I’ve lost count of how many times people have said to me “I’m really surprised you are taking a year off work to look after Gem. You seemed so career-focused way back then.”
Let me start off by saying that most of the people who say this are friends so not only do I love the people saying this to bits, I know it is coming from a good place.
I’m never sure if I should be taking this as a compliment or not.
On one hand, it means people do not see me as a lazy so-and-so likely to be a benefit scrounger, which I guess is great.
On the other hand, it could mean people think I’ve given up on my career because I’ve had a baby – letting the feminist, working woman side down etc etc.
Either way, the comment always leaves me a little baffled that’s for sure.
I am hoping that choosing to spend time with my daughter isn’t equivalent to a choice to destroy my career. However, in this male-dominated world that we live in, it could well be. Time will surely tell.
As women, we’ve been sold this do-it-all-have-it-all mentality and one I definitely signed up to.
We are expected to buy nice shoes, work hard, play hard, get partner, procreate then go back to work asap, ensure your home is spotless, you make homemade organic purees for your baby whilst hosting amazing dinner parties and then swinging from the chandelier with your partner after the day is done.
I am exhausted just typing that last paragraph up.
This relentless notion that we consciously or unconsciously imbibe is one that drains me and I’m not sure those 1960 feminists knew the intricacies of what they were fighting for back in those bra-burning days.
Ten years ago as a single girl my only focus was career-building, having fun and then meeting someone to settle down with.
Now, with a husband and a child, my priorities are somewhat different. They are not better or worse than my earlier priorities. They are just different.
Should my career be over because of a shift in perspective?
With getting married and having Gem in 2012, I’m just trying to use this time to breathe and to understand mentally (without daily work pressures) what it’s like to be a wife and a mum.
The pressures of trying to be amazing at everything, whilst doing tonnes at once are draining and quite frankly a part of me is sure that they’ve succeeded in sapping me of key joys as I stay at home to look after Gem.
❤Throb said to me recently – “because you’re conditioned to want to be this glam working woman, you end up undervaluing what you do for Gem. As such, you might not realise that this is one of the best times of your life until it’s too late and you’re back to work.”
Scary stuff, right?
This week I started discussing options with my boss and when the time comes, I’m hoping I can carry on with my career albeit at a different pace compared to before I had Gem.
In the meantime, I don’t want societal expectations or people’s perceptions of me to rob me of the joy of hanging out with my Gem-of-a-daughter.
I’m sure that the 1960s bra-burners would be proud that their fight gave me the freedom to choose to do just that – hang out with my daughter.
This is a blog hop.