, I'm sorry, please don't leave me!) and I probably fail quite badly as an interested-in-your-life friend, forgetting to ask how you are due to my inability to form a question thanks to tiredness, although I very much appreciate the distraction should you be able to talk at me and forgive my blank expression, or just send me amusing messages without expecting a reply other than a simple emoticon, (where is the a noose emoticon when you need it?).
In my silence, I am probably wishing I was you, or asleep, or both.
So if there was ever a week I would have chosen to be back at my desk, or preferably offered the opportunity to sell my child for an all inclusive week on a sun lounger in the Caribbean, this would have been it.
You can have the husband too.
Not that he's done anything wrong, I couldn't do it without him, in fact, you'll need him, see it as buy one family member, get one free.
Disclaimer: My husband nor my child are for sale. Just her teeth. For much more than 20p each. So get outta town Tooth Fairy! We want at least a fiver.