Riding into work on the bus earlier this week, I felt like a nervous wreck.
The clock had just ticked over 8am and I had already experienced extreme highs and lows within the few short hours that I’d been awake.
As I fought back tears attempting to recover from a very stressful morning, my phone swished with a text from Dave.
‘It’s a tough gig, kid,’ it read.
”Will rework the morning schedule and may need to get them up a little earlier. Love you.’
With that simple text, that show of support, the floodgates threatened to open. My eyes filled with tears as I exhaled slowly refusing to cry before work. I could feel the eyes of the guy opposite me burning into me. Yes, I’m losing it. Yes, I look like a woman possessed, I screamed at him in my head. Reminiscent of Ally McBeal, I imagined picking him up by the scruff of his neck and shouting at him, ‘If only you knew what I’ve been through this morning! If only you knew!’
Instead, I blinked away the tears, took a few deep breaths, and powered into work.
This working mum gig is hard. Four weeks in and the Mummy, Wife, Me family is struggling to find its rhythm.
This is not my first time as a working mum. I have done it all before when my first daughter, Curly-locks, was 10-months-old. There were good and bad days, but on the whole I enjoyed the challenge of work, the mental stimulation and social interaction. I missed Curly-locks of course, but loved seeing her come out of her shell at daycare. It seemed to be working for everyone.
I anticipated there would be a greater element of difficulty returning to work with two kids. The logistics of how I would get everyone fed, dressed, and out the door by 7.10am was my main concern. I thought a solid routine and a bit of pre-planning would see us through though.
At 7.10am last Wednesday, instead of buckling the kids into their car seats and driving calmly off to daycare, I was sweating up a storm as I chased Curly-locks, now three, around in circles attempting to get her dressed. Stiff as a board one minute and limp as a rag doll the next, she screamed, cried and carried on as the minutes ticked past and my blood pressure rose higher and higher until I had a meltdown of my own.
I was not, I repeat, not prepared for the affect me returning to work would have on Curly-locks. I was not expecting my happy little babe who used to dress herself, brush her hair and teeth, and go to the toilet all while singing and dancing, to all of a sudden turn into a little terror.
My return to work seems to have coincided with her having one or two meltdowns a day, being incredibly clingy, and, as heartbreaking as it is, having night terrors, sleep walking and sleep talking.
Four weeks in and we’re all exhausted and we’re all at breaking point.
I find returning to work enough of a mental battle as it is. I know it is right for me. I know I need to use my mind again, I want to socialise with adults and have a break from the kids, yet when I’m there I’m missing them like crazy, staring at my shrine to them on my desk, and stopping every Tom, Dick and Harry I pass in the hall to bore them with stories of how cute and clever they are.
If I’m feeling emotional about things, I can just imagine what my chip off the ol block is going through.
It is just an adjustment. A big adjustment. For everyone. We don’t have the answers yet, but we have the time. We plan to spend this long weekend resting, relaxing and enjoying each other. We will re-work our routine to allow time for meltdowns and will continue talking Curly-locks through her feelings.
While we don’t know how to make it easier yet, we do know that it will get easier in time. Right?!?
I’d love to hear your experiences of being a working mum. Please share in the comments.